The Color of September::Content and Grateful...


{Introduction - Although you are welcome to use my living in yellow list, please know that I wrote it for me. I share a few truths and thoughts not that I think you need them, but that I need them, and writing about them helps me do just that. Part 1, Part 2 }

We buy a new home with inflation-high interest rates, and then I resign from a profitable career in nursing  - with a salary greater than my husband's and perks that include a car. It makes no sense, but we believe it's what God is calling us to do - for me to stay home with the three boys - so we step out on a limb and pray a storm won't bring it {and our little family} down.

It's obvious we need to make major changes in our spending habits, but what I don't know is that the more significant adjustments will be made in me - to remove self-centered and envious desires that had been taking root in a season of prosperity.  And it won't be easy.


Over twenty-five years later, the exact timeline of these events escapes me, but it wasn't long after I exchange my successful and satisfying career for stay-at-home-mothering that we also make huge changes in our giving habits - replacing a token offering with tithing our gross income.

That limb we stepped out on looked more vulnerable than ever, and as I try to reconcile the bank balance with our income, my lack of faith and contentment is revealed when I begin to consider not tithing so that we have more money for ourselves. 


It's not like we really need the money. It never works out on paper, but the limb doesn't break, no matter the storm. We pay our bills on time, and clothe and feed our family. Our healthcare needs are met. We have air-conditioning and a television, and I'm home with the children, but I'm not grateful and content - even with more than enough...and Louis insists we continue tithing. 

I don't remember how long I wrestle with this envy and heart-sickness, but I know that it was too long and miserable, and I remember confessing and asking God to please remove it and to give me a joy and contentment that could only come from Him...and when things aren't enough, grace is abundant, and in His kindness, He does indeed lead me to the contented, grateful life I long to live. 
I am wired by nature to love the same toys that the world loves. I start to fit in. I start to love what others love. I start to call earth "home." Before you know it, I am calling luxeries "needs" and using my money just the way unbelievers do. I begin to forget the war. I don't think much about people perishing. Missions and unreached people drop out of my mind. I stop dreaming about the triumphs of grace. I sink into a secular mind-set that looks first to what man can do, not what God can do. It is a terrible sickness. And I thank God for those who have forced me again and again toward a wartime mind-set.  ~ John Piper, Don't Waste Your Life
So why, in this season of life, though we have more disposable income than in those years we struggled, would I want to risk discontentment by changing our lifestyle to reflect that increase? The temptation certainly exists - to consider satisfying our desires for the same toys that the world loves. But I've been there, done that, and I've discovered the greater contentment of been satisfied in what the Lord provides {and sometimes it's one of those toys} and the joy of giving the increase away. 

And you? Have you ever experienced the misery of discontentment and envy?