Sunday, September 30, 2012

Contentment

I was sitting at my computer typing when I began grumbling.

"How am I ever going to get used to this keyboard?" 

My son gently and respectfully reminded me of the times I had taught him not to complain by sharing with him the stories of the much poorer ones in Africa.

"Mom, why are you complaining? There are people in Africa that don't even have computers and would love to have one like yours." 

I smiled really big and said, "You're right, I shouldn't be complaining." I was happy to hear the reminder and very thankful that my son had grasped the concept of contentment that I'd been teaching him his entire life. 

Then I began to examine my heart.  

Lord, help me to stay content always. Help me to never take anything for granted and to live a life focused on You and on others.  

The complaining attitude lifted off of me and I became grateful for my keyboard. My computer had broken that week and for some reason, the keyboard (which I loved) had to be replaced too. We didn't want to spend the money to buy a new computer because we were in the midst of making huge progress paying off debt. My husband is a computer geek and he found me a used one for a really great price.

I never could've imagined that I would be complaining about anything. It was just a few years ago that we barely had enough money to buy food. And here I was complaining about a silly keyboard.

Contentment is something I struggled with for years. I grew up with a lot materially. We lived in a small house and then a small apartment when I was little. But it wasn't long before things changed.

By the time I was eight years old, my family lived in a really nice four bedroom house with a full basement. We lived in a plush neighborhood that had it's own golf course by the time I was ten. And when I was sixteen, my dad had a beautiful in-ground swimming pool installed in our back yard.

I am grateful my dad taught me how to manage money well. And he required that I start working, pay for my own car, and pay for my college tuition. And I am grateful for the years that I lived with a single mom after my dad moved out. Because during those years I learned how to live a simpler life and make money go farther.  If my parents hadn't taught me things about money I would've never survived the financial crisis that I later experienced.

But even though I had good money management skills, I was spoiled in many ways. I had nice clothes, delicious food to eat, and countless forms of entertainment.

No matter how much we may try not to be spoiled, I believe it is inevitable while living in America. We have been such a blessed nation. We are so used to having luxuries that people in third world countries couldn't even fathom.

When my husband lost his great paying job in 1989 and when I chose to work less and eventually quit working in the corporate world (to focus on parenting) our income dropped close to the poverty level. God began restructuring our thinking. I'm planning to write the whole story in a series of future posts. But for now, I want to share that those years of having very little income were truly a gift to us.

I learned that contentment comes deep from within the soul. 

Paul said it best... 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 (1 Timothy 6:6-8).
 

Today, I am content and I pray I always will be. I am content not because my husband has a great job now—and not because we have plenty of money coming in each month. I am content because every morning when I wake up I feel the love of Christ embracing my soul. I feel His Spirit consuming my being as I begin a new day of life. It's a contentment that can never come from any amount of money or stuff. It is eternal.

In a world where worth is defined by what we own and what we do for a living, we have been able to learn to put our faith and values in spiritual things.  

When I am gone from this earth I want to be remembered by my loving and generous heart. 


One of my all time favorite quotes sums up what's important in this life: "One hundred years from now, it will not matter what kind of house I lived in, how much money was in my bank account, nor what my clothes looked like. But the world may be a better place because I was important in the life of a child."

I want to make a difference in the world.

I want people to say, "Amy lived a simple life, she poured herself out sacrificially to others. She didn't have too much materially but she was rich in love and spiritual wisdom."

2 Corinthians 4:18 ~ "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Live Abundantly!

Amy



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