Why is it, that something or someone we once treasured and valued can become trash and worthless to us? How can we value, love, and cherish something or someone and so quickly disregard it to be replaced by something or someone “better”?
I find this to be true in my own life. When Justin and I bought our house it truly was my dream home. We put a little money into a small kitchen re-facing as well as restoring the gorgeous original hardwood floors. I remember feeling like I couldn’t believe this was my home and that I would cherish it forever. Lately, I have found myself complaining over how my floors don’t match, how much I hate having carpet upstairs, how small the house is (now, I do have 4 girls so I am going to cut myself some slack on this one :) ), and how I want an open concept. This house I was once so extremely thankful for is becoming a burden rather than a treasure. Once Justin and I started discussing the possibility of remodeling, this thought process increased even more. This way of thinking, although not entirely bad (outgrowing the space with our growing family), can be very dangerous.
I find it interesting how I can start to feel this way and how quickly God brings reality back to my heart. I can take one drive through downtown Portland and my heart is broken over the homeless crisis; watch one video about Africa New Life Ministries serving Rwanda, and I am brought to tears by having so many pairs of shoes when these babies are praying for just one pair. I am convinced that, because we have so much “stuff” compared to those with very little to nothing, that in fact we are the ones that are poor and desperately seeking contentment and joy. They have only the Lord to lean on and we have clutter and junk blurring our sight line to Christ. This is an entirely different message all in its own.
For now I am going to stick to this idea of the once treasured places of our lives being tossed to the side. I see this outlook in so many different areas of people’s lives. I have watched relationships, marriages and families broken because of someone new. We believe this new person is going to make everything better and that its going to be different this time. I have seen how painful these situations are and my heart is broken for any person who has experienced this kind of pain. My hope always is for people to be encouraged, and possibly make a different choice if this is happening in your life. For us all to seek to be holy as opposed to simply being happy.
I believe that if we do not seek Jesus first in our lives and in our marriages/relationships we can so quickly give up on them. If we do not have deep roots that bind our hearts to Christ first, and our relationships second we are vulnerable to them being snatched away.
We see this type of stewardship towards church as well. We are invested and grateful for our church until we find a new church that we like better. We quickly begin to pick apart our church, gossip, find fault and tear down anything we can find that may not look as good as the new church. I do believe that the lord leads us to new churches, and I know that there are different seasons in our life. What I think we struggle with, is leaving with grace and love.
We see this in our lives in little things, like the way we treat old furniture in comparison to how we treated it when it was brand new. I always find it funny when I see discarded furniture on the side of the road, in the rain, with a sign that says “free. Growing up, if my siblings and I were fighting in the car, my dad would make us look out the window and “road shop” (I can still remember him saying it…lol) So, trust me, I love road shopping but I think you get my point.
I recently heard a pastor of a world-renowned church say it so perfectly. When he and his wife’s ministry first started to move they were put up in a beautiful hotel. He said they were just in awe of how perfect everything was. He went on to say that they had an amazing time and that they couldn’t believe that they were so blessed to stay there. Fast forward years, when he returned to this hotel and found himself with a very different attitude and perspective. He found himself complaining, irritated and un-appreciative of the hotel. He said that God grabbed ahold of him right then and there and reminded him of how it felt the first time that he stayed at this hotel. He said it rocked him to his core, that he could so easily forget what God had done in his life.
This is so easy for us to do, isn’t it? We think about the Israelites leaving Egypt and how shortly after they are rescued, God makes bitter water sweet, food fall from heaven, and parts a sea, for crying out loud, and yet they were convinced that they were better off in Egypt. Not only can we struggle with wanting something better or new but we can easily think backwards and desire what we once had. Even if what we had was causing us great harm.
Paul says it like this: I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. 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 all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4: 11-13
The truth is we ALL struggle with discontentment, being thankful, and this kind of stewardship towards people, our blessings, and God. We sometimes think just getting out of the situation will make everything better when the reality is, that if our hearts are not transformed by God nothing will ever satisfy us.
This world tells us we can always have something better but nothing in this world is better than the one who created you. When we begin to serve Jesus and people, what we find is peace and joy which gives life to contentment.
Trying to remain thankful for our home that brings so much comfort and joy!