So, let us just say that I have failed at eighty-five things (at least) in the last twenty four hours and they largely fall under the category of being a sweet, encouraging wife (or rather, not being one). And let us just say that we are working to rectify the situation and hopefully can redirect the course.
But can I just tell you what I am learning in the midst of acting the fool? Because, ironically (or not - I never use 'ironically' properly, and I'm really sorry, Mrs. Cochran, I just never nailed irony), I am connecting this with my contentment theme.
When I was little and perhaps had made a poor decision, I can remember my parents using a particular phrase when they were 'debriefing' during/after disciplining me: You have a "Chooser" inside of you, they would say, and you can choose to make the choice that honors God or not. As a child, many things were fairly black and white, so learning about my "Chooser" was part of my training in following God and honoring my parents. It wasn't often complicated to know which course of action was right - the hard part was learning to activate my Chooser.
I have referenced this numerous times - you know, like when I want to correct other people.
But the thing is that, I do have a Chooser in me. I have a will. And when faced with decisions, I get to exercise that will and make a choice -- for obedience and grace and love and mercy...or for the opposite. I can choose life or I can choose death with my words and attitudes.
I think you'll agree with me that it gets a little complicated as we grow up, when we discover that not only are things not black and white, but in addition to having a Chooser, we begin to identify that we also have a Feeler...and a Doer and a Thinker. And I am speaking for myself here when I say, and not proudly, my Feeler has been bossing my Chooser around a LOT lately.
Like you, I have multiple opportunities every day to compare my home, my body, my closet, my car, my kid, my husband, my hair, my work, my __________ with other people and either choose contentment or envy. I also have opportunities to choose to be aggravated with the Happy Baby and the mister or to extend grace to them. I have opportunities to speak life and encouragement to friends or to ignore their problems and nurse my own little frustrations.
Let me throw some Word out there, with some thoughts interjected in brackets - I am processing through what it will mean to activate my Chooser to create a home filled with grace and contentment and this passage speaks to that.
Colossians 3:12-17 [NASB]
v12-13 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. ["Put on" compassion? Bear with? Forgive? This implies I may not naturally be wearing compassion or naturally bearing with... Ah. This requires my Chooser. Also - that list? Compassion, kindness, etc....notice that those are not feelings? Hmmm.]
v14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. [Ah, putting on again. So I may not naturally feel loving at times, but I activate my Chooser to love...which nurtures unity rather than discord...wow.]
v15-16 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. [I believe the peace of Christ and the word of Christ can rule and dwell freely when I am choosing to let it. Which is not to say I can stop God (I'm not that powerful), but I can hinder His intent to rule and dwell when I am choosing envy or bitterness or discontent. I don't wake up and say, "Boy, howdy! I can't wait to let discontent rule in my heart today!" But when I don't wake up praying for peace to rule, I've made my choice. Not choosing is choosing. I abdicated the pursuit of peace & contentment when I didn't let the word of Christ richly dwell within me.]
v17 Whatever you do in in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. [Oh, so...'whatever'...like, can I offer up that last conversation to God and say, "In Jesus' Name" over it? Can I share that text or perform that task and truly, purely say, "In Jesus' name"? Because, really. Can I nag my husband in Jesus' name? Can I be a smart aleck to my friends in Jesus' name? Can I be lazy or grumbly or discontent in the name of Jesus?! Humble me, Lord God...]
I think I just need to sigh and excuse myself and go sit with a cup of tea and offer up my brokenness to God the Father. Because I've let my Feeler tell my Chooser what to do just long enough to let discontent dwell in me richly, rather than the holy, righteous words of Christ Jesus, my Lord.
God, I am so grateful I have Your forgiveness. Confession is good for the soul they say, and I agree with You that I need an attitude adjustment! Thanks for Your grace in this. Thanks for a loving husband, sweet friends, and hot tea to sort out my heart before You. Thanks for Your life in me - the life of the Patient One, the life of the Loving One. Thank You for doing for me what I cannot - working righteousness and putting on a heart of compassion. You are good and faithful, God, worthy to be praised and obeyed. In Jesus' name...