Either I’m maturing spiritually or else I’m just getting too old to care anymore. I’d like to think it’s the former.
This Christmas isn’t about the presents. The depressed economy is depressing our funds, which depresses our ability to purchase expensive gifts for our family. Of course, every year the supply of money never seems to be enough to purchase adequate gifts. I’ve always had some ridiculous, self-imposed minimum standard that must be spent on each family member. And each year, I would work feverishly, juggling bills to make sure I had enough cash available to purchase the appropriately expensive gifts.
This year, the cash just isn’t there. And you know what? I’m actually at peace about it. I’m not worried about it. I’m working on personal, thoughtful gifts, put together with love. And I didn’t even buy one single Christmas decoration. Not even the little doo-hickeys that the ornaments hang on. Not even gift tags. What I already have is sufficient. Handmade gift tags will do just fine.
I have always wrestled with being content. Always thought that it was up to me to do better, to get better, to have better. To describe me as competitive is a feeble understatement. I am my own biggest competition.
Nicer clothes. Better vehicle. Fancier home. Higher profile career. More expensive trinkets, food, hobbies. Aren’t we well trained to be discontent with what we have?
But Jesus has been making sure I hear the message on contentment this past year. A lot. Whether it was Pastor, Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore, or an article, devotion or blog I read – that same old contentment rhetoric seemed to be repeated everywhere I turned. Over and over. Hmmmmmm.
I may be slow, but I guess He deems me worth waiting on.
This is one of those mountains that I’ve been marching round and round, wearing a trench – who am I kidding? It’s a stinkin' moat, for crying out loud! – around the base. It’s high time I get this lesson under my belt and move on. Or else, I'll have to listen to that message a few more hundred times.
I’ve learned that God is pleased when we are content in whatever circumstance we find ourselves. And when we don’t appreciate what He’s already given us, He’s likely not interested in blessing us with more. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, pretend-contentment won’t work. God has the uncanny ability to see right through that junk.
So I’ve made the choice to be content. After a while, that choice is becoming habit. Eventually I won’t have to even think about it. Contentment will come as naturally to me as breathing.
This is God’s gift to me this Christmas. It’s been a long lesson that culminates in a particularly sweet kind of peace I’ve longed for all my life. The by-product of this gift is a wonderful release from anxiety and stress. Who knew that discontentment could be so tiring?
I’ve still got a lot of rough edges. Wonder what lesson He’s got planned for 2010?