Contentment has enemies. They prowl in the shadows, testing doors and windows, looking for any way in. And once they get their foot in the door, there is no peace, no sanctuary, no room for contentment until they’ve been banished.
You probably know them already, because they get around. They’re sisters, from one family, but each with a venom all her own. And together, they’re lethal.
Resentment, Disappointment, and Entitlement.
These other “ments,” they show up uninvited, barging in all a-bluster, and they wonder, did you see so-and-so’s photos from her recent trip, and haven’t you always wanted to go there? Oh, and did you hear what’s-his face’s exciting news? You would be perfectly suited for something like that! Then they pause in their enthusiastic accounts and glance around, as though suddenly aware of your pathetic lot. That’s when they slip a sympathetic arm around your shoulder and hiss their whispers.
It’s not fair.
You shouldn’t have to do this.
Your talents are being wasted.
This isn’t the way you expected things to be.
You deserve better.
They point out how everyone else’s lot is better than yours, and they magnify all your sacrifices, and you listen. You listen, and a seed of bitterness slips silently into a dark corner of your soul, where it swells and festers and leaks its poison, until the light that once seemed so clear grows dim. The music sounds flat. Life is too hard, too boring, too demanding, too something, and doesn’t God see? Doesn’t He know you can’t possibly be happy here?
God does see, and He knows. And when the time is right, He speaks in a way we will understand. Perhaps through a Bible verse, or a friend, or maybe a dream. Or perhaps, as He recently did with me, through a scene from Babe. (Yes, the movie about the talking pig. Emphasis on “way we will understand.”) It’s probably been at least fifteen years since I last saw it, and this particular side plot isn’t even crucial to the main story, but God plucked it from the archives of my brain, plugged it into my mental VCR (this is the nineties), and pressed play.
It goes like this. Farmer Hoggett meticulously crafts a gorgeous dollhouse for his granddaughter. He builds it with his own hands, paints it with his own hands, and lovingly appoints every detail, all with his own hands. All for her. But on Christmas morning, when she pulls away the gift wrap, she scrunches up her face, bursts into tears, and whines, “It’s not the one I saw on television!”
And then His voice.
I’m building you a house with My own hands. I’ve designed every detail just for you. When you refuse what I’m giving and want something else, you are that ungrateful child.
His voice is tender with affection, and I’m ashamed that I ever listened to resentment or disappointment or entitlement. Ashamed and amazed that I could crave empty or plastic or one-size-fits all, when the One who created me for His glory — the One who alone can give me true joy — lovingly labored over every beautiful and delicate detail of this life. And so I repent. My soul says, “yes” to Him, I hold out my hands to receive His gifts, and I lean, content, like the weaned child. The other “ments” — those selfish sisters — slink away. Oh, I know they’ll be back, but hopefully I’ll be ready. When they flash their fancy photos, I’ll show them my own.
It’s a picture of a house, made with my Lord’s own Hands, every detail meticulously planned, all with purpose. All for me.
And I’m happy here.
Giving thanks in community for (#353 – 363) :
first time to the gym since we moved
conviction of sin
sweet times with old friends
the mystery of faith