Can we please have a dog? When can we have a dog?
For years, one of our kids asked, on a very consistent basis, if our family could have a dog.
He discussed all the reasons it would be wonderful to have a dog.
Every time he felt bored he pictured himself in the backyard with the dog.
When he argued with a sibling, his mind drifted to playing with his dog instead.
Yes, he would walk the dog! Yes, he would pick up the poop! Of course! Because the dog would solve all his problems!
When the timing finally seemed right, would you believe it, we got a dog.
He was absolutely overjoyed to hold our sweet little puppy while she slept in his arms. He was happy to wake up early and let her out, so delighted to play with her.
But – you know where this is going, don’t you?
Boredom was still a thing. Arguments still happened.
The joy of the puppy wore off.
It seems obvious and short-sighted, when we see it from a child’s point of view.
No, a dog is not going to solve all your problems kid! Keep dreaming!
But I wonder if sometimes we approach our problems with the same attitude:
If God would just ____________, then I could be happy.
And there are as many ways to fill in that blank as there are days in a millennium:
- If we could just move into a house with more space, we wouldn’t be “on top of each other” and fight… and we would be happy.
- If I could just find a job with a boss who doesn’t dump stuff on me at 4:45 every day…
- If we could just move outta this neighborhood…town…state…
- If the kids were back at school full time…
- If we could just get through this dingaling pandemic, then we’d all be happy. (Said everybody, amen.)
Why was Paul able to be content in every circumstance – puppy or no puppy?
Contentment, like so many things, is fruit from the tree of Faith. When Jesus is our center, we can firmly grasp just how temporary our lives are. When we remember that all (yes, ALL) our circumstances are temporary – whether we are abased or abounding – we can feel grounded in the truth that we are still on our way to our true home.
My soul needs reminding: Contentment doesn’t come with a better job, a bigger paycheck, or more square footage. It doesn’t look like a new car. It’s not a spouse who speaks to you exactly the way you want to be spoken to. And sadly, it doesn’t even look like a puppy.
What about you, darling friend? Is there something you’re facing at the moment that has you thinking “once ___ happens I’ll be happy?”
Note: Are some seasons of our lives are dang hard? YES! Keep hoping for God to bring you through! There are seasons of life where putting one foot in front of the other feels like a near-impossibility. Ask me how I know.
But the Lord is with you in the valley, just like He’s with you on the mountain-top. And often, our greatest battles are fought in the valleys, and are the very reasons we are able to climb to those mountain tops when the time is right!
What if we pray for God to help us be faithful in this season? What if we offer to “stay in the fire until He’s ready to take us out?”
It doesn’t have to be Christmas for Jesus to be the reason for the season you’re in.
If we can learn to “Give what He takes and take what He gives with a smile,”* then we’ve found the secret to contentment: a love that trusts that God is always, always good.
Whatever this is for you, this is not forever.
The secret that can solve all our problems can be described in one word: Contentment. And it can be found in one word: Jesus.
*Mother Teresa, Come Be My Light.
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