The dust, both literally from all those furniture parts and figuratively from all these miles traveled, is beginning to settle. As we move into a routine more and begin to figure out the new life we have here in this place, I've been surprised at how much dust is still floating around in my heart. Sometimes I just about choke on it in the most unexpected places.
One of the patterns I'm noticing is discontent. Part of this is my re-entry into life in the consumer-culture of the western world. I didn't realize how much it would impact me to be surrounded continually by "more." It plays itself out in some really subtle ways, and I occasionally feel like I'm living in a re-written Screwtape Letters. (Side note: If you've never read that tiny but powerful post entitled A Screwtape Letter For The Unappreciated Mom…link up….like a cut to the heart, in such a good way.)
There are tiny strands running all through my mind right now that when I take them out, put them on the table and get out the microscope -- they are teeming with discontent. Wanting what I don't have. It's not just stuff either. It's not living fully the life I've been given, but thinking up the life I might live if this happens…or that happens. Wondering if I had a little more time or creativity or money or personality if I'd be able to keep up a bit better with everyone else. Comparing myself, my house, my clothes, my effectiveness to some vague standard gathered by glimpses into lives that are not mine.
Let's note something here. I like my life. If we sat down and had a conversation about where our family is at right now, I'd probably brim over with tears. I'd tell you how unbelievably grateful I am that we get to do what we do, live where we live, parent the kids we parent, and that I crawl into bed every night with a man that I not only love and respect, but whose friendship is kind, rich and good. The discontent isn't about actual circumstances. It's about my heart.
It's a choice to "want"what I have and name that out loud. Calling those dusty thoughts what they are - discontent - is helping me. Thanksgiving, however cliche, is reminding me to take the focus of the perceived lack, and onto the extravagance of the Giver. It re-orients my heart to speak thanks with my lips. Godliness with contentment is great gain.
This week, when you are gathered around the table, putting out your little box of decorations, remembering how non-pinterest you are…resist the temptation to listen to the whispers of what is not. Give thanks for what you have. Give glory to God with the gifts He gave to you. Embrace the story that God is writing, these days are tiny threads He is weaving into His glorious epic. He has given us everything we need for life and godliness in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In everything, give thanks.
In everything, give thanks.