Blessed

I was really convicted last night, and it was a long time coming — and I am glad!

It has been on my heart/mind for a few weeks, but particularly since this Monday.  We have worked hard to save money the last year we’ve been married & it’s been tough.  We’ve said yes to some items and projects we should have probably waited on AND we’ve said no to a lot of things we knew we could afford but didn’t want to overreach.  But unfortunately I have become a frequent user of a couple bad bad phrases.

  1. We can’t afford it.  (ugh, really Brian?)
  2. We don’t have any money.  (idiot.)

So here’s the story of the ‘conviction’,  I’ll try to be brief.  I got Clara a very awesome anniversary present… but somewhat costly.  Unknown to the good friend who knew about the present, I paid very little.  Between gift cards & store credit (that we had no other need for), the present was literally an insane deal.  But from an outside perspective, hearing I purchased a relatively extravagant gift, there was some confusion, maybe even concern.  For example, “How could I justify spending so much money when I am always saying we have no money or cannot afford things…”.  Really, really good JAB TO THE GUT!   Far too frequent uses of the above ‘taboo Brian’ phrases had caught up with me and caused issue with a gracious, understanding & loving friend.  Good job Brian, not.

There is a pretty significant difference in “We can’t afford” and “choosing NOT to afford”.  In reality what I am usually trying to say is, “It’s just not in the budget”.   Which, clever turn of events, is exactly what I have begun saying (just this week actually, let’s be honest — this is fresh off the press people).  NOT defending myself in the slightest, but I have a tendency when I am trying to focus on losing weight, being thrifty, getting organized, etc. to overshare.  Partly because I want to be honest and open but mostly because I am preaching to myself to keep ‘on track’.  I am ALWAYS re-learning this delicate balance.  And in this scenario, I need to shut it.  Something it happens, it’s real, it’s okay 🙂

The truth is, we are exceedingly blessed beyond what we deserve.  We have a beautiful home, which we lovingly refer to as the ‘Homestead’, we have nice furniture that was surprisingly either gifted to us, handed down or sold to us for a bargain.  We have nice newer cars, although if another rock or hail stone comes at my car, I may just lose my mind — sorta joking, sorta.  I could go on and on, but seriously — God has very much blessed us.  I don’t get why He has been so generous with us, but I need to be much more thankful and conscious rather than speaking of what “I can’t afford”.  To some extent that is a slap in the face to God; that he’s blessed us tremendously and I have the audacity to focus on what I can’t afford versus how I am blessed.  In all seriousness, shame on me.  It is certainly something I need to repent of.

In fairness, we are not ‘rich’ by most standards.  There are a LOT of people who have WAY more than us & always will.  It’s difficult to sometimes not feel a bit ‘simple’ or struggling when you compare yourself.  On the flip side, we have LOT more than others.  Clearly a simplified argument against comparing oneself to another.  But that’s not the point today.

A lot of people are probably JUST LIKE ME, but that doesn’t excuse it.  We are blessed to be a blessing in this world and we are called to be set apart, to not conform to the ways of this world (Romans 12:2, p.s. I am a big Romans 12 fan, just an FYI).  So when I feel the habit, or temptation coming to say, “We can’t afford it” or “We don’t have any money” — I need to quickly call myself out (quietly, of course) and instead look upward and thank God for the tremendous blessings He has given to an ungrateful fellow like myself.

Perhaps this confession was a tad too honest — to me it’s a big thank you to God for the blessings He’s given us and a BIG thank you to the brother I received a gut check from last night.

 

 

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Contentment

Better a day in Your courts than a thousand anywhere else. I would rather be at the door of the house of my God than to live in the tents of wicked people. Psalm 84:10 HCSB

The past 6 years I have spent my school years with 9-10 year olds. A lot changes in a child over the course of the year, and I am thankful the Lord saw fit to mold my heart in a way that adores these years with these little people. I can always rest easy at the end of the year knowing that if the Lord taught them half of what He taught me through them…we can call it a success. 

One thing I am reminded of through my 4th graders from year to year is the idea of contentment. I am reminded more than anything that contentment is learned for the most part. As a child, it’s typically not intrinsic. Beyond that I know, too, that 9 year olds are constantly watching my every move. As they watch, they learn more about my character. 

What story does my character tell? Is it a story of contentment?
It’s a punch in the gut EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Brian and I have been blessed beyond measure. We have a home. FILLED with more than enough, and yet I still find myself flipping through home improvement magazines longing for the day things stop breaking and we can finance the fun additions to our cozy home. Sometimes I get lost in the dreams of ‘someday’ or what could be.

It’s in those moments where I lack contentment. I forget how blessed we are. I forget that this is a fun adventure that I am sharing with my favorite person. I forget that our home is a ministry, and that more than cute Pinterest projects, we desire for our home to be a safe haven to our friends when they need a place to just be.

The Lord has an incredible way of redirecting my eyes to the cross. To His story of contentment. To His perfect character FULL of grace…peace…contentment.

It’s in those moments where my ‘wishes of more’ become prayers of contentment

HE is enough.