Tuesday, March 11, 2008

...to have plenty.

..."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."
-Paul to the Phillipians

I wrote it so many times in my college prayer journals... also in those anonymous prayer notebooks during my every few month visits to the little prayer chapel at Westmont. "Please grant me joy and contentment." I was aware of my repetition... like, I'm praying for this again? What's my deal? It wasn't like I didn't have joy or never felt content, those years were a total blast, but the unknown and the disheveledness and stress weighed on me at times. I couldn't seem to relax.

No longer do I feel the urge to pray for joy and contentment. I believe this is due to two major lessons I have learned since those good ol' college days.

Numero uno, that my choices and timing aren't God's, and that His are better. I think I have a good grip on this concept by now, after having seen it in action again and again. "Dead set on being an RA in Page?" He says..."Nah, you're going to be in Clark and it's going to be amazing and give you lifelong friendships." "Oh, you wanted to keep that job? Nope. Here's a better one." "You like that house you live in? Well it's going to catch fire and you'll learn how to take advantage of unforeseen opportunity and find a more awesome one."

Numero dos, that joy and contentment aren't just granted to you, and you certainly don't get it from being sure about where your life is going. I realized, with some divine guidance of course, that it comes from knowing yourself and taking action accordingly. What things can I do, habits can I form, people can I spend time with, thoughts can I think, hobbies can I keep up with; that lead me to feel joyful and content no matter what circumstances are swirling around me? Oh, and that's just it, the circumstances are what surround us, but they do not make us. We are only to do the best with them that we can.

Here are a few things that I make a part of my life regularly to keep me "content whatever the circumstances."

*Walks on Hendrys (sometimes Butterfly) with music during sunset.
*Commitment to my soccer team. Wednesdays and Saturdays used to sound like too much of a commitment, til I realized how great it is for me and how it makes a difference to the team.
*Intentional friend time...be it Wednesday morning small group, dinner with my old neighbors, a weekend in Orange County, or Thursday nights watching the Office, if I make it a frequent thing and do my best to even it out with all those dearest to me, I can get through anything, whether I am in need or have plenty. (and I know that I am lucky right now, as being in SB grants me plenty of good friends in proximity)
*Making the best of Daylight Savings. It couldn't have come at a better time this year. More chances to get over and see the sunset after work.

Summing up most of these things, here are some photos from Sunday, when after a long fun weekend with lots of friends, Meg, Josh, Anna and Shane and I hit up Leadbetter for a sunset picnic.

What keeps joy and contentment in your life?

No comments: