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Tag Archives: contentment

Cool Runnings Conundrum

Have you seen the movie “Cool Runnings?” If not, you should get it right now and watch it because it’s a classic and everyone should see it. There is one scene in the movie where the Coach is talking to Derice about winning and he says, “A gold medal is a wonderful thing, but if you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.” Derice then comes back with, “How do I know if I’m enough?”

I think that’s a question a lot of people are trying to answer. And everyone thinks that if they just get the right job, car, spouse, or you-name-your-thing, then they will be happy and feel fulfilled. Sometimes you might even be doing this subconsciously and don’t even realize it until you get the thing you SO desired and realize you still aren’t satisfied.

You know, I’m a huge fan of Paul. If I had to pick someone in the Bible to sit and have coffee with, he would be at the top of my list. I just finished reading To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain by Matt Chandler (which is a fantastic book, by the way) and in it he does a compacted biography of the life of Paul. I’m not sure I ever grasped before how quickly and drastically this man’s life changed All. The. Time. I think it’s because you have to compile all his writings to get the full story and our Bibles aren’t really laid out that way. He seriously went from being on top of the world one day to being mostly dead the next from the moment of his conversion!

You have this man who goes from hunting down Christians to being one and it radically changed him. From then on his life is full of extreme ups and downs: from him beholding God’s miraculous works and seeing whole families converted to being shipwrecked, stoned, and beaten. One moment he’s casting out a demon from a slave girl and the next he’s being tortured in prison. This was his life! And yet you read in Philippians 4:11-13:

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

And this is what Chandler says (pg. 200) “Do you see now how Phil 4:13 is not about chasing your dreams, following your passion, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, accomplishing anything you want with God’s help? It is instead the testimony of those who have Christ and have found Him supremely valuable, joyous, and satisfying. In a life constantly marked by these extreme highs and lows, Paul has found the great constant security, the great centering hope: Jesus Christ Himself.”

And I say AMEN! That verse is SO misused and it’s about time somebody said something about it!

So to answer Derice’s question at the top: “How do I know if I’m enough?” I don’t really think that’s the right question to be asking. Because if you try to place your value or focus in anything besides Jesus Christ, you will never be enough. We were made to be with Christ so without him you will always feel a void and emptiness.

The question instead for you and me is: is Christ enough for you? Is he the ‘Great centering Hope’ of your life? If everything else was gone, could you say that statement with Paul? If you have everything you want and need, could you say that statement with Paul? That is my constant prayer- that I will be fully satisfied in Christ.

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2018 in contentment

 

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Refining Gold

I always tried to be a helpful child when I was younger. I liked to make people happy so was usually eager to be accommodating and obedient. Sometimes I took this method a little too far. For instance, when I was about 5 or so, I remember coming home from an evening church service with my family and I heard my Dad say, “Did I leave the stove on??” Always one to be helpful, I eagerly exclaimed, “I’ll check!” and placed my hand flat on the burner before anyone could stop me. Turns out, it was on and I burned my hand and learned a good lesson.

I was thinking about that story recently as I heard someone referencing a verse in the Bible that talks about God refining us. There are actually quite a few verses on the topic and I got to wondering how hot a refiner’s fire was anyway? I’ve been around a lot of fires and sometimes I turn my oven up pretty high…how hot does a fire have to be to melt metal? So I did some research. Turns out that to melt gold a fire has to be anywhere from 1600-2000 degrees F. Whew! (Guess I won’t be doing any of that in my kitchen…)

And the more I thought about it, I realized the huge significance of those verses. One of my favorites: “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.” Prov. 17:3 The parallel drawn here is pretty clear as the author compares the method of refining metal to how the Lord tests and refines our hearts. Suddenly it became apparent to me that it’s not a pleasant parallel. The more I read about refining, the more I realized that I didn’t want that done with my heart! It’s hot and it hurts! It’s not a fun process and that’s why it’s so important to have God’s perspective and not ours. Right now, I just see the temporary pain and loss but according to God’s Word:

According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:3-7

All that to say this: every year I pray for a specific thing that I want God to teach me that year. In 2016, it was compassion and we all know how that turned out. This year, I prayed for the Lord to give me a richer prayer life. You know what happened? I moved to an apartment by myself, I was under rest orders from my doctor, and wasn’t even able to read my Bible for a while. My only resort was to talk to God.

I know what I want to learn in 2018 but I am actually terrified to pray for it. I have truly seen that God answers prayers but not in the way I expect and I am afraid for this one. I’m not sure I’m ready for the heat of this fire. I want to learn true and full contentment in Christ. I want him to be my life and the fulfillment of it. Right now, I often feel restless and discontent because I want my life to be how it was before. I want my old life back and the more I realize that isn’t going to happen, the more upset I become and I don’t want to live like that. I want to embrace the life God has given me even if it’s not what I would have chosen for myself.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions but on January 1st, that is what my heart will be crying out and what I will continue to pray for the entire year. Would you pray with me?

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2017 in contentment

 

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I had a Dream

This may be one of the most personal, open, and honest posts I have ever written and it was hard to write. But I was telling this story to someone last week and it really encouraged them so I thought I would share it here. I should be writing a medical update since I was at Cleveland Clinic on Friday but that will have to wait. 🙂

A while back I was on this medication that caused me to have nightmares. Now before this, I had really not had very many dreams. At all. I rarely ever dreamed, good or bad. But something about this medicine suddenly cause an influx in dreams. They were only bad dreams and they were very, very vivid. The kind that you wake up from in a panic or wake up crying. Sometimes they were so vivid I would wake up and had already jumped halfway out of bed before I realized what was happening. Every night I would climb into bed and pray that I would have no dreams that night.

One night, I had a dream. I dreamed that I was pregnant and gave birth to this tiny little baby. It was so small that I could hold it in my hands only. This is really hard for me to write and some of you are going to think I am crazy, but did you know you can love something in a dream? I don’t know how that’s possible, but I loved that tiny little human in my dream. Shortly after it was born, some soldiers broke into the hospital where I was which was a big room with a bunch of people in it. I was going to spare the details but I think I’m going to tell the complete story. One of the soldiers grabbed the baby from my hands and killed it by stomping on it with his boot. And I woke up crying.

These are the kinds of dreams I mean. I don’t read into dreams or try to interpret them; I just take them as dreams. For days after I would think of that dream and still cry because of the love I felt for that baby. How can you love something in a dream? That’s ridiculous, right? The months went by and the pain of that dream slowly faded until I didn’t think about it anymore. I came off of that medicine, the dreams stopped, and I praised the Lord!

Fast forward to two weeks ago. Suddenly, that dream came to my mind in the middle of the day. And not once, but 4 times that day. And the next day. And the next. And I found myself thinking about it a lot. I prayed and asked God why it was coming to my mind and that he would fill my thoughts with things that were pure and lovely. I would recite Phil. 4:8 every time it came into my head.

One day I was talking with Natalie, just exasperated that I couldn’t figure out why that dream kept coming to mind. She asked if I had been thinking about babies or pregnancy or anything like that. And it suddenly hit me. Like a light bulb moment. I had had one thought a week or so earlier that if I started to date someone, at sometime I was going to have to tell him that I can’t be pregnant.

You see, you can’t be pregnant while on seizure medicine because it almost always causes severe birth defects in the baby. It is still possible to have epilepsy and have babies, you just have to come off your medication and go through a process with your doctor. And while I wasn’t anticipating being pregnant anytime soon, I realized that I hadn’t fully given that desire over to the Lord yet.

It’s odd how God uses stuff in our lives sometimes. How a dream from months before was used to show me an area that I needed to pray about and be at peace with. And the dream has vanished. I haven’t thought about it once since that day. But I am thankful that God used it to bring me to the place where I am now. I don’t plan to be pregnant anytime soon but I am confident in God’s will in that area and will cross that bridge when it arrives and I wasn’t able to say that honestly before.

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2017 in contentment

 

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Summer Debrief: Part 1

I’ve rewritten this post three times now because there is so much to tell and I can’t figure out how I want to tell it. I’m almost tempted to just make a list on here about the summer but I know that’s cheesy. You should see how my journal looks when I don’t write for a while. 🙂

This week marks the final full week of summer camp. I can’t believe how fast it’s gone; seems like just yesterday that all the staff were arriving, new and nervous, and now they are thriving here at camp. This summer was so different from last year in a good, stretching way. The staff were different, my role/perspective was different, and many changes took place as the summer wore on.

I think the Lord really taught me contentment this summer. Now, I would have said I was a content person before- I’m usually pretty happy wherever I’m placed. But, it seems like this summer I had to lay down every desire I had and things just didn’t go the way I planned. I never did get to be a counselor because I was needed in the office. And it was OK. I recognized that the Lord had placed me in that spot for a reason and my job was to serve joyfully there. There were so many new things to learn in the office because I wasn’t in there for camp last year. My days were very busy and on some days, I wouldn’t leave the office until 7:30 or 8:00.

My new motto has become: Does it really matter? I ask myself that all the time. In the whole scheme of eternity, is this going to matter? Is it going to matter if I miss this event, if I don’t get to eat dinner until 8 or 9 tonight, if this has to wait until tomorrow. Now, not to say I just threw everything to the wind and don’t care what happens or if I’m doing my job to the best of my ability. I’m just trying to throw in some eternal perspective. Some things just aren’t worth getting upset over because they don’t matter that much.

And other things do. Souls matter. Christ’s glory matters. Did I impact others for the gospel? Did I shine Christ in a dark world? Was I glorifying God in everything? Those things matter.

And those are the things I want my life to be focused on.

 

(Stay tuned for part 2!)

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2014 in camp

 

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A Random Post from a Jumbled Mind

As you may know, my little brother has epilepsy.  If you didn’t know that, you may want to read THIS post.  Anyway, he hasn’t had a real seizure for over a year due to medication to prevent them.  On Monday, he acted funny all day and through a fast sequence of events, he ended up in the ER again.  It’s pretty sad when a trip to the ER barely ruffles the day anymore- we kind of have a routine.

The girls have still been doing school without mom here.  They do it pretty well on their own with only a little help from me.  There have been so many calls to update people and get news from mom.  Today, all of us girls headed over to the local crisis pregnancy center to volunteer and spent a few hours helping out.  We proceeded to eat lunch at MacDonald’s (because I had coupons) and then picked up a gift for mom because she is kind of worn out.

A couple of ladies from our church will be bringing us dinner tomorrow and Friday. I’m so thankful for them!!!

The doctors are really unsure what to do at this point.  Do they increase his meds or put him on another one?  This was so out of the blue.  David will be coming home later today and we can’t wait to see him.

With mom in the hospital, I was able to get her mother’s day gift ready.  We (finally) bought a wireless router and I was able to hook up the laptop, printer, and Wii.  Shhhhh….it’s still a secret….

 

And through it all here’s what we know…

God is good and he’s in control!

 

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2013 in contentment

 

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Being Content at Home

Lots of people think that a girl who chooses to stay home after graduation is just sitting around waiting to get married.  They picture that daughter as a princess sitting in a tower just waiting for her prince to come.  Sometimes they even imagine that she is being held captive by an evil dragon (parents) who stifles her.  They can’t imagine that a girl may love to be at home or that she would choose to give up the ‘equal opportunity’  feminists have worked so hard to give her.

Ahhh….those poor, befuddled people…

I would love to be married but at the same time I realize something. Marriage comes with many cares I don’t have right now.  I’m enjoying all the free time I have right now to serve others and I know that some of that will disappear or change forms when I marry.  So, for the time being, I’m enjoying it and getting all I can out of it. Now, I’m also told that a wife and mommy has some unspeakable joys that you can’t experience until you’re there. Maybe someday, I’ll have those joys.

Many girls find it hard to stay content at home and long to be married. Here are some things I have learned in this area:

1. Don’t fantasize about your wedding too much.  I’ve heard some girls talk about how they have their whole wedding planned out and they aren’t even close to marriage. I’ve never really thought too much about my wedding because I know it’s not all about me. After all, I won’t be marrying myself!  My husband has a say in things too!  I don’t think a lot about the wedding. I picture years later, after I’ve been married to my best friend for a long time, hoping to see my grandchildren and more!

2. Some things aren’t going to change after the wedding.  I mean, after all, you will still have dishes to do, chores needing to be done, and kids (hopefully!)  to take care of.  I think girls imagine that after they are married, all their problems will melt away.  Not true!

3. Make the most out of your time at home.  Lots of moms have told me that they wished they had made more out of the time before they got married.  I want to be able to look back on these years and know that I served with all I had!

If you aren’t content without a husband, you won’t be content with one. Contentment comes from God!  He alone can satisfy.

“Nothing makes God more supreme and more central in worship than when a people are utterly persuaded that nothing – not money or prestige or leisure or family or job or health or sports or toys or friends – nothing is going to bring satisfaction to their sinful, guilty, aching hearts besides God.”
-John Piper

A great article on contentment can be found HERE.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2013 in contentment

 

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So This is Love?

Warning! Pet peeve rant coming!

We’ve all seen Cinderella, right? You know, the poor, oppressed girl who has magical mice to help her with her chores? The one who is a slave to her family’s whims? The one who went behind her stepmother’s back to attend a ball?

That ball is the turning point in the movie.  Cinderella is invited to dance with the Prince and somehow, during that 2 minute dance, she falls in love with him.

“So this is love,
So this is love
So this is what makes life divine
I’m all aglow,
And now I know
The key to all heaven is mine
My heart has wings,
And I can fly
I’ll touch ev’ry star in the sky
So this is the miracle that I’ve been dreaming of
So this is love”

This is the song that Cinderella sings in her mind while she dances. Not exactly sound theology. 

It’s amazing to me that she supposedly loves that handsome guy with all heart-  when she never even spoke to him!!!  How superficial can love get? Does she love him because she’s flattered that he picked her to dance with over all the other girls?  Does she love him because he’s got dreamy eyes? He dances well?

She doesn’t know a thing about his character. She gave him her heart before she could find out.

Now, some people would say, “Big deal. It’s just a movie!”  I know it is, but movies influence minds. Do people think that because they have a special moment with someone, they must be in love with that person and they should give themselves to them?

Love is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  I fear, in most movies, that it is. People fall for each other without even knowing them.

And that is my problem with Cinderella.

 

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2013 in movies

 

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