Saturday, December 19, 2009

Chasing Contentment

"I have learned to be content, whatever my circumstances."

Philippians 4:11

Let me start off by saying that I am still learning.  In fact, I'd have to say I'm in the kindergarten of contentment school.

Living in Doha has been a challenge in more way than one.  Besides the whole matter of adjusting the the culture change, there is another issue which is like a constant thorn in my side.  You see, most of the people who live here (well, Western expatriates anyways) are here for the money.  Salaries here are much higher than in the States.  And there's nothing wrong with that.  Heck, that's why we are here.  Hubby is making much more money here than he would ever make in the U.S.  

However, because of foolish choices we made in the past, we aren't really seeing the benefits of making all that money.  We have quite a bit of debt that we are working hard towards paying down.  Which means that almost everything we bring in which either doesn't go towards groceries, school tuition, or the orthodontist pretty much goes towards that cause.  Which is a good choice.  I know that, I really do.  But...

It's really hard to remember that when almost everyone you know is going on fabulous trips all the time.  Now, to understand why this is such an issue for me you have to know that I love to travel.  If I won a million dollars, I would first tithe and then blow it all on traveling.  Just a sampling of where some friends are headed to this vacation:

Rome, India, South Korea, Bali, Switzerland, London, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bethlehem, Dubai, Hong Kong, Barcelona and Vienna.  There's not a single place I wouldn't love to go to.

But the worst?  The one that is like sticking a knife in my heart?  It's the people who are going home.  They are so lucky and it stinks that I can't be happy for them.  I'm just so jealous and borderline depressed.  I mean, I know that in the grand scale of life, not being able to travel is so unimportant, but it's feels awful not to be able to do what everyone else is doing.  

I find myself resenting being here.  Resenting that we gave up so much back home and still aren't able to just do whatever we want, whenever we want.  Resenting that I left all my friends behind. Feeling like we are the only people here who ever even think about money.  Disappointed that life here didn't turn out to be all that we hoped it would.

And then today I found this quote on a friend's Facebook status message:

"I found out that the things that hurt us the most can become the fuel and the catalyst that propel us toward our destiny. It will either make you bitter or it will make you better." T.D. Jakes

I can allow myself to wallow in self-pity and become bitter by my disappointment or I can use this situation to draw closer to Jesus.  I firmly believe that it is in the hard places where we grow to depend more on God and see His hand working.

I have to cling to the knowledge that God is in control of my life.  That in whatever circumstances I am in, it's His will and He is working to accomplish His purposes.  That I can trust Him to do what is ultimately best for me.  

I hope that I can learn to find contentment in that.  The knowledge that God is always working in my life, through the good and the bad, should help me to keep things in perspective and to stay positive.  

My life is in His hands.


Claire said...

Oh boy, Lori. Every time I see a post on someone's blog about contentment, I almost click off. I struggle every day to be content, and rarely succeed. :( I would feel just as you do, but you are right that God is in control, and we do have consequences for our actions: in both our cases, it sounds like that's wracking up debt.

I'll keep you in my prayers.

Leeann said...

I am not sure that humans, by our very nature, can be content. Maybe it is some kind of survival instinct- that contentment means you will get lazy and eaten by a dinosaur. lol

Hang in there, girlie. You have been grown and stretched in so many, many ways.



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