So I’ve often wondered if my drive to experience new adventures and meet strangers in various cultures is really a lack of contentment. I’m not supposed to be complacent. Why then does it feel that if we wrestle with where God has us that we are immediately labeled as discontent? Is it the word wrestle? It is in sorrow and contemplation that our faith stretches, matures, and overflows to impact those we encounter.
Frank does well with being at home, even living in the same place for years. I’m not that way. Perhaps it was the constant moving around as a child, but I thrive off change. Although, could my desire to move around be a fear of vulnerability and opening up to people? I don’t know. I tend to doubt that. I’m usually pretty open about struggles in my life. Sometimes I might even be too open. I mean I’m writing a public blog about my miscarriage and the array of feelings I’m experiencing. Is that even wise? Then again, our testimony is meant to be shared right?
I just have never really felt at home in New Jersey. My roots are heaven bound, of course, and so any place on earth will never truly be home. However, there are states that I’ve felt more comfortable in. The South moves at a snail’s pace but their hospitality resonates with me. An individual is also able to sustain living down there. New Jersey is so overpriced. I’m a debt free chemist and so I make decent money. I definitely have my daily bread. Yet taxes are a rent payment alone. How can I afford to pursue a dream of being a mother in the home here? Then again, is that what God has intended for me? Is it a lack of trusting his provision and his will? Oh the questions that plague humanity. We say that if we had certainty of the future we’d be less worried. I think there is uncertainty to maintain the mystery of God, the awestruck wonder of his timeliness.
Jacob was challenged with uncertainty too. Jacob deceived his father, Isaac, into thinking he, Jacob, was Esau, Jacob’s older brother, to obtain the birthright. He didn’t trust God’s provision in that moment. He would move as God commanded but kept trying to take the reins of outcome. It wasn’t until Jacob wrestled with God, God changed his name to Israel, and Israel limped the rest of his days that he fathered twelve tribes. In limping he fulfilled God’s will.
What would my limping look like? Does it mean staying in New Jersey? If so, does that mean I need to be complacent to be content. They seem contradictory. Settling into a routine feels like complacency to me. Perhaps complacency is not taking advantage of opportunities to share the gospel because we are comfortable in ourselves more than it is keeping to a schedule. Maybe the mere fact that Jersey makes me uncomfortable is why he’s kept me here.
I guess that while I’m here I might as well enjoy the ride. I need to be intentional about contentment. How might we attain such intentionality?
1) Prayer and daily fellowship with Christ through his Word, sometimes just letting the Holy Spirit groan when we can’t muster energy to cohesively utter the feelings in our souls
2) Gather with friends and family over hearty meals; Community
3) Become a tourist in your town and see what sites the town has to offer. (For NJ residents, here is a web address with attraction ideas:
4) In everything, practice eucharisteo—thanking God you even drew a breath and noticing beauty in the mundane. (Read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp; If you are like Frank and her writing seems geared toward an audience with a poetic heart, have your friend or spouse Spark Notes the book’s plot. However, be sure to begin your own list of gratitude.)