This weekend at Church, our Pastor spoke on contentment. Anyone who knows me, or has read every other post I publish, knows that "contentment" does not come easy to me .... at all. So, forgive me if this is all same old, same old to your reading eyes. I often am annoyed with myself at the same old, same old that I just can't figure out.
Anyway, there was a 2 sentence point that has stuck with me since Sunday morning. I just can't stop thinking about it ... and I probably shouldn't just yet. Thus, I blog. Pastor Tom (we'll call him Tom to keep his identity secret) stated - "If you are wired for stuff to be what makes you happy, you will NEVER be happy. Because money and stuff has not been wired to do that for you."
Wow. That probably seems like a "duh" statement. But it smacked me upside the head just the same. God did not design money and things to be the be all, end all source of my joy. Yet I so often make decisions that seem as if I believe it might just be that way for me anyway. Right ... like I'm the exception to the rule.
The cure? Contentment. Easier said then done if you ask me. For me that's like telling me to not be annoyed with my kids, just to find joy in them and their childish ways. This is a whole other post that I won't really get into now. The point is .... I don't know HOW to just make myself do the right thing, make the right choice, feel the right emotion, have the correct response. Again, another post. So as it pertains to contentment ... what to do, what to do. I live with the mindset that certain things will result in me finally being happy. It's not me that needs to choose a different response ... it's stuff that God needs to throw in my lap.... THEN I'll be ABLE to choose joy. Again, as if I'm any exception to the reality that man cannot love both God and money. Darn.
Example: I think that having a deck (or flagstone patio ... whichever is cheaper, of course...I am thrifty you know) will make me happy because I envision sitting out by the fireplace with a glass of wine while the kids catch fireflies. Also, the wasps will be so amazed my new structure that they will find a new place to live. Pure joy.
Example: I think that if I had the Yukon Denali (more specifically, the pimped out one with leather heated seats and a DVD system) I would be truly happy while I cart around my kids. Their screaming, hitting, and whining will no longer bother me, because I will be 10 feet away from them anyway. Road trips will be better, grocery store trips will go more smoothly, hey ... I could even sleep in the thing when I feel I need a night away. Pure joy.
Example: I think if I had a new leather wrap around couch in my basement with a big screen TV hanging on my empty wall that I would feel less self conscious when we have our small group over on a weekly basis and everyone will just like me more. They'll want to come to my house all the time because it is so comforting and inviting all because of my furniture and TV. Pure joy.
Example: I think if I had a new bed I'd wake up in the morning refreshed, not needing coffee, speaking kindly toward everyone in my household and have no more back pain. Okay ... actually, that one really is true. Kidding.
Example: I think that if I had all new sleek black appliances, the oven of course being a double oven, I'd cook better, clean better, and probably lose weight too because I'd be too afraid to put fingerprints on my nice refrigerator that I'd just stay away from it. Pure joy.
Contentment Check: A patio or deck has nothing to do with the fact that I have a roof over my head (and a nice one), a yard for the kids to play in, and the wasps will still attack, thus driving me inside rather than sitting on my new deck. Joy is now gone. Thank God I have a house.
Contentment Check: The Yukon will still get dirty with crushed goldfish, only now there is a bigger space to trash, thus clean. The kids won't hear me when I yell at them to stop whining, and I'll just be annoyed. Joy is now gone. I have a van that has sufficient space for our large family to get from point A to point B no matter how much distance is in between the two. Praise God I have a vehicle.
Contentment Check: How great that my house gets to be used to host friends while diving into the word of God on a weekly basis. The wrap around couch will hold the same amount of people as my old green couches, only now we are all kicking each other. The TV we currently have was graciously given to us by some friends. And I rearrange too often to hang anything on the wall, let alone a TV. Joy is now gone. Praise God I have a comfy place to sit while I blog, and the TV is on. Praise God that people return to my house for whatever their reasons may be ... hopefully the reasons have to do with us, not my furniture.
Contentment Check: The bed. Yeah, that's hard. We really need a new bed. No, really, Praise God that I have a warm place to lay my head at the end of every day. Praise God I get to sleep next to my best friend, and wake up securely next to him every day. Praise God for coffee and pain killers.
Contentment Check: The new appliances would just put me in debt I would soon regret. The kids would get their fingerprints all over them, and I'd be annoyed. Joy is now gone. I still am a great cook, even with my single oven. Praise God that I don't have to hand wash my dishes. Praise God that I don't have to light a fire just to cook food. Praise God that I have more food in my refrigerator TODAY than most FAMILIES in the world would consume in an entire month or two.
The biggest contentment check - Praise God that I have a husband who works to provide and support our family. Praise God that we are able to make it work while we live out our convictions of me staing home with our children. Not many people can say that today. Praise God that the ways we've chosen to sacrifice financially (no deck, no couches, no new appliances, etc....) have nothing to do with eternity. But rather sacrificing these things in order to make a difference to our children, and to us ... that means something for eternity if you ask me.
Contentment sure seems like a better route to pure joy. I hope I gain a better grasp on that before I leave this world with none of it anyway.