If asked I will be the first to tell you that the house our family lives in now isn’t where we want to be. I could list off the problems we have with the location, the disappointments and heartbreaks we’ve faced in our 2 years here, and all the reasons we feel we’d love to raise our family on my grandparents land. But that’s not the point of this so I won’t. For the last year or so since we realized that the plans we had for this house were not going to come to be, I’ve been making myself miserable over hating it. Feeling that hurt and grief over crushed dreams every time I look in my backyard. And it shows in the way I haven’t taken care of it or maintained it. Overgrown flowerbeds, piles of construction debris, clutter and mayhem inside the house. I hadn’t wanted to spend time keeping it nice, or improving it in anyway, because I was angry about our lost vision and I didn’t feel like the house “deserved any tlc”.
Now at this point your either thinking “what a spoiled baby” or “dang that’s me”. Either way, hang with me a minute because some redemption is coming. About a month ago I experienced a miscarriage. It was an unexpected pregnancy to begin with, and the subsequent loss left me reeling. I felt desperate for a fresh start and a new direction. I wanted more than anything to move someplace new immediately and start over. Luckily I have a husband who is much less rash in his decision making, but still understood my need for action, so we started to make plans for how we would save our money, and what our goals were for building a house in the location we dream of living.
As I started thinking about what would need to be done in order for us to move out of our house, I realized that there was no way we could leave it in the state that it was. We rent this house from my parents and if we were to pack up our stuff and move out of here tomorrow, there was going to be a lot of work that would need done just on the outside of the house and yard, to get it ready to rent again. So, to help me feel like I was doing something to move us in the right direction I started cleaning up the yard.
At first it was a rage fest, I was like the hulk, piling up heavy construction debris to burn, tearing out overgrown landscaping, pulling weeds, the whole time just wanting it done so I could check one thing off my mental list of tasks that would help us be ready to move. But as time went on, as I started to see parts of our yard that had looked like a jungle, become useable again, my heart started to change. I started to remember that even though our dreams didn’t happen here, God was here. Even though my heart had been broken here, we’d had joyful times here too. It wasn’t the house’s fault, and me treating it poorly, not taking care of what God had given us, would not make me feel better, only worse.
Some of the best advice I’ve gotten for loving your enemies, is to pray for them to be blessed. So my advice for being content where you are, whether it’s in your job, your home, your church, etc. is to work hard to take care of it, make it the best you can with the resources you have, pour into your now, and stop spending all your energy living in some distant future where you have everything you think you want. In short, BE a blessing in your current circumstances, and you’ll learn to love them.
To my mind, stewardship, taking care of what you’ve been blessed with, using it well and wisely, that IS contentment. It isn’t glamorous, it isn’t going to blend in with your Instagram feed, but it will bring joy to your everyday.