Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Learning contentment

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; and in every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. -Phil. 4:11-13

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**Disclaimer: I have no idea what it is like to live by the same "humble means" talked about here. I am aware that I am rich beyond measure and fall heavily on the "prosperity" end of this verse.

I have never really been the type of gal who needs to have the most expensive jeans, make the most extravagant meals, have the cleanest house, or go on the best vacations. I grew up with parents who pretty much taught me that if we're too busy to clean the house top to bottom, we're still having people over, because they are our friends...and if they don't like a pile of papers on the dinng room table, or dust bunnies in the corner, they can have their own opinion, and they probably aren't good friends anyway. My parents were very gracious hosts, but my dad was a pastor, and my mom worked her buns off doing this and that to help out, so we didn't have the cleanest house and the most put-together-looking-life. At Christmas, if I wanted the boots all my friends had, I was probably going to get the ones that looked just like them from Target. Honestly, I think that made me a better person today.
When I started my own life, got married, had my own house to take care of, my own dinners to make, my own clothes to buy and laundry to fold, I started out pretty easy going! We had a tiny little one bedroom and it usually had a big pile of clothes on the dryer and some dirty dishes in the sink, hand-me-down EVERYTHING pretty much...and everyone was ok with that. Well, somewhere along the way, I seemed to get a little less ok with it. Don't get me wrong, the dishes were still in the sink, 80% of what we owned is still from garage sales or thrift stores or was given to us, the clothes were still on the dryer, and the couch, and the dresser, and in the washer (where I forgot about them for 2 days and we couldn't figure out what the mystery sour milk smell stinking up the house was until we found them). Everything was pretty much in the same order as always, but I began to get less and less ok with it being that way. Being at work full time made me resent the housework that I probably wouldn't feel like doing anyway, but the sheer fact that even if I did want to, I wouldn't have the time or energy to. Needing to go out to Chiptole twice a week because I forgetting half the things at the grocery store I went to get in the first place thwarted my dinner plans made me a little more upset than before. The fact that everyone seemed to have brand new sectional sofas and flat screens, and our tv still had (has) a big giant box on the back of it made me disgruntled. Regardless of why, I found myself really upset that my life was not in perfect order all the time. As if I had EVER been like that, or had ever even seen a model of needing to be like that in my own life. God (through my sweet and patient husband) is teaching me to simmer down. Take a break. Enjoy the blessings in my life. Don't spend my energy on things that don't matter. Besides, nobody cares what your house looks like anyway. Think about it, when you go to someone's house for dinner, is the first thing you think:

"gosh its so clean, this person is awesome, nowwww I know I can have a good time"?


"ew they didn't dust the top of the chairs, sick, I'm never coming back, I can't wait to leave"?

No, of course not. I always think

"wow, what a gracious host, wow, what a warm house, wow, what a fun and relaxing time I'm having because Susy Homemaker isn't running around like a chicken with her head cut off trying to was the dishes before she sits down to talk to her guests".

(not word for word, of course.)

Please don't get me wrong, I LOVE having a clean house. I LOVE making dinner for my hubby. I LOVE making our house a nice place to come home to. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a Susy Homemaker, in fact, its all I want to do! I can't wait to stay home all day and make our home lovely and smell good and take care of our babies. All I am saying is that God is teaching me to be content in what we have, the condition that its in, and give myself a little grace on the the things that really don't matter. I'm so proud of our life that God has given us. We're SO blessed. We have everything we could possibly need. I love our home and everything that fills it. Including our marriage. I am ashamed for ever wanting anything more. God has so richly blessed our lives.

So come on over! Don't bother taking off your shoes at the door and I promise you can put your dirty dishes on the counter and I won't even think about touching them until you leave! :-)


  1. LOVE this... good reminder and lesson indeed! I'm with you... it's all about enjoying the ride (not worrying about all the details that get us there!)

  2. i love that you shared this amanda. i think we've all been in a similar place at some point, but we don't all stop to admit the error of this thinking. i'm glad that God is teaching you and growing you through this. my family sounds a lot like yours....anyone was welcome matter the # of dishes in the sink. but for some reason, i'm the total opposite and sometimes i think they wonder if we have the same genes :). i do really appreciate how relational my parents are though and i could definitely take a cue from them on how to be hospitable....i am a (slowly) recovering "martha"....busy doing dishes instead of spending quality time. it's a work in process, but i'm SO much better than i used to be.

    BUT...i have a little confession to make.....i actually do think "gosh its so clean, this person is awesome!" when i walk in someone's super put together house....i don't think it's necessary to have fun obviously, but i'm always super impressed since my house doesn't always look like that :). but....i also don't judge if there's a little mess.

    thanks for sharing your heart lady.

  3. I feel the same way... Isn't it silly how we're so quick to get off track when we'd been on such a good one. I'll be praying for you!

  4. Oh man! I so need to hear this! Come to Canada, it's very posh in some houses. Shoes always have to come off at the door or it's disrespectful, and houses have to be perfect, clean, smell good, must have a flat screen! It's hard to live up too! I'm learning to be frugal, not an easy task. But after having two kids you realize what's most important!! You go Girl!

  5. I love. love. love this post. wow, way to put life in perspective. I am very OCD(ish) about things like that- trying to do the dishes & clear them as soon as my guests are done with them, making things perfection before anyone comes to the house, granted, i still am never happy because i get bored with my decor, and my food might not be good enough, and i might have left one thing un-orginized. So thank you, i needed this. i need to realize how blessed i am, and not worry so much.

  6. Amanda! Thank you so much for sharing your heart. This has encouraged me. I'm just such a little Martha too much of the time and need to focus of being more of a Mary and focusing on the things that really matter!

  7. I loved reading this. I kove a clean home, but would much rather enjoy our family and friends than to have everything just so. There is something wonderful about being okay with leaving dishes alone and savoring company. Thank you!

  8. I feel that way too! I want my house to be clean and to make delicious dinner for my husband and I but it is so impractical for me right now! I'm in school and have a job so I'm pretty much go go go all the time! I just want to know that I won't be embarrassed if a friend drops over unannounced, you know?

    But hey. Their house is probably a mess too, right?

  9. This post is beautiful. I constantly am feeling the same way- my apartment isn't what I want it to be, or I'm finding myself "wanting" be more, to do more....
    Thank you for this :)


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