Do you ever go through seasons of your life where you know that God is dealing with you. Like the way your momma dealt with you. I’m talking, you were misbehaving just a little bit. Not even enough to warrant a spanking, just enough for the eyebrow raise. THAT kind of dealing.
I feel like it is by far the most embarrassing reprimand, even though it is often unseen by anyone else, because it shows our true nature. The nature to misbehave. To need the eyebrow raise.
My Father is dealing with me. The eyebrow has been raised.
Conviction is a funny thing. It will wake you up in the middle of the night and hold your attention like the drip of a leaky faucet until you move. I have experienced true conviction four times in my life. That may seem like a low number to you, but until this last year, I would have told you that I felt convicted daily. Once you experience it, you KNOW that it is not an everyday (even if you are in the Word daily) or even Sunday morning feeling. It is an all consuming, no question about it, often painful experience. However, the other side of it is… I don’t even know how to put it into something comprehensible. Like a waterfall.
So when I woke up with this verse rolling through my brain like the longest train you could ever imagine, I knew this had been a long time coming.
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to want, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:11-13
These verses, often quoted for the last, have always been a stumbling block for me. And if we are honest with ourselves, I think we all struggle with being content. Living in the culture we do only disguises how we express it.
After a day of procuring local shops followed by more orders from online stores than you could count, I felt better. Like I do every time I feel pressure, or stress or ( insert uncomfortable emotion here ), I checked my bank account, and headed straight for the bandaid for my discontent. Things.
And I justified it. Well. “You deserve this, you have been through far too much this year.” “Just because I am a housewife doesn’t mean I can’t be stylish.” “Clearly I needed this, I’m feeling so much better.” “Thank you Lord for blessing us with the money for me to buy new clothes. You are such a great provider.”
All of those phrases are true. I did deserve it. I can be stylish. I did feel better. He is The Great Provider.
But all of these were just cover ups for the sin in my heart. The lack of content. The love of things.
That night, God reminded me of the countless conversations Matt and I had pre-marriage about wanting our lives to look drastically different. That as christians, our lives should look drastically different. Not filled to the brim with the latest and greatest. Not looking for the next best thing. Not wasting our money when it could be used to accomplish God’s plans for us. When it could be used to bless others. I’m not talking giving all our money away to move into the projects, however admirable that may be. I not even talking about living in a way that some would call “quaint”. I am talking about being good stewards. I am talking about taking a hard look at spending and cutting out the fat. Cutting out things that are unnecessary.
Teary-eyed, I handed Matt my credit card. I am over and done with low living and sight walking. Without much effort at all, we have always had plenty. We have had tens of thousands of dollars in unexpected medical bills, and yet we don’t know what it is like to want for anything.
We are learning the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
So we are cutting the fat. Me in particular. It’s a day-by-day thing and there are some days that I just want to buy the polka-dot shorts with the bow in the front. THEY. WERE. ON. SALE.
We have implemented the Wish List. This is my brilliant brain child.
The idea is that when we find something we would like, something that is useful or would make our lives easier but is not a necessity, we put it on the list with the price and where to get it. Anniversary comes up, we get something off the list. Birthday? Off the list. And the biggest of all, Christmas. There have been years when I have dropped unthinkable amounts of cash because I didn’t know what to get Matt. Now I have a list.
The common response when i tell people about the list is the lack of creativity. I disagree. It is obedience. It is a tangible way for us to act out the call God has placed on our lives.
This past two weeks have been spent purging my house. Getting rid of the unnecessary things. Cutting the fat. Unless we consider it to be beautiful or useful it goes. Knowing that nothing will fill those places anytime soon feels as if a weight has been lifted from our shoulders and been replaced by the thunderous, glorious weight of a waterfall.
How does lack of content disguise itself in your life?