Tea Time for Moms
Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. Psalm 16:5
I have just begun a new Bible study entitled Calm My Anxious Heart, by Linda Dillow. What a blessing it has been to me! I wanted to take just a moment to share some of her insight with you.
The author begins by contrasting two women, each with an entirely different perspective on life. One is extremely negative despite her many blessings. The other, Ella, is completely content despite her seemingly meager existence. What is the difference? How can two people view the world in such vastly different ways? The answer lies in their focus. The first woman, instead of focusing on what she did have, was continually focusing on what she did not. In contrast, Ella knew where her focus should be. She had an eternal, heavenly perspective. When we have God's perspective, we view our lives and evaluate what is important from His viewpoint. (1)*
Ella's grasp on contentment rivals that of Paul found in Philippians chapter 4. Paul had been beaten, imprisoned and deserted and yet he could say he had learned to be content whatever the circumstances! Wow! Ella too lived what we would call a difficult life in comparison to most. A missionary to Africa, she lived without the amenities we take for granted. The key to their contentment is their focus. True contentment is separate from our circumstances. Contentment is a state of the heart, not a state of affairs. (2) What an awesome thing to strive for!
In chapter one, the author includes Ella's "prescription" for contentment.
1 - Never allow yourself to complain about anything - not even the weather.
2 - Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or someplace else.
3 - Never compare your lot with another's.
4 - Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
5 - Never dwell on tomorrow - remember that tomorrow is God's, not ours. (3)
Oh to be able to grasp these ideas and apply them on a daily basis! How did she do it? The secret is in Ella's last statement. Her eyes were fixed on eternity. Her tomorrows belonged to God. She had given them to Him. And because all her tomorrows were nestled in God's strong arms, she was free to live today. One day at a time she could make the right choices and grow to possess the holy habit of contentment. (4)
According to Psalm 16:5, God has assigned us what He desires for us to have. "Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure." When we meditate on this verse it makes complaining about our circumstances a bit more difficult doesn't it? When we realize that God is in control of our lives, we can let go of trying to control and let God be God. If we are continually complaining about our lives, what we're really saying is that we don't trust the Lord enough to work on our behalf, that we think we can do a better job. It's like the armchair quarterback who sits and yells at the TV telling his favorite team all they are doing wrong. Could he really don a uniform and do a better job than the professionals? No. Do we really think we can do a better job of running things than the God of the universe?
In closing I would like to share a story from the book that illustrates so well what many of us are trying to do.
"I need oil," said an ancient monk, so he planted an olive sapling. "Lord," he prayed, "it needs rain that it's tender roots may drink and swell. Send gentle showers." And the Lord sent gentle showers. "Lord, " prayed the monk, "my tree needs sun. Send sun, I pray thee." And the sun shown, gilding the dripping clouds. "Now frost, my Lord, to brace its tissues, " cried the monk. And behold, the little tree stood sparkling with from, but at evening it died.
Then the monk sought the cell of a brother monk, and told his strange experience. "I, too, planted a little tree," he said, "and see! It thrives well. But I entrust my tree to its God. He who made it knows better what it needs than a man like me. I laid no condition. I fixed not ways or means. 'Lord, send what it needs,' I prayed, 'storm or sunshine, wind, rain, or frost. Thou hast made it and Thou dost know." (5)
Steeped in His Word
Work with me to memorize Philippians 4:11-13. Write it on a card a put it in a prominent place as a daily reminder to work on being content. Ask the Lord to help you on your journey toward contentment.
Stirred to Action
Make a conscience effort to work at being content. Make a list of all your blessings, adding to it each day. When you find yourself becoming negative, reflect of Philippians 4:11-13 and on Ella's "prescription" for contentment.
*Italics represent quotes taken from Mrs. Dillow.
(1) Mrs. Linda Dillow, Calm My Anxious Heart (Colorado Springs: Navpress, 1998), p. 11
(2) ibid, p. 12
(3) ibid, pp. 11-12
(4) ibid, p. 12
(5) ibid, p. 17
copyright 2000, 2001 & 2002 Angela Snodgrass
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