Saturday, June 23, 2007

Can I get an AMEN!?

"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it." 1 Timothy 6:6-7 (NIV)

I was talking to a friend last night (in order to protect the innocent from association with my blog we'll just call her Friend A) about another friend (Friend B of course) and how Friend A thinks that Friend B looks up to me or maybe even is a little bit jealous of me. This sounded very improbable to me since in addition to having a family (which is about the only Earthly thing I have) Friend B has a new car, a college degree, her own home, lots of things that I know are very important to her that I don't have. I listened patiently (as patiently as I know how; I once even let 10 seconds worth of silence go by without breaking in) as Friend A and Hubby (who totally understood where she was coming from) tried to explain to me that it is because I am happy and have what I want in life even if it's not the same as what Friend B's has. While I think that Friend A and Hubby were on the right track, after thinking it through this morning, I think that they weren't quite putting the whole puzzle together for me. I mean, I don't care if a person is the absolute happiest person in the whole world! If they don't have a family there is no way that I'm going to envy them even if they have everything else a person could have (and I am seriously prone to jealousy!) because a family is what is important to me. I don't think that Friend B could envy me for the things I have when I don't even have the things that are important to her.
I think perhaps that what I have that she wants (even though she doesn't realize it) is true contentment. And I'm no expert but I think that true contentment is can only come from God. I KNOW that in my case, it is from Him alone! Here's an example. A few years ago I was going through a time of wanting my own home SO badly. I was definitely coveting but I don't think that adequately describes how I felt. I wanted it so bad I could TASTE it, so to speak. I had been working toward it for a long time and out of the blue a friend of mine called me to tell me that she'd bought a house (and she had not been working towards it the way I had). When I heard the news, it made me physically sick. The bitterness I felt was like poison. So I avoided her. And avoided and avoided until I couldn't avoid anymore. The time came when I had to go see the house. I didn't know how on Earth I was going to be able to walk into that house and be happy for her when the very thought still made my stomach sink. Well, the day came and as I was driving to her house I was hoping so hard that the road would take me into a city, would take me to a house that was nice but not at all what I would want, so that maybe I could somehow be happy for her. I was also praying. The entire drive I never stopped. It's a good thing too because the road was taking me out into the breathtakingly gorgeous countryside. I was praying over and over for God to take my envy away but as I pulled up to my dream house, it was still sitting like a lump in my stomach. I walked into my friends amazing new house and the envy suddenly disappeared. She gave me a tour and I was able to sincerely compliment her home without even the threat of tears. If I have ever witnessed a miracle, that was it!
All this is not to say that I'm perfect or that I never get jealous anymore. Like I said, it is something that has always been a big struggle for me. In fact, right now we are in the process of trying to buy a house and I have been praying all morning because I'm having a really hard time not obsessing (please pray for me!). I guess what I'm saying though is that it makes all the difference in the world to know that I can be happy with what I have no matter how little it is, if I will just give it to God. True contentment is GOD-GIVEN and I am SO BLESSED to have a God who will give it to me when I ask!
Anyway, I hope you were blessed by my little foray into theology today.
Even if you weren't I know I really needed the reminder!
Have a wonderful weekend!