When I originally wrote this with pen and paper, I was curled up on my couch in my basement apartment with my dog’s head on my feet while the soft patter of rain and rumble of thunder from a summer thunderstorm was heard outside. I brought my hammock chair in earlier, just in time. I just finished reading some more chapters from Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living. Even though I have felt deeply frustrated, impatient, wounded, and shocked at various times over events in my life recently, I want to live my life abundantly. I want to thrive right where I am. I want to enjoy life. It is easier to do, perhaps, in the season of quiet when preschool is on summer break and my home health care jobs have not given me any work at the moment. When all I have to tend to is my early intervention job, my pets, my house, and me.
Even though I have grown up in a church community that emphasized simplicity, I find that I still have to fight the consumer brainwashing that pervades the US culture. I have to say “no” to wanting more things. As I read books and blogs, talk with people, move, and live my life, I feel increasingly drawn to say “no” so that I can carefully and joyfully say “yes” to things that will enhance my life. I say “no” to purchases in order to live within my means. I strive to responsibly steward my finances yet hold them in an open hand as I recognize that they truly belong to God. I desire to be a joyful giver. I want to freely worship the Lord by giving what He says, to whom He says, when He says.
I say “no” to cable TV, and now Netflix at times, so that I can say “yes” to writing, cross-stitching, reading, or sitting in my hammock chair simply enjoying time with God. I say “no” to traveling to family three hours away at times so that I can say “yes” to resting and to life where I currently reside.
I want to live mindfully, intentionally. I want to live with enjoyment of the things I have and the experiences available to me. I want to be happy. And I am. I want to be joyful. And I am learning to cultivate joy in my spirit. Joy is deeper than happiness but I think contentment is deeper than joy. And I am choosing contentment more and more in my life. Contentment seems to be a firm foundation I can build on and can anchor me when storms of emotions hit. I still have deep desires and longings to be married and to have children. I still get impatient for these to be fulfilled. However, I have learned on a deeper level how to be the disciple of Christ that I was created to be regardless of my relationship status. I am learning how to be content in all things. Learning contentment is one way, I think, that I am learning to delight myself in the Lord.
Jesus came to give us life and life abundantly. (John 10:10) Casting Crowns has a song called “Thrive” which talks about us being made to thrive. Some seasons and places have been so easy to thrive in. For me, two of those places were at the William Penn House (a Quaker hostel) in Washington, D.C. and Harrisonburg, Virginia. Other times and places have been harder. Graduate school in Las Cruces, New Mexico was very much a time in the desert and wilderness for me in so many ways. Yet I found contentment, provision, daily bread, and blessings there.
So I am choosing to be content. Content with where God has me right now, so that I can have abundant life. I am saying “no” to some things so that I can say ‘yes” to other things. I am choosing to thrive just how God created me to.
How are you thriving, friend? Are you living an abundant life with God?
(The post contains affiliate links. If you use them, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. This is the hammock chair I have and I love it!)