Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.
That is my desire, that the things of this earth - fancy clothes, a big house, a shiny, new car...the newest, biggest, and best of everything, would have no appeal to me...become strangely dim, in the bright, shining light of His glory and grace.
But feeling that way doesn't come naturally and it isn't easy.
Contentment has become easier for me over the years as my understanding and trust in God has deepened, but I still struggle with it at times. My most recent bout with discontentment was in regards to our home. I got stuck in the muck of wanting a bigger home with more storage, more character, nicer landscaping, and just better.
I realized my discontentment and I knew it wasn't the mindset that I should have. I thought about what I had read in One Thousand Gifts...
While thinking about Erasmus' quote, "A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit," Ann noted "I look down at the pen, this pen I keep wielding, one writing her way all the way to one thousand. This pen: this is nothing less than the driving of nails. Nails driving out my habits of discontent and driving in my habit of eucharisteo."
"Feel thanks and it's absolutely impossible to feel [discontent]. We can only experience one emotion at a time. And we get to choose - which emotion do we want to feel?" -Ann Voskamp
So I began to counter the feelings of discontentment with the truth of how richly God has blessed us. I took my gratitude journal off of the kitchen counter, warmed up the black ball-point pen, and began writing the gifts I needed to re-open:
390. Our home allows us enough margin financially so I can stay home with Addison. We will never move to a bigger home if it means I must go back to work full-time.
391. We have a HUGE, quiet backyard that Addison and Ellie (our dog) love to play in!
392. I can go on our back porch in my bathrobe and no one can see me.
393. We have met very nice neighbors.
394. The neighborhood playground, tennis courts, and pool are within a short walking distance from our home - so thankful for these!
395. We have completed many projects to make our home nicer and we continue to dream of even more improvements we can make.
396. We've made more memories within these walls than I could ever remember. Our house has become a home.
397. Everything works and nothing is broken.
398. We have the perfect spot for the Christmas tree.
399. We always have warm, running water, a cool place in the summer, a warm place in the winter, and a dry place in the rain.
400. Our home is welcoming.
401. Our home is clean, fresh, alive, and the rooms are spacious.
From there, I went to God's Word and let His words sink in deep:
Philippians 4:12-13 - "for 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. I can do everything through him who gives me strength."
Hebrews 13:5 - "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have"
1 Timothy 6:6 - "But godliness with contentment is great gain."
This little sign in our guest bathroom caught my attention...
I bought this while I was in college. It was on sale and I liked the colors. Since getting married, it has hung in our guest bathroom. It wasn't until recently that I even noticed it or re-read the words. "Blessings...Be sure to count them." Yes! What a powerful reminder this was as it was hanging on the very wall of my home. A reminder to focus on God and not the things of this world.