We have finally made it to the countdown to the 12 Days of Christmas! Which of course means that Christmas day is only 24 short days away. Which has me thinking a little (and by that I mean alot) differently this year. I haven't bought a thing for my family yet. Not because they aren't wonderful and deserving, but because we don't need anything. In fact, we don't want for much either. Which also has me thinking: If we have everything we need, and most (by that I mean all that is within our reach, financially) of what we want, why are we discontent? We are not discontent with our stuff, but with our lives in general. And by that I mean I have been discontent with my "situation". And that leads me to think that I have been discontent with the people around me, but what it really means is that I have been discontent and disappointed with God.
I came to this realization as I studied several books, most importantly God's Word. But Beth Moore's "Finding Your Purpose", Brother Lawrence's "The Practice of the Presence of God" and a Bible study by Women of Faith about contentment. It is amazing how God orchestrates events to coincide with each other to bring us to that "AHA" moment. Suffice it to say, I had mine today.
I knew something was amiss; I just didn't know what it was. So I went to God and he showed up again. (I don't know why it suprises me when he does that. It happens all the time:) He showed me through Beth Moore that I was not seeking his purpose for my life, which is just to fall deeper and deeper in love with him. And that in order to do that, Brother Lawrence's work showed me I had to practice being in his presence all the time and do all things, even the most menial task to his glory, as if it were literally for him. And today, he showed me at Bible study that I have not been content in the situation that he has placed me in. I have been grumbly and complain-y and just plain difficult. Most people probably did not notice it. (That is most likely a bad indicator that nothing is ever good enough for me. I am a "recovering perfectionist" and learning that teenage boys, 8 year old girls, and easy going husbands don't care about neatness nearly as much as I do. You might think that this should be their problem and that they should care, and God is working on them, but I need more character development in this area than they do!) But God did. And our merciful and gracious God has given me forgiveness and hope and here is what he is teaching me:
Be in his presence always. Stay there. Ask him everything. What should I fix for dinner? What decorations should I put up? What should I wear? and talk to him constantly. Dont be a drippy faucet, be an outpouring of praise. "You are amazing. I thank you for my family that I have so much laundry from. I thank you that I can carry baskets, I can breath, I don't have to beat the clothes on a rock or hand wring them. I love my husband, and whatever brings him joy. It is my honor to serve, love and be loved by a God-fearing man. I gave birth to 5 wonderful children. I thank you for them and the honor of training and rearing them in the fear of the Lord." And so on. I could thank him from now to the end of time and not ever finish or repeat.
On Thanksgiving, when we were full, we pushed away from the table and with gratefulness, took a much needed rest. When we are in his presence, do we allow ourselves to "fill up" on him, and then look around the corner expecting something else to come out of the kitchen? or are we content with his "fullness"? Push back from the table and be satisfied.
Remember that he knows the situation we are in, and in fact put us there to teach us to rely on him in contentment. So when that crazy driver pulls over and cuts you off, or the copier won't work, or you have picked up the same toy out of the middle of the floor for the 15th time today, look up and with thanksgiving, be content. Thats what the Apostle Paul did. And I was never in prison for my faith, nor hungry, thirsty or in want. What in the world do I have to complain about?
Look it up! James 1:17, Romans 12:2 Col.3:23. Try it in the Message version or another one that you are unfamiliar with at Biblegateway.com. Comment and let me know where you are in this journey, too. And check back tomorrow for the countdown, day 2!
And by the way, we have our first book signing tomorrow at Barnes and Noble in Boynton Beach on Congress Ave. From 5-7 pm. And then one at Walden Books in the Wellington Green Mall Saturday Dec. 5 from 1-3pm. Stop in and say hello. Purchase a book and get a free journal if you bring a friend!!