Wednesday, 25 January 2012


I am a bad bible study leader who missed the first week of our new study because I was still on vacation in CA. I would feel super bad about it, but I think I was probably lying on the beach while everyone else was shivering in the church library...enough said? Anyway, based on the conversation the week I returned, everyone picked a new word to focus on for the year. Last time, I chose contentment.

I would be lying if I said that I had mastered the art of perfect contentment. I have not. However, I have managed to lay aside a good portion of my unnecessary grumbling, both in my utterances and thoughts. I do still struggle on snowy days, or worse, freezing rain days, when I have to trudge outside to do the laundry, but overall I have felt much more at peace. I have even learned to see the bright side of small apartment living (so much less vacuuming!) and have come to terms with the impermanence of Jeff's current job.

Considering that our apartment is about to feel a whole lot smaller come May/the arrival of the baby, and that Jeff's current contract is non-renewable, contentment might be a smart thing for me to continue to focus on. I seriously considered it. However, the more I thought about it, the more short-sighted it felt. Contentment, or being satisfied and happy with what you have, is very important. But the longer I spend actually feeling satisfied with what I have, the more I realize that it is absurd that I wasn't before. I live in a situation that the vast majority of the world would envy. I have 850 square feet of climate controlled, safe, housing. I have not only enough food, but more food than I need. I share ownership of a car, loads of furniture, and more kitchen appliances than can possibly be necessary. I worship freely every Sunday and can meet openly with my peers to study God's word. I have been allowed to steward four precious lives, and wake up each morning to care for the three that I am blessed to have with me. I have an amazing husband who loves me so much (and don't worry, I love him too). I also have a wonderful extended family and caring friends. Talk about abundance!

Thus, abundance is my word for this year. Instead of focusing on the gap between what I think I need to feel happy, satisfied, or complete and what I actually have, I am declaring that what I have is not only enough, it is more than enough. It is abundant.

Now that I've stated publicly that my life is abundant and I am focusing on abundance this year, I'm sure that this is going to get a whole lot harder. In fact, I know it is because it's winter and freezing out and the walls of my apartment are going to feel like they are shrinking once somebody gets sick and we get stuck in here for a whole week. My skin is starting to crawl just thinking about it. So, this is the verse I will be clinging to on those days when I need a little reminder:

Psalm 66:
10 For You have tried us, O God;
         You have refined us as silver is refined.
11 You brought us into the net;
         You laid an oppressive burden upon our loins.
12 You made men ride over our heads;
         We went through fire and through water,
         Yet You brought us out into a place of abundance.


Emily said...

Those shirts look familiar! :)

Chelsea Lee said...

You are constantly an inspiration to me Mrs. Sherriff Jeff! I love the light God has given you!

Great Aunt Gretchen said...

What a great reminder. Thanks!