I am thankful that I can be open and honest about things that I'm struggling with because let's face it, we all have our issues and short comings. I was honest and told the girls that I've really been having struggles with contentment. I know this will be a struggle for me my entire life but I am determined to work on it and can see that God is showing me areas in my life that MUST change. For example, He has provided for Ben and I in SO many ways and when we were newly married and living in Austin I was waking up in the middle of the night having anxiety/panic attacks about our financial situation and He really stretched me spiritually and showed me that I had to TRUST Him in all things and all circumstances. He brought us through and although we are still on an uphill climb, our perspective has completely changed about money, how it's spent, saved, etc. and just about what's important in life in general. However, I still battle materialism, entitlement (delayed gratification isn't a term I like very much!), and such on a daily basis. When we were in our rent house, I'd make jokes about bad things about it and how much better things will be when we got in our new house. We just moved in this past weekend and I already find myself thinking "wow, it's smaller than I thought", "gosh there are so many dated things I need to change like these gold brass light fixtures" and the list goes on and on. I'm not saying I haven't been excited about this home and that I haven't noticed some of the amazing things about it, including the fabulous paint job that my parents and Ben did as they painted almost every room in the house! I just recognize that these negative thoughts that are creeping in are robbing me of the joy God wants me to experience. This is our first home that Ben and I have ever owned, the home we will watch our sweet baby girl grow in, and it's WONDERFUL! I am so blessed so why do I start saying or thinking negative things about the amazing gifts God has given me? As one friend said, we are always trying to fill a void in ourselves with (fill in the blank) thinking that it will make us happy and when it doesn't bring true happiness or fulfillment, we pick something else. It's a never ending cycle and as long as I'm putting my joy and happiness in things I will never feel satisfied or content. I know in my heart what's important in my life...my relationship with God and others. No one that I truly care about cares about the size of my house, the kind of car I drive, the type of clothes I wear, etc. but yet society constantly is telling us to have the best of the best of everything and we'll be happy. It's such a lie and I share this struggle with you openly because I want to be held accountable. I want to be reminded of what truly matters. I'm not saying nice things are bad to have because they aren't, it's just when we put our sense of worth or identity in the things we have or don't have, we can never be truly content or at peace.
My last paycheck comes in July and things will get VERY tight financially as we begin this journey on one income and I know God will continue to stretch my faith and help me grow in the knowledge of what truly matters. I know this precious daughter will help me be mindful of what my priorities are and help me stay focused when times are tough. Hopefully I can find a part-time job in a few months but if I can't we will make it work just on one income for the time being. When I start to think "if I had _______" then I'd be happy or life would be easier, I want to remember that there are people who are happy with a lot less than I have. I mean, I've been on mission trips to Guatemala and seen people living in mud huts. Seriously, why do I struggle so much? I feel guilt for that but then I realize, I am human and I have struggles, sin, and so on. I want the conviction I feel to help change my thoughts and actions because I'm way too blessed to let this negative junk steal my JOY! We all have our battles. If you can relate to what I've shared and have any tips that have helped you please share!
When Ben and I made the decision that I would quit teaching for a period of time and I was really nervous about the unknown, a sweet friend reminded me that God will provide for our needs not necessarily all of our wants. I am so thankful to have people in my life that God uses to help challenge me to be a better person while still loving and accepting me just as I am.
Thank you to my sweet community group for the delicious cupcakes, gift, and most importantly GREAT conversation and laughter! Neely, we will have to take another pic with you in it the next time we are all together! :)