Two primary goals I had when I started this blog were to 1. document some of the daily happenings around our home and 2. document some of the things that God is teaching me. No audience is necessary to reach these goals but I figure if someone else can either laugh with me, at me or learn alongside me its all for the better. The tip I have today is not particularly creative or as much a tip as it is a goal but I figure if I am learning it myself I may as well share it here. I find that in learning how to apply creativity to every area of my life I can easily get overwhelmed and discouraged. I try so hard to find the perfect schedule or routine or time management skill that makes my life perfect by allowing me to get everything done that I want to accomplish and enjoy life too. That is quite a lofty goal and one that I believe is unattainable because I often look in all the wrong places to figure out what it is I am supposed to be doing.
The tip (or should I say life lesson) today is to learn to be content. Phil. 4:13 says "For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." I want that to be true of my life, knowing that I have strength to do all things. So, if I am empowered by Christ to do everything why is it that I sometimes end up feeling as though I have accomplished nothing? This verse is a great encouragement to many people but in the context of the preceding verses it becomes much more clear as to what the "everything" includes. Vs. 11-13 say, "Not that I (Paul) was ever in need, for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." The impact of verse 13 seems so much more powerful to me when I recognize that Paul is talking about contentment in the life circumstances I am in rather than the power to do everything I want and think I should do. I need to learn to be content in the life God has given me rather than be on a self improvement plan to get the life I want. I have to remind myself that God cares more about my contentment than my productivity.
I have a deep desire to be a creative wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, volunteer, and well you get the idea. You see there are so many different roles we all have in life that to be creative in all of them is only possible when we recognize we need to be content in all of them. Constantly striving to be the best, most creative person in every area of my life causes discontent because I am never able to attain the perfection I long for. I try so hard to be content in the things I think "should be" that I miss out on being content in the here and now. Linda Dillow - "Most of us either try too hard or we quit trying. In both cases, we miss God. We miss His infusion of strength that leads to contentment." I like that quote because I am a person who try's too much and often I miss God's strength because I am just going about doing my own thing in my own way. I often apply creativity to life trying to change my circumstances rather than resting in His strength to help me right where I am at. Paul is reminding us that we are to learn to be content and trust that God will give us the strength to do so. Paul learned something that I am still learning. I am not sure that it was ever his plan to live on an empty stomach or have little, but he learned that it was not for him to strive to get out of it, he could have applied every effort he had to find a creative solution to deal with his circumstance but instead he learned to be content. This leads me to ask myself whether or not I want God's strength to accomplish my plans or if I want His strength to learn to be content.
I get overwhelmed by using creativity in my different roles when I lose focus on being content in them. God wants me to learn to trust Him to guide me and lead me rather than looking to other sources for validation of my efforts. God wants me to be faithful to accomplish that which He wants me to do and to go about that creatively but I do not want to lose sight of God in the midst of my plans to accomplish everything. I want my "everything" to line up with the "everything" He has for me. Contentment is not an easy path and it is something that must be learned. Some gifts God gives us are free and require nothing more than our faith and trust in Him but the gift of contentment is one that comes as we learn to rest in Him and learn to know His voice in our life. I am so glad God is a patient teacher as my learning curve is not always the speed I would prefer. Contentment is a journey and I am glad that you are reading about how God is using it to change me for His glory.