The past month or so, at the recommendation of a like-hearted friend who recently moved with her family to Spain, I picked up Elisabeth Elliot's book, Keep a Quiet Heart. What a blessing this has been to read and pray over in the mornings. I feel as if I am sitting across the table from a wise and godly woman who is not afraid to say difficult things to me. And I am so thankful for the mentor she is to me right now.
One key area that God has used her words to encourage me is in the area of contentment, as opposed to complaining. God had been prompting me to choose to be content with our last few weeks in the home we're in, before moving into our apartment in August (which He abundantly showed us at the beginning of July!). I began praying regularly towards this, and the Spirit has clearly checked my attitude and corrected me when I would begin to give in to discontentment and/or a poor perspective of this waiting time.
Mrs. Elliot brought my attention to a few verses to this end that have consistently been an encouragement in my life. I am so grateful.
Verses like these from Psalm 73, "You hold me by my right hand... There is nothing on earth that I desire besides You... God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever... But for me, the nearness of God is my good..." And these from Psalm 16, "The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup, You have made my lot secure... The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance... I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices... You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
And then some that took on new meaning, like James 1:2 (Phillips' translation), "When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives, my brothers, don't resent them as intruders but welcome them as friends." And Matthew 16:25, "Whoever loses his life for Me will find it."
Speaking with both Gregory and a friend last week, I was telling them how God has been leading me to proactively resist the temptation to complain. We're still in the honeymoon phase of culture shock. The differences are fascinating and intriguing and even quaint. Soon, I know, some of these differences will become sore, glaring, unwelcome reminders that, "I am a foreigner here," and I so deeply want to honor God in the midst of those feelings. I want to choose to be content in what He has given, to rejoice in these trials and even thank Him for them, not to give in to complaint and discontentment. I believe that our God is good, and that in Him, I have great grounds for rejoicing. I long to choose to do just that.
At the inspiration of two others who have done this before, I accepted a challenge to 14 days of absolutely no complaining. Though cracked and broken, I believe the Spirit is bringing about beautiful, everlasting fruit in this pot of clay.