21 June 2010

Multitude Monday ~ 1000 Gifts ~ Choosing to Ignore Rights and Practice Contentment

I've been meditating on this passage a lot the past year... maybe even longer...

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus... (Phil 2:1-5a)

As I've mulled over those words, memorizing... meditating... munching... musing... I'm wondering if it has always been this way... or if I've just been blind. The most likely answer is blinded, probably by my own sin, in this area. Don't you think the sense of entitlement that is so prevalent in our society, in our communities, in our churches, in our families... in my family... must grieve the Lord. I hear it all the time: "It isn't fair..." and then fill in the blank with whatever someone feels shouldn't be a part of his/her life at that moment in time. Why is it that men (and women and children) tend to think that God owes us or that life owes us and that hardship or hard work or hard anything is wrong?

I'm finding that for me, the best remedy to any sense of entitlement is deliberately choosing contentment by choosing gratitude. When I practice remembering the multitude of graces God gifts to me each day, it makes it easier to focus on the joy He brings rather than worry about perceived rights and happinesses that He might not be lining along my path. As a once-upon-a-time athlete, two words particularly resonate: CHOOSING and PRACTICE. Years from those days of early morning workouts and several daily miles in the water, the word practice has immediate connotations.

Practice means to perform or do habitually, and is often a strict regimen. This repition serves a key purpose - it is to help acquire skill or proficiency in that skill. One definition I particularly like is the pursuit of competency. In older English, it had the idea of plotting or consipiring (i.e. figuring out)... how to do something well. Thus, contentment doesn't come without a lot of effort... Practicing contentment helps me to more readily choose thankfulness. It is a wonderful way to remove my focus off of what I want and help me see the needs so readily supplied, the multitude that has already been given... and given... and given again.

~ a few of the multitude of graces this week ~

#208 my husband... wonderful man, incredible daddy - I still can't believe he entered into this adventure with me and am so thankful he continues to stick around

#209 unexpected opportunity to visit with a friend and former student I've not seen for a long time

#210 cool, dew-blanketing-the-grass mornings, even though some say it is hot during the day

#211 company from Hawaii

#212 camping in a tent with 10 big and not so big girls

#213 leaving church the other day and having Elsie Mae's Sunday School teacher tell me how sweet Elsie had been, and what a pretty little voice she had, even though the only words they could understand were "Happy Day"

#214 coming home and immediately asking Elsie Mae what song she had been singing for her teachers and hearing her answer "Zaro ne ya..." or "This is the Day," but in Zarma

#215 this song, and the message it contains

#216 learning to turn to God's Word first

#217 those situations that God brings which allow me to learn and practice #216

#218 Father's Day with three awesome daddies

#219 bagpipes

#220 couscous, chicken and peanut sauce

#221 early mornings working while everyone else sleeps and the time it allows to think, to pray, to meditate

#222 the words and message of "Complete in Thee"

Complete in Thee! no work of mine
May take, dear Lord, the place of Thine;
Thy blood hath pardon bought for me,
And I am now complete in Thee.

Yea, justified! O blessed thought!
And sanctified! Salvation wrought!
Thy blood hath pardon bought for me,
And glorified, I too, shall be!

Complete in Thee! no more shall sin,
Thy grace hath conquered, reign within;
Thy voice shall bid the tempter flee,
And I shall stand complete in Thee.

Complete in Thee each want supplied,
And no good thing to me denied;
Since Thou my portion, Lord, wilt be,
I ask no more, complete in Thee.

Dear Saviour! when before Thy bar
All tribes and tongues assembled are,
Among Thy chosen will I be,
At Thy right hand, complete in Thee

holy experience

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