My arena is growing. The process is disruptive, time-consuming, expensive, frustrating, and exciting. Part of the old fence is gone and the new location is marked. Change is constant. Being content amid change is a gift of grace. Contentment is owning where you are.
More certain than taxes is change. Today is not a carbon copy of yesterday. “Groundhog Day” is a movie, not reality. Some folks love change. Others loathe it.
I have more wrinkles than I used to but fewer than I’ll have next year. More of my friends have chronic or devastating illnesses. That’s bad. But the friendships, more seasoned with time, are stronger, sweeter, and deeper. That’s good.
Even when circumstances are not as you’d like, it’s possible to remain peaceful, calm, and secure. Sometimes life is so hard that even contentment appears out of reach. But it is.
To be clear, contentment isn’t the same as happiness.
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” – Philippians 4:11
It’s possible to be content by settling for less than you should. Contentment can be an excuse to quit, to stop trying.
A Work in Progress
You’re in transition, as I am. In matters of faith, God intends to move us from glory to glory. As days pass, our out-of-focus mirror becomes more clear. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
No matter where you are today, you’re some place between where you were and where you’re going. Between who you were and who you’re going to be. Your walk with Christ is transformative. He doesn’t leave you as or where He found you. He’s too faithful for that. Which produces change.
The past six months brought many changes to my writing, horse training, and an arena fence project. The fence project is of limited duration, but still a test of contentment.
It’s tempting to think, “I can’t wait until the new arena is ready. Managing horses is tough when their neighborhood is off limits.”
Temptation comes in many forms. It’s goal is stealing your joy, your witness, fellowship with your Lord, and your peace.
Managing Change Productively
Creativity isn’t my long suit. But solving problems is. Figuring out how to benefit during change is a valuable life skill.
The old fence is partially there. Reminding me of what was. Some of which will be reused. Our new selves always retain some of our old.
The old fence was a quality, straight, excellent border. The arena served me well for years. Our goal for the new fence is for equal quality, nothing more. There was nothing wrong with the old fence except it was in the wrong place.
That’s the thing about change. Maybe there was nothing wrong with you yesterday, but yesterday moved. God may need you elsewhere. Not a better you, but you in a different place.
What matters most in life is the in-between. No one chooses the time of their birth or death. Life is what happens in-between. Character is expressed in-between. Our response to pressure, success, love, rejection, and change is revealed in-between.
Some folks wish their lives away, waiting for the perfect moment when they graduate, marry, have children, buy a house, or retire. Or finish an arena fence.
Success isn’t based on your destination, but the manner in which you make the journey. And how well you share it with others.
Perfect moments are purposefully made. Make today great. It’s all you have. If bliss isn’t possible, choose contentment.
My horses can’t always do what they like, but they’re content doing what I ask. Even when that requires work, sweat, and impulsion. Left to their own devices they’d graze, nap, and turn into blobs of uselessness. Cute hairy uselessness.
I provide motivation. Options. Change. Action. Vision.
That’s what Jesus does for us. He provides motivation. Options, Change. Action. Vision. To move us closer to where He is. He doesn’t abandon us to become great hairy blobs of uselessness, cute or otherwise.
Own Your Today
Change is good.
In any event, change is certain.
Embrace it, because clingy doesn’t look good on anyone. Contentment is a choice. The Apostle Paul was dropped into a passel of bad circumstances, yet was content.
Contentment gets closer to happiness when you own your today, whether you’re in a hurricane of change or the annoying drip-drip of delay.
But we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. – Romans 5:3-5
This post is the text from the May 2018 Newsletter. To subscribe, enter your email in the box in the sidebar.
It’s July 7, 2018 and the arena project is almost finished. Another two good work days and we’ll cross the finish line. I’ve ridden in it a few times and feel so blessed! My horses have more room to roam between the paddock, covered pen, and much larger arena. In times when they can’t get into the pasture, that’s a biggie for us – and them!
Change has bumps. We’ve experienced few. Yet, we’ve been content with the process. We didn’t expect it to be seamless. The end result is worth it.
Kinda like relationship with Jesus Christ. There will be days of change and sanctification isn’t seamless. Contentment is a choice.
May you be greatly blessed!