I don’t want to be writing this blog post right now.  Don’t get me wrong, I love, love, love you for being a reader, caring about my life, and stroking my creative ego… but God has been working on me this morning about writing this post and I’m wrestling with him.  

I have to write this post… I can’t get away from it…  I turn to the piles of laundry and I want to scowl at them–they’re never satisfied, always wanting to be cleaned, folded, and put away, only to be dirtied again–and they call out, “be content, be grateful, we keep you warm in the cold!”.  I turn to my kids’ messy rooms and disgust bubbles in my gut to push up a growl, but the action figures and Barbie dolls interrupt me crying, “be content, be grateful, we belong to the children you love. The children you prayed for!”.  There is simply not enough space for our family of five in this three bedroom townhouse– I want to move to a place with bigger rooms, updated appliances, and an actual dining room–not an eat in kitchen. In the middle of my daydreaming,  the Spirit of the Lord whispers, “be content, be grateful, seven years ago you were homeless from the Storm and I gave this home to you.” 

So I’m wrestling with God about being thankful but more accurately… being content.  

I’ve always thought of contentment as the Christian’s way of settling. As if saying you’re content with your circumstances takes the sting off wanting, just like saying you’re “too blessed to be stressed” takes the sting off suffering, or proclaiming jauntily” God is a good… all the time!  All the time… God is good!” sugar coats the reality that there is very real evil in this word. A good sentiment.  Pretty wrapping paper on a broken toy.  

The more I meditate on contentment though, the more I realize it’s more than a bible-based platitude, it’s a Spirit-breathed attitude.  

I’m reminded of Paul in jail writing to the Philippians telling them he’s found the secret to being content!  

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.   I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:11-13

This passage totally turns the “contentment is glossed over settling” concept on its head.  Contentment is not clinging to a circumstance or concept, but clinging to Christ. 

Again, I know… cliche.  But it comforts me.  You see, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if a storm were to hit us tomorrow (and it nearly did last month) that we will be ok.  We’ll be provided for and we’ll come out stronger than before.  Why?  Because of God’s unchanging, everlasting faithfulness to his children. I’ve experienced trusting him when all seemed lost and then watching him come through for us when we evacuated New Orleans because of Hurricane Katrina.   

He is good and he is faithful and he is all that I need. Living daily with that in mind allows me to interact with frustrations with hope and a little bit of humor.  I can laugh like my girl, Prov. 31 at the days to come because I know that Jesus will be with me, every moment of every day.  He is everything I’ll ever need. 

So, what would Paul like, godly contentment look like for me in this season of too much stuff, too little space?  Well… I’ve taken the advice of one of my mentors and re-written the passage as if it was intended for me at this very moment.  

 Ladies and gentleman I give you Philippians 4:11-13 FHMV (Frazzled Homemaker Version)

I’m not saying this because I want you to throw me a pity party  (and frankly don’t have the energy to clean that up right now),  but I have learned to be content whatever the circumstance ( no matter how disorganized, shabbily designed, or tiny I perceive my house to be) .  I know what it is to have laundry spilling out of the hampers and I know what it’s like to have all my bins organized with Martha Stewart’s pretty off white labels.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, (and I didn’t have to buy it on sale at Target!),  whether we eat cereal and grapes for dinner, or I pull off a beautiful four course meal. Whether we get that place in Roxbury with three bedrooms, two bathroom, a mudroom (gasp) and stainless steel or we’re in this cozy three bedroom apartment with a broken washing machine for a few more years.  I can do all this through him who give me strength (and mad organizing inspiration…seriously he spoke order from chaos, he can help me speak order to  this homestead chaos).

This Thanksgiving I’m clinging.  Not to my expectations or comfort, but to my powerful, resourceful, and wise God.  I’m thankful that he is unchanging in his perfect character–everlasting in his great love. I’m thankful for the Holy Spirit that will give me the grace to be content.  I’m thankful for his patience to wrestle with this frazzled homemaker.

And there’s nothing cliche about that

Clinging to Christ,