Last night I attended "Entre Amigas" (Between Friends), a ministry to all the married women of SETECA. It is a wonderful group of fellowship, encouragement and worship and small groups held once a month. (and one of my highlights of being here)
A very hilarious, down to earth woman from Argentina gave a talk about contentment. She shared a lot about when she first moved to Guatemala ten years ago with her family and how she lost her joy when they weren't able to bring basic stuff with them because of the weight. (her good cooking pans, sheets, and household items that made her feel comfortable)Not only that, but she also struggled with the new culture, the food and items she couldn't get here, and tight accommodations.
It reminded me a lot about one of the biggest lessons I've ever had to learn. When I went to RAD in 2006, I discovered that my happiness depended very much on my circumstances. It was so freeing for me to learn how to be joyful in the hardest, most heart-wrenching and uncomfortable circumstances.
That doesn't mean I am always joyful in every single circumstance. But last night was such a good reminder for me to evaluate my attitude and my joy.
Am I really grateful when God allows circumstances in my life that I don't like? What about those areas that I dislike in my husband? Do I give thanks to God for them and ask Him to change my husband according to HIS will, not my own? Or do I pout and complain and inwardly huff and puff? What about the times I am homesick and upset? Do I praise God that He is my home? How about that difficult person who pushes my buttons? Do I praise God for bringing this person into my life to help me grow in my character? What about when I am sick? Do I moan and groan and wonder, "why in the world is this happening to ME of all people?" Does my husband see me as joyful and content, or as the wife who just can't be happy no matter what?
Well, there are so many other little circumstances that I tend to inwardly complain and mumble about. I say, "ERRRR! WHY ME?" instead of, "THANK YOU,LORD! You are so good! I know that THIS trial is for my good...to grow me and make me more into your image."
It's so good to take some time to do some soul-digging and to challenge myself!! I really want people to see me as joyful and content in all circumstances. Strip away all my fancy kitchen utensils.....my beautiful clothes and accessories and my cozy little apartment. Make me eat the same food EVERY SINGLE DAY...NO VARIETY. Would I be content? Would I praise God still? Make my husband into a mean old grumpy, crabby man. Would I love him unconditionally and thank the Lord for testing my character?? Hmm....sometimes I think that my marriage is all about ME and MY happiness.
It really helps my attitude to know the truth: that this life is NOT about me.
Whatever it is that we allow to steal our joy....It's NOT WORTH IT!
I really desire to grow more in this area - to praise God in every circumstance and have a continuous attitude of thankfulness.