Monday, June 24, 2013

Matthew 8 & Contentment

I have to make a confession and to some of you it may sound rather strange since the lifestyle I live here on a hobby farm is the life you have always dream about. You see, unlike most people I don't like feeling settled when it comes to my home environment. Maybe it's the Bohemian blood in me that makes me this way, but a life on a hobby farm was not even on my bucket list when visions of an ideal life made their way through my head. For me home is just as much of an attitude as a place as where I wake up from each morning. And, in keeping with this vagabond attitude towards life, I have realized I also have a hard time attaching to things, even if they have sentimental value. Truly, I am not sure why God designed me this way (fortunately my husband is the same way too, except for the sentimental part). And while knowing these things about myself and my husband, I am not sure why He felt the need to put our family on a hobby farm where we are daily tied down to animals and necessary chores. Although, someday I am expecting to get an aha moment when God finally does choose to reveal that part of the story He is working out in our lives, but until then I feel like I am in this constant fight to find contentment while doing the same things over and over again each day in the same place.

Don't get me wrong though about how thankful I am for the lifestyle God has given our family here in the country and all of the wonderful lessons we have learned during these short 4 years that we have been here. I am very grateful for all of those things especially since these lessons have taken place during the most formative years of our children's lives. We have learned to eat and cook in much more healthy ways and realized how much repair work our bodies needed from good nutritious food. We have learned to accept death as a part of the cycle of life and not just a tragedy that our previous isolation from it in the city deceived us into believing. (On the farm death is seen all of the time as there are animal babies who do not make it, other animals killed by predators, predators that need to be killed by us, and of course animals that are butchered so we can eat meat.) We have also learned the value of good food as we have worked tirelessly to grow it in our own gardens and made it from our own healthy animals. And of course there are the day in and day out chores that are anything but glamorous. From loading hay into the barn on scorching hot days nights to milking in negative Fahrenheit degree weather, these are the lessons that truly makes one hearty.

After finishing Matthew 8 last week, and thinking about my heart's desire to not be in such a settled lifestyle for much longer, I was struck by these two men in the chapter who were willing to follow Jesus and yet how Jesus responded to their desires. It almost made me think that the Spirit was working in them to take on a calling that was contrary to their nature also, but were they willing to pay the price?

Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, 'Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.' And Jesus said to him, 'Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.' Then another of His disciples said to Him, 'Lord, let me first go and bury my father.' But Jesus said to him, 'Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.'” Matthew 8: 18-22

Jesus had to know, were each of these men willing to pay the price to leave behind all they had so they could come and follow Him, wherever He went. Or, did just the thought of taking off and being one of His disciples sound like such a grand adventure that they could not take the chance of missing out on the opportunity before them. As I was thinking about this I realized that maybe this adventurous spirit in me makes me think the same way when it comes to looking around at what is going on around here and then dreaming about how I can start out on my next adventure with Jesus.

There is a lot of wisdom in the adage which say, “Bloom where you are planted.” But so often those of us who do not like growing our roots too deep find it difficult to dig down and get settled while in the back of our minds we are really just hoping for the next transplant. For now we are still on our farm and have no plans to move any time soon. And while I am here, I am venturing out to learn new things each day as my schedule affords me to do so – things as a wife, mother, hobby farmer, cook, teacher, lecturer, blogger, etc. Also, I am making sure my kids do not miss the opportunities they have before them either as I know God has planned out each unique circumstance and encounter to prepare them for their future callings. But all that said, there is a peaceful and patient voice that whispers to my longings and comforts my vagabond spirit when those times come where I feel I can't be held down another day. That voice ultimately reminds me this world is not my home and it speaks to me be about a forever home which beckons longings from the core of my existence where my heart will find satisfaction beyond where my mind could even dream possible. Heaven is that place where all real contentment will finally be found and where none of us will have the desire to yearn for anything else than what we have. We will finally find contentment in each moment within the moments that will exist without end.

Maybe for you there are other things in your life that steal away your contentment and it has nothing to do with where you live and the adventures you feel you are missing out on, but rather another longing in your heart. Know this truth though when that discontentment strikes you: If God is holding you back from any desire, He has a purpose built into that waiting time for you. Rest assured that feeling like you want to leave your places of discontentment behind is not wrong as long as you are willing to look past the minor discomforts of your current life and are willing to see the greater lessons God planned for you in them AND see Him as the one you need to grow closer to while experiencing them. One day I promise we will all look back on these times and realize just how necessary they were in making us long for the perfection of heaven while at the same time allowing us to let go of the ties we had to this earth and all of the temptations we had placed before us to love it more than to love the Lord.

So, here is to today, tomorrow, and the countless tomorrows yet to come. Days filled with unknowns, but also dictated by the God who reigns on high and who knows us and loves us too much to allow anything to come into our lives that would harm any of us from living with Him forever in heaven. Will you approach each day with faith? If so, then I will be glad to join you on the journey that Jesus promises will lead us through Him into heaven on faith alone.

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