I'm pondering contentment this afternoon. Why, you might ask? Because I'm feeling DIScontent, and I'm not sure why. I'm not even sure what I am discontent about. So I'll explore my thoughts...you're welcome to come along if you like.
I'll admit I'm discontent with my relationship with Jesus. I want to be closer to Him. I want to spend more time with Him. I have not read my Bible today, and have only had on-the-fly conversation with Him. I try to wake up early and talk to Him, read my Bible, etc. but after Motorcycle Sunday yesterday, I was too exhausted! Yesterday we were up at 6:30, at the church by 7:30 for worship team practice, sang for first service, second service, the the RFKC fundraiser hog roast, then singing again in the hot sun for an hour, then tearing down the stage, the chairs, etc and finally home at 5 where Dar and I promptly fell asleep on the couch for an hour. Then we woke up, ran to the store to get something to make for supper and picked up a movie, came home, cooked, started the movie, then I took Cassie to the ER for her ear infection (re: last post if you missed it) Whew! I wonder why I was exhausted, eh?
I usually go for a walk with Him down by Mill Pond on my break, but today I had to run Cassie's prescription for her antibiotic to the pharmacy, go home and give her the numbing ear drops and the antibiotic drops, grab something to eat and get back to work...all on my fifteen minute break. So much for my time with Jesus this morning.
So I'm sure missing spending time with Him is part of my discontent.
Family. Relationships. They are always hard. I'm very people-oriented. I need time with people (and I need the balancing time alone) and I crave relationships. The kids stressed me out today by going swimming and being gone for 5 hours. Cass went under the water with her infected ear and then gave me the blank look and the "what did I do wrong" spiel. Ugh! They are eating and drinking us out of house and home! And of course, the house is a mess because of them and their friends being here all day while we're at work. So we had a family meeting tonight when Dar got home, which went fine until Dar laid down the law that there would be "NO MORE FRIENDS IN THE HOUSE WHILE WE'RE AT WORK FROM NOW UNTIL SCHOOL STARTS". No discussing it with me first, not even a mention to me first, no questions like "Hey, honey, how would that affect YOUR life if I make this rule since you're the one who works in town and handles all the kid-issues during the day?" (And yes, it does greatly affect me cuz at least when they're occupied with friends they're not calling me at work or coming by my job cuz they're fighting or bored or just have a question...I'm sure my boss LOVES all those interruptions to my work!) Nope, just here's my edict cuz I'm the MAN of the house and this is the way it's going to be. And then when I protested (which of course I know I shouldn't have because it was disrespectful to question him like that in front of the kids), it blew up into a terrific in-front-of-the-kids argument resulting in him storming out of the house to go to his second job and me storming up to my room to sulk. Great....just great. Then Cass asked to go somewhere with a friend and I told her no cuz she disobeyed me today by getting her head wet when she's got an ear infection, so she got mad and stormed away, refusing to answer me when I talked to her.
Other relational issues: I REALLY miss my sister, mom, baby Nicky and yeah, even Tony. I hate them being 1300 miles away and having no idea when I'll get to see them again. Kate's my best friend and it's awfully hard to have her so distant. And when she's in North Carolina we don't talk much cuz we both hate being on the phone. I miss holding my sweet nephew and playing with him and snuggling with him and smelling him and kissing his soft little head. And I miss my mommy. I miss the friendship we used to have. I miss being able to see her and talk to her one-on-one, or have her over for supper like we used to do all the time. She was such good company when Dar was off working and the kids were off doing their thing. Evenings get pretty lonely around this house.
And Joe and Nicole are scheduled to get home from their honeymoon tomorrow. And we didn't exactly part on great terms, which I regret. I regret missing out on the celebration of their wedding because I felt I needed to protect my daughter. I regret the drama and conflict that marked their wedding day for me, instead of the joy and family celebration I would have liked it to be. I wish such a huge deal had not been made about the tiaras that Kate and I wore as a joke to the rehearsal, and then Cassie put mine on for the wedding and got yelled at and bullied into removing. I wish they had not excluded her from any part of the wedding and made her feel so singled out. I wish they had included her enough to at least give her a name-card at the dinner so she at least felt like she belonged in the family. I wish they would just accept her the way she is and love her anyway and encourage her to walk a straighter path because bullying and yelling and excluding her won't draw her toward family and God, rather push her away. So, yes, I am discontent because there is a huge gaping canyon between my brother and me and that hurts because I love all my family SO MUCH!
I'm discontent in my home. Not my house itself, I LOVE my house, but I hate how messy and cluttered it is. And the harder I try to clean it, organize it, declutter it, the worse it seems to get. I so want my home to be a place of peace, a refuge, a place where God is honored and Jesus' name is central to all we say and do, and my home is not that right now. My home is messy, and cluttered, and full of chaos and arguing and disrespect and strife and I don't know how to fix it.
I'm discontent in my finances. Again, it's full of chaos and stress and it's out of control. No matter how we try and spend less, reduce expenses, increase income, etc, it seems we get further and further in the hole. I don't know how to fix it.
So, I'm not content. Where does contentment come from? Does it really come from good relationships and a clean home and money in the checkbook? Hmmm...I don't think so. I think contentment comes from how one looks at relationships and home and money. I think contentment isn't so much the circumstances as it is the attitude about the circumstances. So while I really, really, really want those circumstances to change, I think I first need to change my attitude about them. And since I want to have the attitude of Christ, I need to see what God has to say about contentment.
I Timothy 6:6-8 ~ But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing we will be content with that.
Matthew 6:33 ~ But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Ecclesiastes 8:15 ~ So I commend the enjoyment of life because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun.
and 9:7-10 ~ Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do...enjoy life with your [husband] whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun - all your meaningless days, for this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.
and of course, Philippians 4:11-13 ~ ...I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him Who gives me strength.
Psalm 13:5-6 ~ I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for He has been good to me.
Psalm 16:11 ~ You have made known to me the path of life, You will fillme with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand
Psalm 33:20-22 ~ We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice for we trust in His holy name. May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in You.
You know what? I just need time wiht HIM! HE is the source of my contentment. HE is the answer to all my relational issues, my financial challenges, my home being a place of peace and refuge. I think I'll go for a walk and have that chat with Him now. It's cooler now than when I got home from work, so even though I missed my morning "date" with Jesus, I can do it now. He's so amazing that way...He loves us so much that He's always there, waiting, wanting relationship with us and wanting us to want relationship with Him.
So really, missing spending time with Him isn't just part of my discontent, it is the main reason for my discontent. Time to go fix that!