Do you ever find yourself having a déjà vu moment? Saying I thought haven’t I been here before? I already learned this lesson?!
I have been having some of those moments lately. Our pastor sometimes uses the illustration that each of us is taking a different class in the program of sanctification. One person maybe be in the midst of a class on joy, another grace, another perserverence, etc. We may each be at different places because we are learning in different classes.
This week I sighed a heavy sigh when I found myself again in the class of Trusting. I lamented to my husband Does this mean I flunked out the first time? I didn’t learn it well enough so I have to take it again?
It could be true.
But we decided that might have been Trusting 101…and this is Trusting 102. Like Lewis said…"if you do one good deed your reward usually is to be set to do another and harder and better one” (The Horse and His Boy)… and this is not something that we usually like to hear!
Being single was hard. While it has some wonderful opportunities it also has some things I really didn’t care for. As my friends began to get married and I found myself without any “possibilities” I started saying if only I was married. Then….. [insert whatever I was bummed about at the time]. The problem with this is that when you think this way, attaining that thing will not make you happy. Living each day with an If Only mentality only teaches you a habit of discontentment. When you attain the thing you will only find something else to be discontent about.
If only I was married… if only I had kids… if only I wasn’t married… if only the kids were in school… if only the kids were out of school, home more, if only it was winter, summer, etc.
So I decided to learn to love where I was, to “be content with such things as you have, for God has said never will I leave you, never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). And I found the words of Minot J. Savage to be true who said “Go not abroad for happiness. For see it is a flower that blooms at thy door” (Quoted in Home Warming). Joy was right under my nose, if only I had eyes to see it!
I saw it, and it was beautiful.
So I thought I was done with the If Onlys… but they snuck up on me again when I wasn’t looking!
It is so easy to compare. Yet comparing kills joy. I get stuck looking at all the gifts He gave someone else and wishing I had them or wondering why He didn’t give them to me. But when I do this I miss out on all the unique gifts and joys He has given to me. I fail to trust that He is a loving father who knows what I need, has my best interests in mind, and wants to glorify Himself through me. That He “longs to be gracious to you” (Isaiah 30:18). How can I forget a God like this? But I do.
So I will go back... go back to the class of trusting. Go back to counting gifts and blessings. Go back to searching for Him here and now. Go back to find Him who "fills everything in every way" (Ephesians 1:23).
Open my eyes to see the joy He has planted on my doorstep :)