Saturday, August 2, 2008

Good fruit

I mentioned yesterday that coaching school was another great time with Wayne and the girls. We played, rested and enjoyed each other and old friends. All of this included the "traditions" that make up great memories for us all. But most of those weren't planned...they just happened because we did some of the same things twice. Most of these are special for the girls because they don't happen any other day of the year. The other thing they have in common? They all cost more money that we ever spend in our "real" lives.

We live on a single paycheck from a public school. It is more than enough, truly. It well supplies not only our needs, but more wants than we should have. But a curious thing can happen when you get a taste of another lifestyle, can't it? When you are able to stay where you normally can't...or can buy what you usually don't have money for...or can spend time doing what you generally can't...what happens inside of you?

Well, since 1 Corinthians 10:13 says that no temptation has ever come to me that isn't a common temptation for us all, I bet you've faced the battle of contentment in your heart, too. Nike, Coca-Cola, AT&T and Disney all know how it works. Get us to see what else we could have, show us what our lives could be like, create in us just a little discontent in our hearts and watch our wallets open. So, you'll understand that I'm always a little ready for battle when we come home and face laundry, making our own beds, cooking our own (much cheaper) meals, finding entertainment without cable understand. You've been there. So much more fun to pack than to plan the day before you leave than to live the day after you come home.

Understand that the major battle isn't with the's in my own heart. But there have been years that vacations have given rise to bad fruit in our lives...when all we want to do is eat out again...veg in front of the TV again...or just the opposite: go and do something instead of just sit at home again. Plus there's the added bonus of having Wayne home at 3pm instead of 9pm.

But, I have to tell you, that's not true this time. This time I am filled to overflowing with tasting the fruit of what God is doing in my girls hearts. This trip marked the first time that all of them chimed in over and over during the week to say that they'd rather live the life we have than to spend it like we do at coaching school. All of them were more than ready to come home. Each of them expressed a complete disgust with spending so much money for one dinner that we could make at home. They all thought that though TV was nice, it would not be good for us to have in our house. Fiesta Texas was okay, but not something they wish they could have a season pass for. It's not that they don't like Pop-tarts, but they're tired of junk food, they said.

What a blessing and challenge for me as their mom to continue to try to lead them this way. If they see it clearly then I certainly need to see it. If they are content, I have no excuse. A great reminder to me as we head Monday to football season. These days are given, God says, for me to rejoice and be glad in. Habakkuk reminds me that that is isn't conditional on whether there's enough grocery money or we're able to buy all we want... whether Wayne is home a lot or a little... whether I am bored or overwhelmed... whether the kids are sick or well...

Contentment...Paul says in Philippians 4:12 that knowing how to face abundance or to face need is a secret. It's not known to all, as our society well plays out. It must be uncovered... pondered... sought out... dug for... disciplined into my life. But that doesn't mean that it takes a book to explain. Paul did it in one short sentence, in the very next verse. Won't take much effort to memorize. Want to join me this fall in working it out with all our might? Yeah. Me neither. Sounds painful. But we'll look more like the Savior if we do. Jesus said others will see our good work and glorify our Father who is in heaven. We might even be asked to give a defense for the hope that we have like Peter said. Will we avoid suffering that we might be more comfortable? May it never again be as true in the future as it has been in the past.

Well, here it is.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Believe it? That contentment isn't from anything more than believing God? My girls do. And if He can do it in them, He can do it in me. I believe Him...Lord, forgive me my unbelief.


Esther Lao said...

I'm so glad we're studying Philippians again because there are just so many treasures in that book! You know, after you shared 1 Tim 6:5-6 with me at church one sunday ago, I spent some time meditating on that verse & then read some from the DG website. In one of Piper's sermons on that verse, he pretty much echoes what you shared at the end of this blog entry about the link between contentment and faith/believing God. Since you're a Piper fan too, here is what he writes (from his 10.30.1988 sermon entitled battling the unbelief of covetousness):
"Jesus said in John 6:35, 'I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.' In other words what it means to believe in Jesus is to experience him as the satisfaction of my soul's thrist and my heart's hunger. Faith is the experience of contentment in Jesus. The fight of faith is the fight to keep your heart contented in Christ--to really believe, and keep on believing, that he will meet every need and satisfy every longing."

Kim said...

How hard this is, Esther. "To really believe"...well, I do..."and keep on believing"...much more difficult! It is a fight, mostly against my own flesh. I'll pray now for us both!