Friday, September 6, 2013

The Secret of Contentment

"Joy is never made by Having More. Joy is always made by EnJoying More.
More Christ, more now, more grace."  (from Ann Voskamp  over at )

How did she know?  Did someone open my heart and reveal the wanting in there that I thought wasn't seeable?  That wanting that I thought I had under control.

How did she know?

"Joy is never made by Having More."  I know that.  I mean, in my head where fractions are formed, and checkbooks are balanced.  That place where things fit perfectly, square pegs in their square holes.  Where creativity and art is lost, but right angles and straight lines rule.

I know, think, conclude that "having more" won't make joy.  

But my heart doesn't know this.  My heart.  That place where words long to spill out onto white pages arranged in sentences of cadence that fulfill that creative urge in me.  The place where I feel things.  My heart.  My soul.  My "right brain" (or is it left?).

A few weeks back a sweet dear friend and her daughter came to visit.  I already had my 2 granddaughters, 6 years and 6 months, here.  Add to that my youngest mommy-daughter with her 2 kids.  It was a sweet time of talking and noise and wildness all crammed into my living areas that are way too small.  

Too small.  Too cramped.  Too many walls.  Not any open spaces.  That is what I saw.  I need more space to spread out and not feel I'm on top of the next person, in their space, toys under their feet and mine.  Tables cluttered.  Things "put up" so little fingers can't be harmed.

Too small.

My heart says, "Wouldn't it be nice?  Remember that other house?  The big 2-story with more room?  That is the type of house you need.  THAT would make you happy."

But it is not more things, more space, more out there that I need.  It is "More Christ, more now, more grace."  Him in here.

I then return to the beginning, prayer.  This is where we each have started on walk with Jesus.  A humbling, an accepting of His grace, His mercy, poured out on us to forgive us.  Forgive me.  I beg to be cleansed again of this discontentment, this wanting  more.  And I try to calm my nerves and relax, try to be in the moment.

So I sit on the floor with toys and kids all around me, with homework and snacks on the coffee table, and voices trying to out do one another.  I sit where there is no more floor space, not even an inch.  And I wonder, maybe it is in the moment of play, or book reading, or be-in-the-moment time that true joy is found.  Just being in that spot, listening and smiling and enjoying, that is where true joy is.

"Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstance I am in.  I have learned the secret of being filled and of going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering want.  I can do all things through Him who strengtens me." (Philippians 4:11-13)  Verses set to memory.  Truths to remember.  

I am not there yet.  As Paul also said in Philippians, "Not that I have already obtained it, or already become perfect" (3:12).  I am a work in progress for sure.

So I am down on my knees, asking, begging, pleading with God to change--not my circumstances--but me!  Make me the kind of woman who can claim with Paul that I have learned this secret of contentment.