Sitting in my kitchen/conservatory eating my porridge this morning, I looked around and what did I see?
Dog hairs on the sofa, chipped paint on the walls, long cobwebs hanging off the light, a messy garden through the dirty windows, mud splatters on the walls where wet dogs have shaken themselves dry, and the list goes on.
I found myself thinking of the 15 women who'd been in my kitchen last Saturday, realising that they must have noticed all this dirt and mess too. Within 3 minutes (by the end of my porridge!) I was grumbling, worrying what people thought of me and feeling discontent
THEN I remembered my preach from a short two weeks ago which (surprise surprise) was all about discontent and grumbling....and about changing perspective, giving thanks and "learning the secret of being content".
THEN I remembered:
- the evening this week when a friend and I had our hair done in this same space - and we laughed and chatted and shared the real things that are going in I our lives ; and the three of us were encouraged by stories of answered prayer during this month of prayer and use of the prayer room.
- the birthday cards on the dresser, for our now adult son, and his birthday banner and pictures displayed in this space, of him as a toddler and young boy.
- the family meals we've shared this week (both the decent and the rubbish ones!)
- the teenagers making cupcakes and covering the entire space in icing sugar
- the sleeping dogs lying in their beds following a lovely long rainy run in the woods
- the spring bulbs that I planted, that I can see growing through the (still dirty) windows
And my perspective changed
And instead of grumbling, I gave thanks
And those ladies that filled my kitchen last Saturday?
New friends and old friends. All women helping other women in their churches to find friendship, belonging, faith and hope in God. The place was filled with laughter, chatter and understanding.
This was part of a lovely encouraging email I received afterwards from a lovely lady who perhaps also noticed all the flaws in my kitchen, but chose instead to remember the good:
"The room seemed to be buzzing with the fun, energy and passion, all flowing out of these dynamic, exuberant women who want to serve Jesus to the best of their ability. It is so reassuring and encouraging to share our stories and experiences of trying to sense the Spirit and lead….discovering that we are not alone and that others have had many of the same hiccups, bumps….oh and…..joys along the way…..the sheer relief of sharing with those who reallyunderstand the tensions of planning, organisation, mobilising the volunteer servers…….and…….those wild, over-the-top creative ideas that almost killed us to deliver…..and the lessons learned!!!!! What a privilege to meet these great women and have the opportunity to exchange ideas and share stories."
I am learning the secret of being content, and it's an ongoing process. I'm thankful for the Holy Spirit's promoting this morning to change my perspective, as I don't want my life to grow the "bitter root" from grumbling.
I'm going to take some time this week to listen again to my preach - I know I need it! Here's a link if you do too.
"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:11-13
“Joy is always a function of gratitude – and gratitude is always a function of perspective. If we are going to change our lives, what we’re going to have to change is the way we see.” Ann Voskamp