Another long time between postings...I know. There's been a lot going on around me lately and sometimes I desperately want to write about it and ask for the support of my friends who read this and other times I just can't bring myself to share it with the world. It's amazing how public our lives can be...amazing how okay we are with some of that and not okay with others. This much I will say, my family could use your prayers right now as we struggle to find our way right now. Many tough things have been happening but also many wonderful things too and I think that maybe the most wonderful thing that has happened yet is beginning and will continue to happen. We've been asking God for a lot of guidance, support and love lately and opening ourselves up, together, for this and I think we are feeling and seeing the amazing way He can touch people first hand.
Last night I was reading one of my Amish Christian fiction novels..A Stranger's Wish by Gayle Roper. I was struck by something the authorwrote and felt so compelled to share it with everyone and to reflect upon it. It was about contentment....true contentment and about what we deserve...and what the reality is or how we cope with that.
Learning contentment is often coming to the realization that some circumstances are changeable and some aren't. Contentment is partially found in learning to tell the difference.
We must ask ourselves this: Can I choose to change my circumstances or are they beyond my ability to change? If I am unhappy with my car, I may be able to buy a new one. I can choose to change my situation. If I am unhappy with my children, I can't trade them in. I cannot deny the genetic strands hidden in their bodies.
I realize these are extreme examples, but the principle holds: Some situations are changeable; some are not.
"But I deserve better," you say.I deserve a better home/house, decent neighbours, a church that feeds me, to be understood. When what you have and what you deserve aren't a match, your response to this less-than-perfect situation is your choice. You can be hurt and bitter. You can withdraw. You can become sharp of tongue and manner. Or you can give up the need to get what you deserve.
I just really found that this begged me to read and reread it. So many areas of so many peoples lives seem to be filled with a lack of contentment and a desire to have that they feel they deserve. The obvious examples are those materialistic things we seem to want even if the budget isn't there or the need really doesn't exist. I know I've justified purchases with the the thoughts or words 'think how much happier we'll be or how easier it will make things.
But that's not really what spoke to me here...and not really what the author was truly talking about though I'm very certain it does tie in. That kind if contentment requires change if financial status and if you believe many business motivational speakers, we all have the ability to become financially content. But do we deserve it... do the judgements of others make us more content than the judgements of a good and loving God???
And what about the ability to change your circumstance to increase your contentment. How many people do you know that believe they can change someone... mostly a partner or sometimes a child or friend. It is so hard to learn that we can change ourselves to increase our contentment but we can't change others. No matter how hard we try, no matter how much we want change...it's up to us. And sometimes it just can't be changed... sometimes it is beyond our control.
I think this could be said for anyone who has gone through a personal crisis, a loss, a tragedy. You want to change your circumstances, you want to erase what has happened and start over, you wish you had that choice. But the reality is that you much of what happens to us everyday day is beyone our ability to change. What is not, should it make us unhappy, is up to us to change...not others, not the money fairy, not your neighbours, your church, your family...it's up to you.
And what can't be changed..what then. How do you cope with the reality that this is your life, this is the way it's meant to be? When it is beyond your ability to change it then what do you do. So many people get bitter and angry. They tell everyone how unjust things are. They ask why this had to happen and they blame God. They are unable to forgive those that they feel wronged them or caused this to
happen...unable to forgive those who can't change. Or they disappear...they go inside themselves and shut themselves off. And many times it seems to be so much easier to complain, to be negative and to be cynical rather than to accept that this is your life, this is what will make you content in time and this is the life God meant for you.
True happiness and contentment is in our control if we can only realize that our acceptance of the things we can't change is really all that keeps us from it. Life is not about what you have, who you know, where you've been or where you go here on earth. Its about the journey you take along the way and your responses to the good, the bad, the things that are given to you and the the things that are taken away.
May God grant us the serenity to accept the things we can not change, the courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference so that true contentment is something we all will know.