Monday, October 7, 2013

Everybody Gives Up Something

My husband works hard at his job. He works hard at church. And you know what he does with his free time? He spends it with his wife and children. 

Micah's metabolic doctor works long, stressful hours at his job. I know. He's called us when he was on vacation to check on Micah when he was sick. 

Everybody gives up something to do what they do. Everybody. And I'm getting a little tired of this "poor mom" mentality that permeates our society. I find myself guilty of it too. All the moaning, "oh, I can't. I have to stay home with the kids. Spend that money on the kids. Sacrifice my dreams for the kids." So what's a person to do? Go to the Bible, of course. 
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. Philippians 4:11-12
I've always looked at these verses in the light of material possessions or money. But what if I look at them as speaking to my actual state in life. That's what it says after all. It doesn't say "for I have learned, with however much money I have, therewith to be content."
State: Condition; the circumstances of a being or thing at any given time. These circumstances may be internal, constitutional or peculiar to the being, or they may have relation to other beings. (Websters 1828 Dictionary) 
So our state is our circumstances, internal or external. This is marital status, physical location, education, burdens, opportunities, stresses, height, employment, etc.  Every state has its positives and negatives but our response is supposed to be contentment. 

First a few notes about contentment. 
-Content- "Literally, held, contained within limits; hence, quiet; not disturbed; having a mind at peace; easy; satisfied, so as not to repine, object, or oppose." (Webster's 1828)
A. Contentment is learned. (See above verses.) It goes against the natural man to be content. We are not born this way. 
B. Contentment brings good to our lives. 1 Timothy 6:6 states: "But godliness with contentment is great gain." 
C. Contentment alone is not enough. We could be very content to be living in our sin. That's why we need godliness as well. 
D. Contentment is based on very little. 1 Timothy 6:8 says, "And having food and raiment let us therewith be content."  Food and clothes. That's all. 

Maybe we have to be hungry in some areas to appreciate fullness later. Hungry for friendship, hungry for quiet, hungry for God, hungry for growth. 

Maybe we have to be content with fullness. Maybe we are abounding with money, opportunities, free time. But Paul said he had to learn to be content even in fullness. Fullness does not equal contentment. 

Being a mom means I have said "no" to many things: alone time, uninterrupted sleep, freedom of schedule. Motherhood means I skip activities and opportunities for naptime and putting babies in bed, for runny noses and fevers. I may lay aside abilities and skills for a season to train and teach these little ones.

Motherhood also means I am full of other things: laundry and dishes, dirty diapers and discipline. I am abounding in hugs and little boys smiles, Dr. Suess and playing with fall leaves. 

Everybody gives up something to do what they do. Every "yes" means many "no's." We are limited beings. We are limited by time, ability, health. Even if we feel we have not chosen our yes's and no's, God has. We aren't here to chase our dreams; we are here to fulfill God's purposes. 

Everybody gives up something to do what they do. It's not just moms that lay aside themselves. And let's please remember that the next time we want to complain about our difficulties. Many would love to be in our shoes in exchange for small arms hugging their necks at bedtime. Let's not have a "poor mom" mentality like we are slaves to the universe and nobody has it as tough as we do. I know people who work almost around the clock working a job and going to school. People who are spending their time caring for elderly parents. Friends who work on the mission field far from family and friends with few physical comforts. 

Do you find yourself lacking contentment? Are you holding onto your dreams or desires instead of surrendering to what God has for you? Are you choosing the eternal or the temporal? A lack of contentment will steal your joy. It will rob you of the blessings of this season of life. And when you get what you want- you will be no happier. 

This season of mothering will pass. Some of the "no's" will go away but so will many rich blessings. Let's please not pity ourselves for the many blessings that God has bestowed on us. Instead let's practice contentment in whatever state- fullness, abasement, or neediness- we find ourselves. 

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