If this is your first time reading this blog, and you want to understand its context I would encourage you to read two of my previous posts called, ‘My way Is Hidden’, and ‘Streams In The Desert’.
You see, I have had a series of unpredictable changes in my life, some of them very unpleasant… and they are far from being over. I am blogging about this journey because I want to look back and see God’s hand of faithfulness leading me to a very interesting end.
Lately I have been mulling on terms like contentment, perseverance, and choices, especially as we begin a new year full of promises, hopes and dreams. These three words all connote conscious and deliberate actions.
For example, living out of a suitcase in limited space with limited levels of comfort is a difficult providence. But if I were to live each day by focusing on what I do not have, and not on that which I have, I would be in constant despair. This situation has forced me to make choices that simplify my life.
So I choose, with God’s help, to train my mind to list the things I am thankful for, so I can find purpose in each day and be content. Not happy. But content. I am not always successful, but when I can do that, it gives me the peace I need to live a productive life in spite of my circumstances. I think I have deduced that contentment is appreciating what you have without harping on what you don’t have.
When we landed in Ottawa in November, we stayed in an AirBnB where the terrible mattress threw my back out after one night of sleeping in it. I slept on the couch for the better part of 3 weeks. We were given the impression that we could use the kitchen, but it was less than ideal, having to climb stairs to use it. (Our room was in a lovely bright basement – no kitchen)
Because we do not know where Tim will find employment, being flexible with accommodation by using AirBnB, is necessary. The current one came with a readily accessible kitchen, and a very friendly host. I can once again prepare meals. Our host is willing to teach me exercises to maintain my back health, while I teach her some cooking skills. I am also surrounded by an oasis of green plants which give a feeling of calm.
And what about perseverance? To persevere means that you don’t give up even when life is hard and you are tempted to. To do that, you need to look back and see the small and great victories in your past. What did you accomplish? When? Under what circumstances? How did you feel? For good or ill, we tend to see ourselves as others see us. So remind yourself of your accomplishments and the positive feedback, giving thanks to God who helped you to accomplish them.
To be content and to persevere in the face of hardship, are choices you make. Sometimes, the words of the ‘Serenity Prayer’ come to me unbidden – ‘help me to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can, and may I have wisdom to know the difference.’
One of my business mentors, Amy Porterfield, quoted one of her guests in a recent podcast. To help put herself in the right mindset, her guest looks at herself in the mirror daily and says, ‘I am confident and strong and people want to learn from me’. My friend and counselor, Eileen Scipione calls that your ‘Truth Statement’.
Your Truth Statement looks different at different times in your life. I often struggle with my identity based on how I think others see me. The truth is that my identity is in Christ. It is not dependent on things, people and circumstances. Knowing that has been a big help to me. So I identify the gifts and skills that He has given me to use in His kingdom service while living in an AirBnB.
So what does my Truth Statement look like these days? ‘I have the gift of teaching and communication. I am blessed with opportunities if I open my eyes to find them. I can come up with creative solutions to be productive in spite of my circumstances. People want to learn from me. I am good at what I do. I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.’
Author’s Note; Lynette is the owner of ChristianRoots Canada. She spent almost 3 years in Pittsburgh where her husband attended The Reformed Presbyterian Seminary. They are back in Canada for an undetermined period of time while God works out exactly where they ought to be serving Him in His kingdom. They have been experiencing many challenges in this journey back to Canada. She is blogging about them to keep perspective. Thanks for joining her on this journey.