Thursday, November 13, 2008

Seasons

I've been thinking a lot about seasons lately. No, not winter, spring, summer, fall seasons, but seasons of life. I was thinking about how I can't remember the last time I was at home for the entire day. In fact, excluding Sundays, I am normally gone more of the day than I am home. Most days I am gone at least 8 hours straight, but it's not uncommon for me to be gone 12-14+ either. Then I got to thinking how sometimes I feel like I live in my car. It seems like I'm ALWAYS driving- school, work, church, stores, etc. I guess it's a good thing I love it. I was thinking today how thankful I am that I finally got enough time to clean my room. Those observations and thoughts didn't start out sinful. I know they sound like complaints, but in all honesty, they weren't. They were just thoughts. But they soon turned sinful.

I started to get to the point I was envying moms who could stay at home all day if they wanted. Homemakers who have the whole day to clean. People who can just go to bed whenever they want and not have to worry about homework. People already done with school and onto their career. People who didn't have to drive everywhere all the time. (And this where you all tell me I'm deceived about how the life of stay at home moms, homemakers, career people, etc, really are)

But then God stopped me. After a few minutes of these envious thoughts running wild in my mind, luring me to complain, envy, and become discontent, God convicted me. Lord willing, one day, when I'm a mom with napping toddlers, I'm probably going to wish I was a college student who could just up and leave whenever I want without kids in tow. One day, Lord willing, I'm going to have babies or sick children waking me up every few hours and I'm going to wish I had homework that kept me up, but then let me sleep more than 2 hours straight. One day, I'm going to have a bad teaching day and wish I was still in school learning to be a teacher rather than experiencing the not so happy moments of it. One day I'll probably be scrubbing the floors and wiping the counters for the 100th time and complaining about it the whole time.

God was so gracious to stop me and gently remind me that this is just a season, and there will probably be a day I long to return to this season, even if just for one day. There will be a day I'm complaining that I am stuck at home all day. A day where I'm complaining because I have to clean my room again. A day where I'm complaining I don't get any adult conversation or opportunity to use my intellect. The list goes on. By God's grace, I'm finding contentment in this "I'm: single/a college student/a pastor's secretary/pretty much living in my car/never at home" season of life, and hope to remain content in it no matter how long it lasts.

In closing, I didn't write this to convict you. I didn't write it to say "Look at me, I'm all godly because I'm content" (If only you knew the deep struggle I have to be content. If I don't CONSTANTLY remind myself of how much God has blessed me, I easily and quickly go right to being discontent, which is displayed through anger, complaining, or a number of other sinful responses). I didn't write this so that moms would envy my freedom. I didn't write this so that you would start comparing your life to mine. I wrote this to remind myself to be content where I am, and hopefully in the process, encourage you to do the same, even if your season of life is completely different than mine.

Questions (answers as many or as few as you want. If they're personal, just reflect on them, don't feel you need to share):
~Are you content in whatever season you are in right now? If so, how did God bring you to that place of contentment?
~When do you find it easiest to become discontent in your season (specifics, not "I find it easiest to be discontent when things are hard.")
~ What is the most helpful counsel someone has given you regarding the season of life you are in right now?
~ What counsel would you give to someone in my season? (This is wide open!)
~ What bible verse or passage have you found to be most encouraging when it comes to contentment?



3 comments:

Tara said...

Ah yes the sin of discontentment.. I'm no stranger to it either. And well let me encourage you to continue to fight it in your single years. Because there will come a day when the season you wanted to change will change and the sin of discontentment will come back out in a new form. I speak from experience :-) I read the Art of Discontentment a few years back and thought it was outstanding. Here's a quote from the book.

God sees in his infinite wisdom that the same condition is not convenient for all; that which is good for one, may be bad for another. One season of weather will not serve all men’s occasions; one needs sunshine, another rain: one condition of life will not fit every man, any more than one suit of apparel will fit every body: prosperity is not fit for all, nor yet adversity.
The Art of Divine Contentment, Watson p41

If you search contentment on my blog I've posted a bunch of other quotes that you might find helpful. Take Care!

Laurie said...

Dear Sarah,
First let me say how I got here.(I mean to your blog.)
Your mom... your brother.. you! How I got to your mom's, then bros etc. I'm not so sure. God knows, though!
I may not be able to answer any of your questions! I am finding that so many of the things I long for are choices. I know I need to choose contentment, thankfulness etc., but I don't always know how to do this practically. I wonder if there is a difference between restlessness and discontentment. Discontent is complainy I guess and restlessness is a "stirring" or lookng forward to something else. Okay I know I'm rambling.
Do you think we can get too content to the point of thinking we don't need God as much?
Maybe it is the Christmas season or maybe it is my season of life but I think we both need to read "A Cup of Christmas Tea." This somehow seems to help put some of your questions (and mine which are similar) into perspective. Sarah, I'm not sure what to say, but I can and will pray.
Laurie

Laurie said...

Hi Sarah,
It’s me again! You really got me thinking! I stayed up way too late trying to say something about contentment that I couldn’t quite nail down. I don’t think I can nail this down, but here I am back for another try! Contentment is an evasive thing for me.
We never quite “arrive” at being all content. Oh, there are seasons of contentment; some short, some longer, brought about by realization of our great blessings from God or partaking in the fruit of the Spirit. I guess discontent keeps us realizing this world is not our home keeps us longing for heaven!
I can relate to being in the car so much. I am finished with home schooling our daughters now, but I remember a busy season of our lives when I would say, “We don’t home school, we CAR school!” I learned the blessing of staying home and the need for home.
Sarah, that you desire contentment and understand the struggle of being content is a good thing! Considering even our everyday blessings normally taken for granted can lead to thankfulness which leads to contentment. I’m so glad you wrote your post! I’m being reminded again that contentment and thankfulness walk hand in hand and that if I desire contentment I need to join hands with thankfulness! In each season there is temptation for discontent and as your brother wrote, there is temptation to look back to Eqypt unrealistically!
May God bless you, dear Sarah as God leads you to contentment. He does fulfill every need.

These lyrics from Rich Mullin’s song “One Thing” were dancing in my brain after I woke up this morning and began thinking of contentment.

Everybody I know says they need just one thing
And what they really mean is that they need just one thing more
And everybody seems to think they've got it coming
Well I know that I don't deserve You
Still I want to love and serve You more and more
You're my one thing

Save me from those things that might distract me
Please take them away and purify my heart
I don't want to lose the eternal for the things that are passing
'Cause what will I have when the world is gone If it isn't for the love that goes on and on with

My one thing
You're my one thing
And the pure in heart shall see God
You're my one thing
You're my one thing
And the pure in heart shall see God