Thursday, February 27, 2014

Bitterness vs Contentment

Today I was talking with a friend of mine.  In the conversation we started talking about being content with whatever situation we are in.  And that led, to discussing bitterness which is the opposite of being content...  made me think I should write about this!

Right now in my life my heart is content.  I'm content.  I'm content in my circumstances, I'm not anxious about trying to change things.  In the world's eyes we don't have much.  We live in a small parsonage, have a rather crazy life...the ONLY thing I'd change would be Selah's situation!  If Selah was well I wouldn't have a care in the world.  BUT even in this situation, my heart is still & at peace. 

There was a time when I was NOT like this.  I've written before how very bitter my heart had gotten after the death of the twins.  Bitterness just ate me up.  I was bitter over my childhood, over my present situation, over the ministry, over some hurts, over the loss of the twins....you name it and I was BITTER about it.  I was mad at God.  I think I thought He owed me something...here I had served God since my childhood, which was pretty bad and I was serving God by working in the middle of the inner city of New York...so God owed me.  But my babies died and I was quite pissed off.  Boy I'd bring up all kinds of thoughts and memories to remind myself how awful and unjust God was.....

During that time, we were making the MOST money we'd ever made, lived in the nicest and biggest house, drove new cars BUT I was not content, I was bitter in my heart.

This valley went on for several years.  But God still reached out in various ways towards me during that time.  He brought me out of that valley in spite of the bitterness.  God melted that away.....

Then in a few years, God gave us Sam.

One day in the hospital corridor, while Sam was still in the NICU, I saw a family on their way out with their healthy newborn.  I don't mean to judge but this family looked rough....like all they wanted to do was to get home to their trailer, crack up a 6 pack and watch some soap operas (ok that's mean but.....)   Right there, I turned to God in my heart and told him to look at that family....then I named all the reasons WHY I shouldn't have a sick baby and those folks who did not act like they cared at all had a perfect healthy baby.....

BUT I stopped myself!  In that moment, it became crystal clear to me that I had a choice.  I could go back to bitterness or I could trust God and with that gain contentment.

I CHOSE GOD  over bitterness!

I chose His Peace, His everlasting arms and the contentment that comes with trusting the God who created this Universe!

And that changed everything.

That choice I made that day, set a new pattern for me.

No more bitterness over the past or what should have been or could have been.....
All the way back to my own birth and all the heartaches and pains.

That choice brought me freedom!

And that choice prepared me for future choices that I'd have to make.

Dealing with the accident, has been the hardest thing for me but I've never once blamed or questioned God.  I don't think that is because I am so spiritual (ok friends you can quit rolling on the floor and laughing now!) but because I determined to not let bitterness grow a root in my heart ever again.  I'd "been there, done that and had the tshirt"   Didn't want to go there again! 

I chose to be content and actually I really am content in the circumstances of my life.

There are lots of things in life that come down to making a choice.... whether it is a choice not to commit a sin or whether it is a choice to turn to God rather than away from God...it's our choice.

Let me encourage you today to don't let bitterness grow in your life, it will poison every relationship, it will cloud every judgment and it will color your whole world.

Instead be content in the place that God has you in.  It may not be the easiest place but it's where you are at and when you practice being  content , it's lovely.  It too will affect every relationship, help you with decisions and make your world brighter.

I know I've chosen to do both at different times and I know the difference!!!!!  Trust me on this one!

Some verses.....

Hebrews 12:15         
See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;

Ephesians 4:31-32
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Isaiah 38:17      
"Lo, for my own welfare I had great bitterness; It is You who has kept my soul from the pit of nothingness, For You have cast all my sins behind Your back.



 Hebrews 13:5            

 
1 Timothy 6:6                         
But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment


Philippines 4:11-13
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 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. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
(ok this is my favorite verse!)

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All is well at the Clanton's.  today is the busiest day, teachers from 9am-2:30 pm with the little ones.  Shad had a good day at school.  Steve  & his friend got some instruction by the man who came to work on our computer/sound system and then a bunch of them went to the drive in tonight.  Selah's heart rate is up just a bit but nothing else seems off and she is on two antibodics so if she is fighting something, then that should take care of it all!




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