Be Content With Today

Years ago, I read this poem in Linda Dillow’s book Calm My Anxious Heart.   It was spring but it was summer I wanted; the warm days and the great outdoors. It was summer but it was fall I wanted; the colorful leaves and the cool dry air. It was fall but it was winter I wanted; the beautiful snow and the joy of the holiday season. It was now winter but it was spring I wanted; the warmth and the blossoming of nature. I was a child but it was adulthood I wanted; the freedom and the respect. I was twenty but it was thirty I wanted; to be mature and sophisticated. I was middle-aged but it was twenty I wanted; the youth and the free spirit. I was retired but it was middle age that I wanted; the presence of mind without limitations. My life was over but I never got what I wanted. The author of this poem, (a 14 year old boy!), has no idea how much his words have touched my heart over the years.   I recently re-read it, and again the inherent wisdom spoke to me deeply.  I think of days gone by when I would wish time away – wanting to get past diapers, past busy kids schedules, past homework, past teen social issues, past stressful work, past conflict, etc.  The older I get however, the more I want to squeeze all that I can out of each day – regardless of what it holds.  Perhaps it’s because I watch my mom whose life is now defined by the second to...

Finding the Gold in Ordinary Days

Taking care of my mom, who now lives with us, has certainly impacted my life — especially my freedom. Much like when I was a mom of young kids, I now must consider her needs, and provide the supervision she requires as a result of Alzheimer’s. I listen to the same stories repeatedly. Answer the same questions. Show her how to do simple things over and over and over. She sincerely desires to help – to pull her weight – yet her assistance requires that I help her help me. This can be quite exasperating, something I attempt to do without undermining her dignity. Now I must order my days around her needs and am restricted from doing what I want to do when I want to do it. (A benefit of an empty nest!) If I am honest, I fight feelings of drudgery. I remember feeling similarly when my own kids were little. They would bombard me with questions and want me to read certain stories continuously. I would show them repeatedly how to do something. Their efforts to help usually meant more work for me. While I deeply valued being at home with them, sometimes I also grew weary of the repetitive, everyday tasks. After writing a draft of this post, I picked up Utmost For His Highest, my favorite all-time devotional by Oswald Chambers and read the devotional for June 15. It starts out with the statement: “In the matter of drudgery.” That got my attention! First the Holy Spirit moved me to ponder this, and then the words of Oswald Chambers drove the point home....

Take The Blinders Off

Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing.  My brethren, these things ought not to be so.  Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? James 3:10 Erin, as a three year old, chattered about God putting holes in houses. Alisa, as a three year old, taught her friend that Jesus died crossing the street. In digging a bit deeper, I discovered that to Erin “holy” meant “full of holes” and she had learned in Sunday School that God’s house was holy!  Alisa connected the Easter story about Jesus dying on the cross with warnings about crossings roads and assumed Jesus was hit by a car when he crossed a street! How we perceive things and others is often distorted by what we fail to recognize. The quickest means to distorting my perceptions is something I actually cause myself; it’s when I burden my day with negativity- when I refuse to see my day with a “happy heart.” Two weeks ago, I wrote about the spiritual fog that results from those exceedingly  overwhelming & painful events in life. Last week, the blog was about how we face regular difficulties in life.  Today’s post is about how we embrace daily life. Am I seeing each day with spiritual eyes or am I wearing blinders which distort my perception? Nothing blinds me quicker than when I begin to think in grumbling and complaining ways. Before I realize it, my perception of the day has grown undesirable. Then my vision turns inward and I grow self- centered in my thinking.  My own foolishness blinds me. A...

Choosing to be Content

(Essential Principle # 3) Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.  I Timothy 6: 6-7 We are a profoundly dissatisfied people.  We focus on what we want to get rather than enjoying what we already have.  We grasp for, grab at, and seek for more- better – easier.  The discontented culture we have created for ourselves is a breeding ground for depression and despair.  The more we look for new means by which to satisfy ourselves, the more discontent we become. This ever expanding pursuit is a nightmarish existence of greed, envy, and pride.   It lures, ensnares, and imprisons us into a lifestyle that distracts us away from what is truly important in life. The unbelievable amount of choices available to American consumers in and of itself creates dissatisfaction.  What if we make the wrong choice or pick “less than the best option” available?  With the purchase of a cell phone alone, the shopper has over 4,600 cell phone models to select from and as soon as a new phone is purchased, an upgraded model becomes available. And think about the complexity of merely selecting athletics shoes considering that over 10,000 models are available in the market.  “Choices stress” bubbles into EVERYTHING including the purchase of everyday items like eggs and milk. The perception of what kids actually need to be happy has mushroomed in recent decades.  Today’s kids get more and at earlier ages than any other generation.    Yet they appear to be decidedly more dissatisfied if whining and complaining...

A Model of Contentment in Colt McCoy

It was a seemingly routine hit – one that would have gone unnoticed except that it sent Colt McCoy to the sidelines, his throwing arm hanging limply at his side.  With the national championship on the line, we held our breath.  We had faithfully watched Colt lead the Longhorn football team to victory all season long.  We marveled at his steadfast leadership and took joy in his regular stand for Christ.  Watching a team of this caliber was fun.  Knowing the team was led by a quarterback who put his trust in the Lord, made it all the more exciting. “Colt couldn’t be injured”, we reasoned, “that just did not happen”. But it did, suddenly, and in an oddly non- dramatic fashion.  Colt may never understand how or why, but his words in the post game interview resonate as a powerful message with lasting impact for all of us.     “ I stand on the rock”, he explained, refusing to question the sovereignty of God in undoubtedly his most devastating moment in football, a game he had dedicated his life to.  To lead the team to a National Championship title had been his dream for years.  The game started out with intensity, the Longhorns on track to win.   It took a second to change the direction. Life isn’t easy!  Disappointment can invade a person’s heart and soul quickly and forcefully by unexpected events and circumstances.  Experiences such as loss of job or a dream, the death of a love one, or marital unfaithfulness, can quickly bring on despair.  Even day to day life, with its constant grind and unexpected obstacles,...