Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Being Content

Over the last few months, several people have asked if we are happy with our decision to move to southwest Missouri for a job for Roger. Others, hearing that we recently moved and are new to the area, ask where we came from. Then most of them ask, “Why?” LOL Followed by a form of do we like it here?

My initial reaction to those questions has been, “Hmmm . . . Let me see. The Colorado Rocky Mountains to the Missouri Ozarks.” Sorry, folks. It’s hard to compare the two. Marshfield, at just under 1500 feet above sea level, is the highest point on I-44 through Missouri. I apologize to my friends here, but the Ozarks are not mountains—they are hills. J Nice ones, where the roads are full of “whee bumps” and curves and lead to wonderful “hollers” and vistas. But they are not mountains.

Now that we’ve established that . . . let’s go back to the original question: Are you happy with your decision to move to Missouri?

Our answer has been “We’re choosing to be content where the Lord has put us.”

Sounds like a good, spiritual answer. Right? But in the last few weeks, the Lord has been calling me on it.

Last Wednesday I drove into Springfield to meet with a new writing friend and go through some edits on her latest manuscript. We’d paid our delayed taxes Monday, leaving us absolutely nothing in our bank account, so I had been struggling for a couple of days over the injustice of having to pay more taxes than we’ve ever paid for a year where the primary wage earner was unemployed.

On the way, I drove by a house that I’ve been sort of interested in—not seriously since it overlooks the interstate. But it had been up for auction, and I was curious to see if someone had bought it and wondering what they’d paid for it. We’ve heard of a couple other real estate auctions where the buyers walked into incredible deals. It would be really cool if we could benefit from something like that. And that led to the thought that we wouldn’t be approved for a mortgage right now anyway because of having to short sale our house in Denver. And my thoughts went downhill from there.

Until the Lord pulled me up short with, “I thought you were choosing to be content where I put you.” Ouch!

My reply? “I am, Lord, but . . .”

Two verses popped into my head about that time. Familiar ones. I’m sure you’ve read them often. Here they are from the Amplified version:

Not that I am implying that I was in any personal want, for I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am. (Philippians 4:11)

Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] (Hebrews 13:5)

Ahem! Ever get that sinking feeling when you know the Lord has “nailed” you?

I know that I know that I know that being content with where the Lord has put me, no matter what the circumstances (bleak or plenty), is a choice. My choice.

Reading the blog posts of a couple of my writer friends later also helped to confirm this truth. And then these verses that keep popping up in random places . . . LOL

Instead of focusing on what I don’t have and what I’ve had to “give up” in the process of being obedient to the Lord’s calling and purposes in my life, I am choosing to focus on what I do have. On the important things. Like salvation, a relationship with the God of the universe, peace, a family who loves the Lord . . . the things that are eternal not temporal.

Sure it’s nice to have “things” that make life easier. But as a friend posted on my Facebook page this morning: “Gratitude for what we have and confidence that God loves us is the key to a contented life. Accumulation of possessions leads to strife and disappointment. We can never have enough.” (Gigi Falstrom)

Do I miss Colorado, my church family there, and my many writing friends? Sure. Is it wrong? No, as long as I don’t get stuck on “what used to be.” But the Lord is so faithful. He keeps pointing out all the benefits of being in the center of His will, including a new church family, several new writing friends, and the beauty of the Missouri Ozarks.

Best of all? He assures me, “I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]” (Hebrews 13:5)

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