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Archive for posts tagged with ‘Satisfaction’

The raccoon

Thoughtfully penned on August 13th, 2007 and generally concerning Satisfaction, Simplicity

When he was young, Matt had a copy of the first Boy Scouts of America handbook which he refers to as the original Dangerous Book for Boys. He was telling me the other day about his favorite lesson in the book, the one he always wanted to try, the lesson on how to trap a raccoon.

As he tells it, you make a small hole in a hollow fallen log, place a piece of tin in the bottom of the hole, and drive a nail into the log in such a way that the nail head sticks into the opening of the hole you made. There is a large enough opening for the raccoon to slip its open paw into the hole in order to grasp the tin, but once it’s paw is fisted around the tin the raccoon isn’t able pull the paw back through the opening. It appears that a raccoon would rather hold on to the shiny tin until it is either caught or dies than to let go of the tin and free itself.

The world lays “shiny” objects before us constantly – things like bigger houses, faster cars, and designer clothes to name only a few – and culture presses us to take hold of these things. We grab onto the “tin” set before us and in our determination to gain status, to keep up with the proverbial Joneses, to find fulfillment we won’t let go. Once our grip is set it continually takes more to maintain the lifestyle that we’ve created; it takes more income to afford more expensive things so that we can impress ourselves with what we have. We drive ourselves into debt and then lament the fact that we can’t stay ahead of the bills.

In a society driven by consumerism it is difficult to release our grasp on material things; however, like the raccoon, this is how we gain our freedom. When your hand is clenched in a fist you can hold tightly to the thing inside, but you can’t pick up something else with that hand (no matter how many times my one year old tries to disprove this fact). When our lives are clenched firmly around the things society calls good, we render ourselves less able to receive the things that God calls good.

Like the raccoon we have a choice: we can choose to hold tightly to things and remain trapped in our culture’s mantra of more, more, more; or we can choose to open our hand and free ourselves from the “rat race.” Releasing the notion that we must live up to another’s standards frees us to better enjoy the things we’ve been given.

I don’t believe that wealth and material goods are bad (we definitely have our share of stuff), but I do believe that, as a Christian, I have a responsibility to watch my heart and motives with regard to the things of this world. I must be willing to release the treasure of this world to gain treasure in heaven.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” ~Matthew 6:21 (ESV)


Thoughtfully penned on July 31st, 2007 and generally concerning Goals, God's at Work in My Life, Learning for a lifetime, Satisfaction, Simplicity

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about simplicity and living a simple life. Over the past few days and weeks, the idea seems to be everywhere I look – on blogs I read, in my Bible class at church – pervading my thoughts. My ideas aren’t cohesive enough at this time to write about my perspective on the topic, but I wanted to share a couple of links to blog posts that I’ve enjoyed recently.

Last week Meredith at Like Merchant Ships did a series entitled “How to Live Well on Less”; links to each post in the series can be found here. She writes about budgeting, purchasing, decorating, and finding beauty in what you own.

Then I read a post by Brant at Letters from Kamp Krusty titled “Here’s to Nothing!” in which he writes about how his family’s approach to life has impacted others in their neighborhood.

I would enjoy hearing your thoughts on simplicity as well – what “simple living” means, how it can be accomplished, things you’ve done to simplify your life or household. Leave a comment and let’s see what where this discussion might lead.

A 21 day challenge – summation

Thoughtfully penned on July 27th, 2007 and generally concerning Goals, God's at Work in My Life, Satisfaction, The Glory of God, You're moving again?

Oxford American dictionaries list the following among the synonyms for challenge – test, tax, strain, stretch, stimulate, inspire, and excite. When I made the decision to participate in the challenge that Sheryl was setting for herself I had no idea what the next 21 days would hold. That was probably a good thing.

Beginning July 2nd I set out to pray for/about the following three things each day:

1. The words that come from my mouth
2. Our impending move, Matt’s new job, and the sale of our house
3. A new church home in Nashville

I have consistently been praying about the words of my mouth and the attitudes of my heart (because that is the root of all I say and do). Specifically, I’ve been praying the words of Psalms 141:3 and Proverbs 31:26.

Over the last few weeks I’ve noticed (and hope those around me have noticed) a shift toward kinder, gentler words. One particular focus of my prayers was that I would not be irritated with Little for interrupting what I was doing and demanding attention when I was focused on something else. I feel that God has really been softening my heart toward the gift that is my baby girl. When she seeks attention now, I try to stop what I’m doing (if that is feasible) and play or snuggle. As her Momma, I represent security and love to her, two things that she needs that only I can provide. Not that I’ve perfected this or conquered these issues, but I can see the work of God in the area of my motivations and speech. I continue to pray that I will speak words of wisdom, words of edification, words of love to those I interact with, especially Matt and Little.

The prayers about our move and selling the house really stirred things up around here. I’ve spoken about the saga surrounding our non-move in previous posts, so I won’t rehash all of that here; I will mention how God continues to deal with me in this area.

When we moved here two years ago we really felt we were being called to this place for a specific Kingdom purpose. As the Nashville situation unfolded I convinced myself that the lessons we’ve learned regarding what the church should be, how we are to be recognized as Christ followers, and what it means to be “in the world, but not of it” were the lessons we were brought here to learn.

Over the weeks of prayer about our move I was convicted that there is more here that God has prepared in advance for us to do. I felt led to repent of the way I had tried to “take over” God’s plan and decide what it was we were supposed to learn or do here. Now I look forward to seeing how God’s purposes unfold in and around my family.

Through these three weeks my patience has been tested, my emotions have been taxed, my mental capacity has been strained, my faith has been stretched, my prayer life has been stimulated, my hope has been inspired, and I’ve become excited about what the future holds.

Thank you to those of you who have read my posts and prayed for us as I went through this challenge (and the moving situation). And I especially thank our friends (some of whom I know read here although they rarely comment) who have come alongside us in prayer and conversation as we’ve worked through this time of testing.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” ~Romans 12:2 (ESV)

When the dust settled

Thoughtfully penned on July 19th, 2007 and generally concerning God's at Work in My Life, Satisfaction, The Glory of God, You're moving again?

Sometimes we are led on journeys that don’t move us physically but still have great impact in our lives. We have been on one of those journeys these last ten days.

On Monday, Matt had multiple opportunities open up within a matter of hours. On Tuesday, he spent the day interviewing with a local company. On Wednesday, he met with his current boss. Today, we have come full-circle.

The “for sale” sign is gone. The boxes are being unpacked. We are staying right where we’ve been – in our house with Matt continuing to go to the same job each day.

Physically, we never moved; spiritually, God has used these ten days in a mighty way. We have seen Him move in great and mysterious ways. We have been stretched in our faith and humbled by the plans of God.

I continue to pray that through this we bear witness to the faithfulness and provision of our Lord. And today, I rest knowing that “many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21, ESV)

A morning walk

Thoughtfully penned on May 31st, 2007 and generally concerning E, Of games and good things, Satisfaction, Spring, The Glory of God

Little and I went for a nice walk this morning. We went over to the library and back winding through residential streets all the way. As we walked we passed several older people who were also out for a morning stroll, everyone smiled and said “hello,” and one lady even stopped to chat for a moment and comment on how cute Little is. It was a pleasant walk even though it was overcast and 70 degrees with humidity of 83%. Welcome to late Spring in the South!

I really enjoy walking, and it is even more fun now with Little buckled into the stroller rolling along in front of me. This morning she chatted and sang, watched the birds, played with her stroller toys, then fell asleep about 10 minutes from home. It is so fun to watch her interact with her surroundings, especially when we are outdoors.

Although the flowers of early Spring (my favorites – daffodils and tulips) have long faded away, it is nice to see the summer green of trees and grass and the blooms of the crepe myrtle and magnolia. There is a sense of the magnificence of God that can only be felt in the presence of the beauty of creation. There is a sense of the peace of God that is felt in a morning walk in a quiet neighborhood with the birds happily chirping in the trees. There is a sense of the joy of God that is felt in scampering squirrels and jabbering little girls.

As I passed under a towering magnolia not far from home I breathed deeply of the sweet scent of its blooms, and I felt satisfied.

A few of my favorite things

Thoughtfully penned on March 29th, 2007 and generally concerning Friendship, Motherhood, Satisfaction, Sidetrack'd, Spring

I’ve been thinking lately about some of the things that I would consider my favorites. This is not a comprehensive list, but in the spirit of Spring, here ya go (in no particular order)…

1. The warm days of Spring
2. Tulips and daffodils
3. Fresh creamed corn with fresh tomatoes
4. Budding and blooming trees
5. Little cuddling up on my chest
6. Relaxing with Matt
7. Sitting on the seashore or in the mountains marveling at God’s handiwork
8. Laughing with Matt about silly things
9. A good movie
10. Being outside
11. Re-reading Sense & Sensibility for the upteenth time
12. A good book – the kind that absorbs me and I don’t want to put down
13. Talking to and laughing with girlfriends
14. Little’s grin and laugh

These are things that make me feel good, that relax me, that I could enjoy over and over and over again. These are things for which I thank God.

Goals? We don’t need no stinkin’ goals

Thoughtfully penned on March 27th, 2007 and generally concerning Goals, Legacy, Matt's Hard Earned Cash, Satisfaction

Have you ever had one of those days (or weeks, months, or years) where the same topic seems to come up over and over again in various forms and in various situations? I’m having one of those seasons, and the topic seems to be discipline and self-control.

It all started back at the first of the year when I was convicted of my need to set some goals. Let me make it perfectly clear that, although I wrote them out, I have lost site of said goals – as well as the paper on which they were written. Coincidence? I think not.

Over the last few months I’ve received gentle reminders, repeatedly, that I might need to buckle down in some areas. Over the last few weeks the nudges are getting a little less gentle. I did make an attempt with my spending hiatus, which has gone pretty well; but I really feel like I’m being called to look at and work on my self-control across many areas of my life, not just my discretionary spending.

So, I am going to make a new list of a few things that I would like to accomplish or get better about doing over the next few months. Hopefully, I can manage not to lose them this time!

I know God has something to teach me through this, or something he is calling me to do. As I strive to get better in these areas I will continue to pray through it and pray for strength and determination. Do you have any goals you are working toward? Is God calling you to greater things?

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Some thoughts on satisfaction

Thoughtfully penned on March 21st, 2007 and generally concerning God's at Work in My Life, Satisfaction, The Glory of God

Note:There are the seeds of several posts sprouting in my mind right now. The hard part is getting them developed and written in a cohesive and comprehensible fashion. Hopefully this means I’ll be posting regularly the next few days, but that is always dependant on life with Little.

“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” ~ John Piper

This is currently my life quote. It spins through my head several times a day; especially if I see or hear the word glory or satisfaction. As I seek to glorify God in all things I realize that it is something best accomplished by satisfaction – being filled daily by the presence of God.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ speaks these words (Matthew 5:6 ESV):

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

I am currently involved in a Bible study called Living Your Life as a Beautiful Offering by Angela Thomas. In this week’s lesson (on Matthew 5:6), Angela defined righteousness as, “the right living that comes out of your desire for God.” Based on this definition, my desire for God leads directly to Him being glorified in my life. If my main God-given purpose in life is to glorify God, then this leads to a “life loop” – I hunger and thirst for righteousness; I am filled to satisfaction by Christ; God is glorified in my satisfaction; seeing God glorified increases my hunger and thirst for His righteousness. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing – changing diapers, talking to my neighbor, cleaning house – if my hunger and thirst are being filled by Christ then God is being glorified.

Satisfaction is being fully content. So, can we be truly satisfied here on earth? I think we have moments of satisfaction, full contentment, and then life happens. It is tough to be content when the baby is screaming and you can’t figure out why, when you are going through financial struggles, when you have to report daily to a job you hate. I am given hope though, in Phillipians 4:11 Paul says, “[F]or I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” Full and eternal contentment will only be realized when I see Christ face-to-face, but while I’m here on earth I can make the choice every day to be content “in whatever situation I am.”

Contentment is not the natural state of my heart. I am constantly falling prey to the illusion of the American life that is based on materialism and consumerism (another post for another time). Contentment is a daily – even hourly – concious choice that has to be made, but if I can keep my eyes on Christ I can constantly and actively be filled to satisfaction.

“The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite, but the belly of the wicked suffers want.” Proverbs 13:25

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