I have been pondering contentment lately, specifically in regards to where/how we are living right now. Mostly because we are also gearing up more towards moving to Africa and have been talking and reading about that. (Africa? you ask? Check out our 2011 Family newsletter for more info if you’re curious).
I’ve decided that I am very content living here in Escondido. Let me share why.
1) I have opportunities to share the gospel with my neighbors and those I meet in the process of life and volunteering. I speak both English and Spanish and that has opened up a lot of doors in a city that’s over 50% Hispanic now.
2) I have many opportunities to use my time wisely and in serving others. The activities I’m currently involved in give me great satisfaction, and if I decided today to stop all of them there are probably a 100 more I could do with a clear conscience.
3) Our family has a wonderful church family. ‘Nuff said.
4) My husband, Nathan, is doing something that he knows is hard but is also exactly his passion.
5) Our kids are growing up healthy and happy.
6) We have food and shelter and medical coverage (something I’m very grateful for b/c it’s been hit or miss all last year!), and my children are dressed in clothes that fit and please them.
7) We have many places we can go as a family to “experience nature” like the lake up the hill from us, the SD Safari park, and even our own backyard (which I am REALLY grateful for!). And it makes me happy to be able to see hills after living in flat prairies for 7 years. And I can drive to the ocean if I need some peace-inducing waves.
8) I am also content because we are also only two hours away from my family, who have been able to get to know our 4 kids. And the sadness of missing Nathan’s family has been tempered slightly by being able to see his parents several times, although we still miss the rest of the extended family.
9) I have been able to get back into shape and have a pool I can swim in. Love that.
10) And for all the little things that are innumerable that make me feel every day that God has placed us in a wide spacious green garden for this time.
I was just reading a post by Steve Saint, regarding poverty. I liked his comment about contentment: “Some people think 1 Timothy 6:6 says “Godliness is a means of gain,” but really it says “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” Where there is godliness with contentment there is no perceived “poverty” until discontentment has been stirred.”
And I want to comment on that because it is the snake in every garden God makes. I could very very easily become discontent here, because we are poor living in a rich city. I drive past mansions every day. My kids are priviledged to study at a private Christian school, thanks to their generous scholarship, but their classmates generally live in these mansions. I could focus on all the things around me that God has chosen not to give me and whine and complain. And life here has not been an easy fairy-tale bed of roses; in fact at times the complete opposite, so that I have even doubted God’s goodness in the past. I could focus on the fact that God has not chosen to provide paying work for us despite our efforts to find it, and the financial stress that adds, or I can choose to trust that He has a better path for us. I can choose to concentrate on the vast amount of uncertainty our lives have had and do contain and complain that He should be letting me in on His plans! (believe me, been there, done that!). Are you beginning to sense that contentment isn’t my natural modus operandi?? Yes! But that is because I forget or choose not to remember God’s faithfulness and goodness to me/us. So this post is to remind myself of why I am content, and what a great gain He daily gives me. =D