Thursday, January 15, 2009

A very long journey and a very slow learner

I wrote this entry last week...
I know what is it to be in need, 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. Phil 4:12

Paul had truly found contentment….

Our weeks on the road have afforded me a great opportunity to think about contentment, what does it mean for me to be content? What do I really need? Given the limited space in the car, I had to limit my wardrobe, and found myself wearing the same things over and over, sometimes – gasp - even two days in a row! To make sure my shoes match my clothes – was not willing to give up the matching part just yet – I packed monochrome, but I still had to make some hard choice on which pairs to bring. As hard as it appeared when I packed, I never once missed the shoes I left behind, I always had something to wear, and since the choices were limited it was a breeze to get ready. Me having fewer clothes turned out to be a good thing, not a hardship.

We often had kitchen facilities in the places we stayed, and managed to eat well despite the minimal equipment and varying sizes of fridges. The cooler volume dictated how much food we could bring with us from place to place, which in reality meant very little. Our typical car lunch was 'this and that' left over along with simple sandwiches.

No trip to Minneapolis is 'truly complete' without a visit to the Mall of America. There are over 4.5 miles of store fronts, countless eateries and entertainment options for adults and children alike to keep everyone busy for days. After Christmas, we all headed out to get our fix. Bob, Lukas and Noah were off to the amusement park, and I had hours on hand to browse and shop. To sweeten the deal, I had Christmas money to spend. Well, it did not take me long to realize that I did not need anything, did not want anything, could not even find something that I wanted to buy with my 'free' money. I felt a complete sense of peace, and contentment. I was utterly content simply people watching, and wonder around in amazement looking at 'all the things we need' and therefore is for sale. I had to stop and praise God, thank Him for doing a great work in me, giving me peace and contentment amidst. I felt free and filled with joy.

Smugly I thought I had conquered contentment… .what was I thinking? I have never been a fast learner and this is a hard one. A few days here in Honduras and my level of contentment was dipping quickly, all the thoughts of being content in plenty and in want seemed to have vanished. How could I possibly be content with ….. and without….. My attitude took a deep dive south and it was not long before it affected my family.

Erin invited me to her Women's Group Bible study and I was happy to get away from it all. The study is currently held in Erin's home and the attendees are all American women living here in Honduras. This was the first time back from a holiday break, so there was much catching up to be done, and many concerns and trials shared openly and honestly. Erin popped in the DVD lesson and the speaker begins to talk about the "Three doors to Contentment!" Yes, I am in a Bible study about contentment, and that is clearly no accident or coincident, it is where I need to be, what I need to work on and continue to struggle through. Listening to the lesson, hearing the women's real and candid prayer concerns made me once again realize what contentment is all about, and where to find it. Not in things, not in comforts, but in God and His Word. I left the study with a heart that was not fully content, will I ever be?, but clearly redirected from my earlier malcontent and back on track again. I can now see that have began the journey, and that the journey is long, but I am willing and God is good!

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