Tag Archives: content

Where You Are

You’ve seen the countless pictures I post of our morning walks in Borden Park.  That’s Sampson’s favorite place as we go there every day.  It’s full of blessings for him: lots of squirrels to chase, sometimes other dogs, scraps of food (which I don’t like) and smells to sniff for him.  Often in the mornings no one is there but us so I let him off his leash and let him run while I walk.

Across the street from the park there’s an empty field and a softball field.  No trees, no nothing, a literal empty field.  Sampson goes to the edge of the park and stares at the field.  He wants – every day – to go over there. I can’t figure out why.  I mean EVERY DAY he wants to go where he’s not.  He wants to leave all the things he loves about the park and where he can walk and run freely, all the trees that provide shade, all the squirrels he loves to chase, everything he enjoys to go to an empty and barren field. So today I hooked him up to the leash and we crossed the street. He walked to the middle of the field and stood there, staring at the park!

Isn’t that just like us?  We’re in a place where we have everything we need and where without a doubt God has blessed us beyond what we deserve and yet, we’re always longing for more.  We look “across the street” and think there may be something over there that will satisfy us or make us happy that we can’t find in the middle of where we are right now.  We look at it every day; think about it every day (amongst all the blessings we’re privy to right now, not appreciating any of it) and when we walk over we find ourselves longing to be back where we just came from!

Before you “cross the street”, look around you.  Consider where you are, what you have and if not satisfied, ask yourself why. Look for – really look for – the goodness of your place, the blessings in your place and make the decision to appreciate what you have and where you are.  If you find you’re always in want of more than what you have while not appreciating what’s around you, you’re missing out on a wonderful blessing that seems to be getting lost in this world we live in: CONTENTMENT.  Society compels us to never be content, to always want more and not be satisfied until we’ve nearly killed ourselves to get it. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a better life and other things; just be sure you have a healthy grip on those things and don’t let those things have you.

Want what you have.  The abundant life starts right there. If you find yourself across the street into that thing or place you thought you wanted more than where you were and what you had the remedy is simple.  Walk back to your blessed place and look there.  Be grateful you could and appreciate where you are.  Sampson did.  As soon as we crossed back over and I let him loose, he found two squirrels to chase.  He was perfectly content.  We can be too, if we appreciate where we are right this moment.

1st Timothy 6:6  “…but godliness with contentment is great gain.”

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Like Everyone Else

1st Samuel 8:5:  “and said to him, “Look you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways.  Now appoint us a king to judge us [and rule over us] like all the other nations.””

While driving around town or sometimes talking to old friends, I listen to all their accomplishments and see the fruits of their lives of labour.  Their material possessions speak highly of what they’ve done with their lives. Then I think of mine.  I compare myself to others and what I see and sometimes feel I have nothing to show for my life.  I so want to be like everyone else.  Can you relate?

The Israelites had the same problem.  They compared themselves to other nations and wanted to be just like them forgetting and not realizing the Lord was their King Himself without a go-between.  His intention for His people was to lead them personally but the Israelites wanted to be just like everyone else.  They missed the blessing and significance of what they had and Who they had so granting their wishes Saul was anointed king.

Why can’t we just be satisfied and content with where we are and what we have?  What is it about us that we constantly compare ourselves to everyone else and worse, work so hard to become like everyone else then when we do, find ourselves discontented with trying to be something we’re not and have what may not be ours to have?

Here’s the thing. God didn’t intend for Israel to be just like everyone else (Deuteronomy 14:2)! He didn’t intend for us to be either!

If your life doesn’t look like anyone else’s maybe it was never intended to be. What if everything you’ve gone through – all the hurt, loss, devastation, trials, etc., were all custom designed so you could learn to depend on God and know Him more intimately?  Look back, do you see it?  Do you see His hand in everything and see that what you have had to come solely from His hands?  He helped us survive when there was no one else.  He put food on our tables when there was no other way to have it.   He supplied the clothes on our backs, the shoes on our feet, the cars we drive because looking back, we see there was NO OTHER explanation for it!

I don’t want to be like everyone else.  Although my life looks significantly different than most everyone I know, I know this.  Had it not been for Lord on my side.

Choose to be thankful for where you are and what you have, be it little or much.  Truth is as we’ve seen a lot lately, in the blink of an eye it can all be gone; health can change rapidly and circumstances can, too.  Thank God for His hand in your life and keep walking with Him, regardless of where you are. With Him, little is much.  Believe in the you God created you to be, His child, trusting Him regardless.  He wants you to be who He created you to be – His child, unlike anyone else.

Make Your Own Beautiful

IMAG0790I hope I’ve learned a thing or two from this season of my life.  I sure wouldn’t want to repeat it.

When things are dark and ugly sometimes we have to dig deep to find the good.  Sometimes we instantly see it but more often than not we must wait.

One of the most recent lessons is becoming so precious to me. I looked for blessings and kind of expect people to make an ugly time in my life more palatable and easier to swallow.  (Is that you I hear laughing?) I didn’t realize it at first but now I see that in addition to very tough circumstances, my disappointment worked extremely hard to make me discontented.  Then I got it.

Sometimes it’s got to be just you and God.  No one else.  No resources.  No explanations.  No Band-Aids.  Just you and Him.  I think He brought me to that place to allow me the choice to be content with Him and only Him. When everything and everyone I looked to, to make me feel more secure and content – job, home, stuff, car, people, etc,…vanished,  “Barbie, will I be enough?”  was the reverberating question on my heart.

When life gets ugly that’s where the rubber meets the road. We’re left with both decisions and changes to make.  When all you see is ugly, we can choose to make our own pretty.  Staying content in a troubling and discontented world is very hard work!  That’s when we learn to appreciate what we have and make the most of it.

I took some hand-me-down vases, some Salvation Army plates and paints I already had to make these.  I made my own beautiful.  So many stories and devotionals…so many personal lessons from God have come through the process of making them.

Trust God through the process.  That’s what I’m learning.  Trust He’s making something beautiful in you and most often when He’s through with that part, what you’ve been through will serve at least two purposes:  1) to teach you something and, 2) to bless someone else!  In the meantime, work with Him to create your own beautiful.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”   Ephesians 2:10

 

 

 

FINDING GRATEFUL

After many years and many prayers, the Lord let me live to see a long time dream fulfilled. Once again I find myself in his “classroom” relearning a lesson I thought I had down pat: all things are possible with God but the all possible is not always easy. Just because you get a yes doesn’t guarantee smooth sailing. For some reason when I struggle after struggling for what seems a lifetime my feelings get hurt! That proves what a child (a pouty and willful child I might add) I still am.
Even when you get a green light on your dreams to become reality, the issues of life still are factors. Things like illness, financial struggles, cars break down, family issues are still there; the kids have their issues, you get what I’m saying. I totally understand why people seldom smile or look up and why some resort to drastic measures just to survive. Life is heavy. No one knows what another carries so be kind and be careful about passing judgment.
I recently moved from Alabama and shortly after I did, tornadoes ravaged the neighborhood I used to call home. A friend alerted me the night they hit that a tornado was headed straight for my old neighborhood. Most of my belongings had been moved from where I lived to my friend’s carport. I wasn’t only frantic for my friends and former neighbors, I realized losing pretty much everything I owned was a real possibility. I paced and prayed and begged God to spare those I loved and let go of my stuff. Gut wrenching and surprising at the same time. I had witnessed people rummage through the storm torn remains of their homes to salvage something of their own not understanding their pain at all. I got a glimpse that night. That’s just one of the many, many hard, sad, painful things that have happened the past seven months.
Here’s what I learned from taking a look back. More than ever, I see how hard it is to find grateful when your world is tossed into unrecognizable chaos. You may think at first glance there’s nothing to be thankful for. You may think there’s no point in trying to do better, be positive or even get out of bed the next day because no matter what you do, nothing changes. Why not do what would be so easy…pull the covers up over your head, be mad at everything and everybody, get a drink, take some pills, blow up at someone or worse, get a gun…
No. I refuse. I have moments when I can’t see the point. I think we all do. That’s the moment of deciding what I do with what’s happening. See, it’s not so much about what happens; it’s about what we do with what happens. Will I give up? Will I act on my feelings or will I resort to my faith? I can be thankful God’s with me through this current crisis, or I can be mad He’s allowed it. I can raise my hands in praise believing ultimate good will come or clinch my fists in anger I’m suffering yet again. I search for gratefulness. My method of coping is ushering up a prayer and deciding to be thankful. I know this is a recurrent theme in my blogging but it’s so important. I believe I’m supposed to share it because you have been sold a lie! Someone’s told you your happiness, thankfulness and contentment are based on your circumstances. Nothing is further from truth. Contentment comes from an inside work of God and the decision you make every day. What will you decide? No matter what you face or what you’re going through, look for grateful and I promise you’ll find it!