Friday, June 18, 2010

Am I Really Content?

Be careful which sins you allow yourself to think you don't have a problem with...

I tend to think of myself as not a covetous person. After all, I don't crave fancy cars, high end jewelry, or a huge mansion. I certainly don't need the latest gadgets, the newest computer, or designer jeans.

But I have come to realize, during the wee small hours of this morning, that I still do have a covetous spirit...

I think of the strawberry and raspberry plants that I managed to kill, and I wish I knew how to garden.

My four year old daughter tells me that she'd like to make a little yellow jacket for the baby, with little canary yellow buttons sewn on, and I wish I was a knitter, a seamstress, or both.

I visit friend's homes that are beautifully well kept, with a place for everything, and everything in its place, and I wish that clutter wasn't a constant battle for me. I wish it would come to me as easily as it seems to come to them.

I think of women I know whose husband's have home businesses, and I wish we could spend that much time together as a family.

I wish the zoning board would allow us to keep chickens.

I wish I weren't allergic to cats.

I wish I weren't such an untrained housewife, having to learn so much of this as I go, reinventing the wheel along the way, and wondering if I'll even be able to learn how to keep order, and garden, and knit, and sew, in time to teach my daughter.

Not exactly the conventional definition of coveting, but coveting nonetheless.

I recently read a piece written by a woman, describing all the amazing things her mother did as a homemaker while she was growing up. The list was designed to show just how happy and productive a woman's life inside the home can be, but it put me to shame and brought me to tears. How can I possibly be a good wife and mother if I can't can vegetables, keep a beautiful flower garden, sew dresses for my daughter, and teach my children how to play piano, all the while keeping the house company-ready, just inviting opportunities for drop-of-the-hat hospitality?

I'm not good enough. How can I ever be good enough?

Then, it hit me like a train...

Comparing my weaknesses to the strengths of others, while neglecting to be grateful for the gifts and abilities God has given to me, is coveting at its lowest, and truly smacks of idolatry.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 
1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (NASB)

While I'm pretty sure there isn't a spiritual gift of house-cleaning--and if there is, I certainly don't have it--I think the same principle can be applied. God did not create me to be the clone of Martha Stewart, June Cleaver, or anybody else for that matter. He made me, with all my weaknesses and shortcomings, to honor and glorify Him. 

If I were able to live a life that was my definition of "perfect", what need would I have for God? Surely in my sinful pride I would forsake Him...I would gain the whole world, and yet forfeit my soul (Matthew 16:26).

And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9a (NASB)

Grace. Ah, all comes back to grace. How could I be more blessed than to be an object of His grace? Father, forgive me.

Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
2 Corinthians 12:9b (NASB)

Boast about my weaknesses? I confess that I don't think I'm there yet. I'm not even sure what that would look like.

Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake;
2 Corinthians 12:10a (NASB)

I read these verses, and words like "distresses"..."persecutions"...and a lump forms in my throat. When have I ever experienced real distress or true persecution?

Content...for Christ's I?...could I really be?

For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:10b (NASB)

LORD, I believe. Please help my unbelief. (Mark 9:24)

May it be so, according to Your Word. Amen.


Melissa said...

well put. i see some unconventional covetousness in myself as grateful to know when we see it...identify it...THEN we can work toward becoming FrEE of it through Christ!
Glad you shared!

Kevin Miller said...

Great writing Tiana...this is a HUGE deal, I hope folks read it and realize how this sabotages their lives. Being content with what God has given us...and even more, how he's made us. Not to cop out, I'm always trying to grow and I don't like excuses for not doing what needs to be done. But I have unique strengths. I'm to use them, flourish in them, bless and inspire people with them. Other people can flourish in their strengths. So hey...thanks for this writing, and for sharing a great strength God's blessed you with.

Carol Flett said...

Others are probably reading your blog and thinking, "I wish I could write like that."

Just when I start thinking that I'm not covetous someone gets a new plant, one that I know would go so well in my garden ...

Mrs. Teasley said...

Taking the journey with you. I am guilty of the same. I didn't have homemaking training of any type other than the "How to stitch a button on and use a sewing machine" tutorial that my grandma gave me that one night when I was in high school. Thank goodness for Google! Lol! We strive to be more like Christ and like who he would have us be, but I think too many get caught up in the technicalities of it all and lose sight of the bigger picture, who we serve. It isn't about perfection, and Lord knows that I have failed a hundred times over. Trial and error is the story of my life. :-) Now I keep notebooks on cooking, homesteading, parenting, and anything else that catches my fancy so that I can take notes and learn what to repeat (or not repeat) next time, and make notes of successful endeavors. At least that way, I will have something to pass down to my girls, unlike how I (we) had it. The hardest part is laying our weaknesses and failures at the feet of Jesus, and then asking Him to renew us with His strength and wisdom, because we know we can't do it on our own strength and smarts. I am willing to share the little bit that I know, if there is anything that you would want to know. :-) That's what us sisters in Christ are here for! <3

Anonymous said...


According to Titus 2, older women teach the younger women everything that they can in order to pass on reverence and keep holy the Word of God. Yes! Your gifts and your love for God are what He intends for you to pass onto your sweet daughter.

And coming from a young woman whose mother was unable to pass on any of her housemaker skills, I can tell you that the greatest thing that you can ever teach your daughter is to love the Lord with a passion that puts her hands to work beyond just taking care of a house that will eventually fade with the world. Teach your daughter to [sew] into the Kingdom of heaven.

Love Abounds At Home said...

That's such a great post!

When I compare myself to other women, I always fall short. I had to learn to be content with what I have. One day I realized that all the eggs are put into one basket. Where I am weak, another sister is strong. Where my sister is weak, I am strong. So imagine the power if we come together to build the Kingdom of God.

Love your transparency :)

A glimpse of me.... said...

So well said. Such an inspiration! But that would be nice to have the gift of house-cleaning or maybe making your kiddos not make messes. LOL


Karen (Canadian Soldier's Wife) said...

Thanks for this... just tonight I rather needed the encouragement as I'm struggling with my own "wishing" and comparing myself to an imagined superwife.

Michelle said...

This is a great post! I wrote something similar recently titled I need 32000 soldiers.... Look forward to reading more from you!

Anonymous said...

The Proverbs 31 woman did not do it all in one season. Many of these skills can be picked up one at a time. I have had seasons of all these. I do not do them all at once. I find a book on a skill that I want to learn and do that until I am skilled. After 20 years I have done many different things, but just one at a time. It keeps life from being monotonous. When my children were tiny, I chose very simple projects. Now that they are teenagers, I can knit complicated lace shawls while waiting for them at youth symphony practice once a week. I have been working on my current project for a year. A sweater before that took 5 years, but a little time here and there finished it. I have a quilt I have been working on since before my 14 year old was born. I put it away when my children were tiny and just pulled it out again. A collegue of mine is an amazing cook, but her mother never let her in the kitchen. When she got married, she taught herself, one recipe at a time. By the way, maybe your soil is the problem. Pick up the book "Lasagna Gardening." No digging, no tilling, no weeds, great produce. That could be your science lesson. If you know someone who is really good at something you want to learn, ask them to show you. As a teacher, I am constantly looking at other teachers for ideas for improvement. That isn't coveting. I had always been a messy, but by watching my mother-in-law and applying her efficiency ideas, I have greatly improved.

Anonymous said...

I tried to read this article on LAF but none of the links are working for me. I can't read full articles or comment. There is no way to tell them that there is a problem since it might not be just me. Your link is the only one that would open. Maybe you could contact them so they could fix it?

Tiana said...

Good Morning!

The lovely admins over at LAF are aware of the problem, and are diligently working to fix it. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Thanks for letting us know!



K-tribe said...

Thank you for this. Yes I struggle with some of these same things but have learned to push through some things. I have a chose to get things done that will be hanging over my head when my husband gets home.
I am no Martha S. that is for sure! I have learned to walk in His Grace and choose and try new things that I didn't think I could do and have enjoyed learning what kind of women God wants and sees me to be.. :)

Mountain Home Quilts said...

Well, I did have an entire comment typed up on this but then my 9mo old turned my computer off and I lost it! :)
So, in short, I know how you feel becuase I have felt these things before. Thanks for sharing this! :)

Cheryl said...

Thank you so much for your thoughtful reflections. You have no idea how much your articles have helped my perspective in areas where I have been struggling for so long. I am grateful to you for taking the time and the effort to share.

Tiana said...

Thank you, Cheryl. I'm so happy to have encouraged you. God Bless!

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I'm a Stay-at-Home, Christian, "crunchy" mama. I have been blessed with the calling to be a godly wife and mother. I am passionate about bringing up my children in the discipline and instruction of the LORD, through home education and discipleship. Helpmeet to my best friend and soulmate, Christopher since 1/29/2000, and mama to four little blessings, including a tiny, precious, newborn baby girl.

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Bible--Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos, Apologia Biblical World View Book 1, "Who is God and Can I Really Know Him?"
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