Life has been pretty ordinary lately. Now, don’t get me wrong, by ordinary I don’t mean that it’s been in any way negative. In fact, life in its ordinary-ness has been really, really good.
Have you ever been in a season where the mundane is so good that you don’t want it to change? That’s odd coming from me—I’m notorious for being passionate and excited about doing anything that involves taking risks and being uncomfortable. So, the fact that I am content with being…ordinary…isn’t something I’m necessarily used to.
Sometimes the feeling is so odd that I almost psych myself into thinking something is wrong. I almost feel guilty about it, “Am I too comfortable? Is there something I’m missing…something more I need to do?” I let these thoughts consume me at times. Work is going well…ministry great…and marriage is amazing. “Is it time for a change?”
I know getting uncomfortable is always a good thing. Taylor and I have wrestled, and prayed, and really thought about ways we could live simpler, give more. But considering we don’t go shopping EVER, and we live in a tiny apartment that consists of mostly bargain thrift items, we really can’t think of things we could cut in the current moment. We even considered moving to a different place that would thrust us into a new, uncomfortable environment, but with all the traveling for the holiday season coming up, moving anytime soon wouldn’t be the most effective mode of…well, being more effective. We also live right by where we do ministry…so, why would we want to leave the neighborhood we’re trying to reach?
We wrestled with these questions and these ideas for weeks. A few nights ago, I expressed to Taylor (yet again) how I was feeling, asking him if he thought it was just me—psyching myself out of being okay with loving normalness—or if it was a legit conviction that we needed to act on. We thought (yet again) about ways we could do more.
…and then a very relevant passage came to mind: “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11b-13).
Did you catch that? Most of us tend to focus on the last part of that passage, while missing the entirety of what Paul was trying to say to the church in Philippi. He was letting them know that they did not need to be concerned for him (even though he was in prison at the moment), and that he rejoiced because of the truth that he had learned to be content in every season. As he says, he had learned how to live in abundance and he had learned how to live in need. He’d learned how to be content in both—plenty and hunger.
Learning to live well while in poverty seems to make sense…but learning to live well in abundance? That seems odd, doesn’t it? But, if we think about it, it’s easier to be more focused and more faithful when there’s less to distract you, and when there’s more reason to rely on your faith. As we talked about this, my hubby posed a loaded question: “do you think God is teaching us how to be obedient and faithful even in times of ease?”
This led us to think about the fact that life is indeed in seasons. Will we forever be living in the current condition we are living in now? Not at all. Will we always live on the beautifully historic St. Charles Avenue, in a picturesque little apartment? Certainly not. Will I always get paid to do work I love (work with Autistic children) AND all the while get paid to do ministry in a field that I absolutely adore? Doubtful. Will my hubby get to go into work every single day surrounded by his favorite product…bringing home batches of the precious bean that he’s had the opportunity to roast himself? Not forever.
While living in my favorite kind of normalcy, I’m reminded to rejoice, because one-day (and probably a lot nearer in the future than I think) life will lead me into a difficult season. And in those moments of difficulty, I can look back to times like these…and be reminded that in the same way, I will have to learn how to be content.
But for now, I must learn how to be more present, more joyful, more generous, and more encouraging to those around me who may be experiencing that difficult season right now. Like Paul, I am to steward this time well. May my thankfulness overflow into praise…and more than praise, may my abundance in this season overflow right into the hands of those in need.
What kind of season are you experiencing right now, friend? How are you stewarding it?