I can struggle with contentment. Do you?
I want to see the better, the “could be”. Sometimes I actually do see it. I have strong senses and visions of what a situation, relationship, or opportunity looks and feels like in the future.
I am a developer. Of others. Of myself. Sometimes all I see is potential and I can miss the good that is right here and now.
I am a dreamer. I love to dream. God has given me many dreams and ideas. A very small percentage have come to fulfillment in my life so far, but I trust God has given me these dreams as investments into his Kingdom.
I can find myself burdened instead of thankful for these dreams sometimes. In my closest inner circle of people no one really gets my dreaming/potential/”but what if?” perspective. It's probably God's design that those closest to me are practical and live in the moment. My husband is that way and it's a good balance. But, sometimes I long for him or a friend to be excited about one of my dreams! That would be such a life giving act to me!
Just this week I thought what if we lived in Africa for a year??? Or India??? How could God use that? What positive effect would that have on our family? On our kids understanding of the world?
I often think about possibilities. What ministry is God calling me and us to? More foster kids? Some pastoral position at a church? More involvement in ministries we already do? Something else??
I've dreamed about trips to the big tennis tournaments with my hubby (I think we are actually going to go in 2021!) I've dreamed and worked towards physical goals... Race distances and times. New and harder challenges.
I've dreamed in detail about this pilgrimage walk in Spain. I've had to let this dream go for now. It's okay to let dreams go. I trust God will bring them back as he desires and wills.
So, see, my heart and mind just keep going.
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions. ~ Joel 2:28
And I consider it a privilege most of the time. God is in it. I believe often our hopes and dreams are whispers from God.
Without my dreams we would not have become foster parents and adopted our youngest daughter.
Without my "what can be better? Isn't there more to life than this?" mentality my marriage and family would not have done the hard work we did a couple years ago that has put us in a far healthier (not perfect) place! And God used that same determination of mine to form a sister in Christ friendship with a woman I am ever so thankful for.
Look, God can do whatever He wants.
He is God. He is Sovereign. But I know for certain He has used my dreams and discontentment to bring me and my family closer in line with his heart, kingdom and will. I look forward to how He will keep doing this!
I am, however, learning that not everyone operates from this same perspective of "could be"! Ha. That's a good thing. I am learning that I can overwhelm those close to me with my ideas. They can feel like I am always disappointed with them, with life, and hear my "what else?" as "this/you are not enough".
So, it's about balance.
For me this means more thankfulness. Telling God I am content. Telling my family and close friends that they are enough. Just as things are.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. ~Philippians 4:12-13
Seeing beauty in simple things helps me to be thankful. My sunflowers taught me that this morning. They are stunning. It was hard to not keep looking at them. Intricate design. Deep yellows and shades of orange and brown. Beautiful. And a bike ride to get a coffee with my favorite guy on a gorgeous day. Life is good, Anne! Period. Thank you God for this life. I am content and full. It's enough.
So, what end are you on? How do you need to find balance?
Do you, like me, need to look for ways to be thankful and ways to be content? Maybe think before telling someone else about all your dreams. How do they hear you? Think about it from their perspective.
(As a side note if you are my client or my friend I can assure you I can handle any and all of your dreams and ideas!! Bring them to me! I will cheer you on like no other! I will encourage you and pray for your dream and check in on you. I'll celebrate you when you reach it!)
Or are you on the other end of settling for status quo and being fearful of anything "more" or "better" or "different"? Do you need to ask God to help you dream? Stretch you a bit? (I can help if this is you! Call me!)