“I have learned to be content and self-sufficient through Christ, satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or uneasy, regardless of my circumstances.”
I glance over my shoulder to catch the dazed shine of the Mercedes starred wheel logo whoosh past us, seeming to glide effortlessly up the road. A jarring clunk brings my eyes back to the gravel in front of me, and I grip tight and turn slow, our faithful, aging vehicle groaning a little in protest of another journey to the shops and back. We park, and I strap my crying baby to my front, hoping this trip will be quick and she will sleep long. I push the trolley down isles full and brush past a lighthearted laugher – she talks freely to her small and giggly toddler, propped up in the trolley’s seat, neat and prim. The lady’s hair falls just so, clothes pressed and draped around her slim frame boasting the latest fashion. Looking down at my own shirt I see patches of vomit dried and crusted from an upset baby’s protests that morning. I pass her walking quickly with hopes of quieting my now screaming babe, feeling eyes of sympathy laced with pity.
Comparison. What a slippery, lying thief it is! I look around me, pulling in close another’s reality and experience, holding it up to measure next to mine. And I am always left wanting. Discontent with what I once treasured and valued, I no longer see beauty or know peace. I compare what was never meant to be compared – and why? Is it because I am listening to popular opinion of what is the latest and greatest? Or do I stack value on an item according to its monetary worth, instead of intrinsic and eternal significance?
“I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of facing life, whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need.”
The secret of life, the secret of living – no comparison! To live thankful, everyday and in every circumstance. The truth is, I love my life! I love everything about it. The wakeful nights cuddling and feeding our sweet baby girl, the seemingly endless washing of clothes and dishes, the old and homely house set quaint under ancient trees, my husband’s big laugh and strong hands to hold. But everyday is a new opportunity to choose to compare or to be grateful. And my joy and contentment will always correlate perfectly to the measure of my thankfulness.
Happiness is entirely of our choosing and lasting happiness has nothing to do with what we hold, own, or stock in the cupboard. The truth is, unless I am thankful for the small, the little, the simple, I will never be content or satisfied in prosperity or abundance. I want to hold this secret tight, write in on my arms everyday, so that holding little or embracing plenty I know joy. His joy. For with God, although I have needs, I am never in need. He fills them. In every way.
“I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me.”