My daughter, Betsy, a pastor's wife and mother of three, enjoys blogging for close friends and family. Her writing is insightful and uplifting, so I asked her if I could post some of her material. She agreed, so here is the first post.
Proverbs 14:30 A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.
A while back my Dad went through Proverbs during the Wednesday night service at church. Since I teach the youth class on Wednesday nights I was rarely able to hear any of it. But I often thought back on the few times that I did have the fortune of sitting in on these studies. I decided that since I couldn't always be there for the adult service that I would go through Proverbs myself. It is much slower doing it myself since I don't have the Bible experience of my Dad, but it has been a good challenge.
Proverbs 14:30 hit a chord with me and I think about it often. It's one of my 'go to' verses... along with Proverbs 17:22, Zephaniah 3:17, Romans 8:38-39 and a few others. It fits in well with where I find joy, so I thought I'd blog about it in hopes of helping y'all gain a better understanding of why I've been blogging on joy.
Being an adult means a lot of different things beyond simply turning of age. I am acquainted with many people who fit the technical definition of adult but who are rather childish. Part of truly being an adult is coming to a place of contentment. Don't confuse contentment with complacency. I don't mean that you ought be so smug to believe you should no longer strive to better yourself, your family or your situation. I simply mean to be fulfilled with what you have and the situation you are in. The situation in which God has placed you. And then thank that God for the blessings He brings your way.
We all have those friends and co-workers who are never happy with what they have. They are forever looking at what they could have or what they want to have. Or what someone else has. And wonder why they don't get whatever so and so has. It can be painful to listen to constant complaint of this sort.
My kids are like this. They see a child playing with a toy and declare that they, themselves, MUST have the same toy. Explaining to them why they can't have every toy that every other child has can be a challenge. But they are children, after all, and don't have the life experience and know how to understand budgets and bills, etc. Nora is just now grasping the concept of 'too expensive'.
But, as adults, we should be beyond these sorts of complaints. We have what we have and we don't have what we don't have. Get over it. Sounds rather harsh, I guess.
Part of my desire to look for joy this year stems from the notion of contentment. God convicts each of us differently and this is one thing He has continued to convict me with. I seem to have this theme often running through my mind-- being content with my own side and not desirous of the proverbial greener side. I am convinced that it continuously runs through my mind because God put it there*. When I begin to wish that I had this or that (my this or that presently being the Nook color) to the extreme of jealousy, thoughts of being content with what I've been given pop into my head. They pop into my head so quickly that I am instantly ashamed of my non-contentment and try to remind myself of what I have been blessed with. I may not have a Nook color but I do have this handy netbook. And I thank God for the monetary blessings of being able to have afforded it. :) And, while I'd rather have bought a Ford Flex than a minivan, I'm truly grateful for this minivan and the kind God who allowed an intervention so that we could afford it.
Thank you, God, for this conviction. Going through life believing that I don't have what I ought to have would be the very opposite of a joyful life. It would be a most miserable life to live.
So, I do my utmost to joyfully remember what we have been given. And joyfully congratulate those who might have been given something more. God blesses us each in different, unique ways after all.
*I do not mean to say that God is speaking to me directly... I believe it's a conviction He laid on my mind. Only God can do that. Only He can speak without really speaking. I only add this part about convictions so that no one thinks that I think that I am so good a person as to constantly remind myself to be content. No, that is not the case at all. It has nothing to do with me. Only by His gracious conviction am I am able to avoid a discontented life and find joy in what I have been given. Only by His grace am I allowed to quickly pull myself out of a despondent 'wish I had that' mood and remember my own blessings.
That was a lot longer than I intended it to be! But I shouldn't be too surprised... I am the daughter of a Baptist preacher, after all!