Sunday, October 28, 2007


So many thoughts rage through my mind I feel as though I have been granted a new lease on life. I haven't had a near death experience (well, maybe), but these last few days we have been on a cruise. It was 4 days of total girl-time and rest. We did NOTHING but eat, sleep, and walk around a little. If you want more fun stuff, you'll have to go to the family blog (and you'll probably get sick of hearing about it); on this blog I will post what God taught me. It's amazing how cloudy things get when you're functioning on exhaustion. I had no idea how stressed out I truly was. I'll start with finishing where I left off with the whole being content vs. striving for perfection. You may not like where I go with this- feel free to offer you own insight as well.

Who are we to say what is perfection? God says to "..Be holy, for I am holy." We translate that to mean we are to be perfect- but that is not what it means. As a matter of fact, "holy" is actually translated more closely with being righteous- right before God- than perfect. One would argue that being right before God would mean perfection. Perhaps. That is not where I want to spend my time. My struggle I question is at what point do I become content?

My sweet friend sent me an article I found most helpful on the topic. Summarizing, the author pretty much said perfection is in the eye of the beholder- and so is being content. It can sound like circular reasoning if you stop on the surface. Without boring you with the philosophy of all of that, I will explain the way God summed it up to me over this last week.

I love my children and feel I have a healthy relationship with them; but I want it to be better. I don't want it to grow stagnant or become boring. I am always looking and reading articles on how I can spice things up with my crazy crew. I enjoy reading stuff that helps me relate to them- how can they understand me and how can I better to understand them?

I love my Savior and am amazed He chose me to tell His secrets to! Who am I that I should deserve such a blessing? I am always on the look out for how I am supposed to serving Him RIGHT NOW. There are some ways I like and some I don't, but I do them all to the best of my ability anyway.

I love my husband and wish he would fight for me the way he once did. Instead, he numbs his pain and frustration with sleep or his make believe online world where he can be whatever to whomever. I strive for perfection in my marriage and feel I have missed the mark (a.k.a. sinned) in so many ways I may end up losing one of the few things I prayed God would give me. Alas, it always takes two where a relationship is involved and I can no longer function alone. Here in lies the frustration.

No matter where we set the bar for ourselves, some one is always setting it higher. In all 3 of the above mentioned relationships, there is no such thing as being content. I believe I am to strive for perfection daily. The relationships are organic and constantly growing, therefore, constantly changing. I must change with them. That is why parenting seminars are so popular. Christian books are selling at an all-time high because people can't get enough of being "spiritual" (which, by the way, I don't believe is the same as being righteous). Relationship- help books are in constant demand because we all know you aren't married to the same person you originally married- nor is he married to the same woman. However, on the flip side of striving for perfection in areas of heart relationships, we must learn (oh yes, I said learn) to be content with where God has placed us in life.

We would have not related to any other than Paul when he encouraged to be content in all situations. For so long, I took that to mean we should settle for what we have in life. In a sense we are to do that. I will respectfully disagree with some of my dear brothers and sisters who believe in the ever-present "Prosperity Theology" being taught today. Seeing what I have seen and experiencing what I have experienced, I just don't believe you can look into the eyes of a 2 year old dying of AIDS (in this country or anywhere else) and tell her she must have enough faith for God to heal her if she wants to live. I don't believe we are all called to have worldly wealth. Have you ever tried to preach the gospel to a homeless man while driving in a Cadillac? Sometimes we have to go through it, be in it, and live it, to tell about it- and the way out of it. That's why it had to be Paul. Could you imagine if the Beloved John had tried to explain to us how it felt to be considered the "least?" We would say, "Yeah, right, Dude. You were at Jesus' side the whole time. He even gave you his mom at the cross." All of that to say, we must remember WHY we are even here and God didn't jerk us up at the instant of our salvation. We are to know Him and make Him known. We all relate to people on the level at which we are. You may not be able to empathize with a lonely, desperate mom of young children. But I can. I may not ever be able to speak to rulers or kings, but I know what it feels like to have an important utility cut off while you're at home with 3 babies. Someone needs to know there is light and it's not always at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes, you get to the light and it gets worse. But the light is your hope.

So contentment is not man-made, but God-made. In that contentment we sometimes find who we really are and what we are really supposed to be doing. In the busy-ness of trying to be perfect, we lose sight of what is happening around us. We hurt our friends. We emotionally leave our spouses with no apologies. We set the level of perfection only to be fooled by another who is actually setting it for us. In the end, it's the people who need us the most who end up the hurting the most because we want more materially and settle for less emotionally.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Passing By

I'm still researching this conundrum of being content and striving for excellence at the same time. I will say, based on what I have found so far, I have been surprised at how ungodly we have become as a society. I should be finished with my research before I leave to go out of town this coming week. I fully intend to meditate in a great way on the high seas!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

This past week I have been thinking a lot about the difference between being content in all situations and settling for mediocrity. Where is the line drawn? I'm sure as I study, I will find the line is different for each individual. It seems as though I am surrounded by people who completely settle for mediocrity in every area of their life: friendships, education, home (not so much the kind of home but the way it's taken care of), even their relationship with Jesus. For my personal self, where do I learn to be content and where do I strive for excellence and be above mediocre. I'll come back to this at a later post after I's searched the Word a little more.