I so badly wanted to start this first paragraph with “we’re having a heat wave.” But then I would have to dig out my White Christmas dvd and sing every song from that wonderful musical all day long. My family would hate it. I would be in a very happy place.
But really we are having some kind of heat here in Minnesota. It is summer after all. But for me living with a chronic illness in some kind of heat means more than finding some kind of shade. It means staying inside. A lot. Most days you’ll find me watching summer happen from the patio window, or admiring my perennial garden from a distance while not letting the weeds distract me, or laughing at the cardinals, goldfinches, and robins fight for their fair share of the bird bath space. Most days it’s all look but do not touch.
Living summer on the inside teaches me a lot if I let it. Oh, I’ve run from these lessons plenty. Years’ worth of plenty. Most days it just seemed easier to be grumpy/whiny/frustrated/sad/mad about it. I do that combination well. Ugly, but well. But then God stepped in like He always does. Maybe I’m like Him when I sit back, watch my girls put on their ugly, and just wait them out. How patient He is!
God has chosen this summer to get into my business, my ugly business. There have been many days when the fight with ugly has brought me to my knees. And that’s where He really got me. “Deb, when you live summer on the inside without the ugly, I receive that as an offering.” Want to know the name of that offering? Contentment. An offering of contentment.
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Phil 4:11b
The key word there for me is learned. The Greek definition is to learn by use or practice, to be in the habit of, to be accustomed to.
Learning contentment is a habit. A habit takes practice. A record breaking hot summer has been the perfect scenario to practice contentment. My habit of ugly went pretty deep. But with each choice to focus on what I could do, what I was grateful for chipped away at the ugly. In practicing my offering of contentment, God has opened my eyes to see Him in ways my habit of ugly kept hidden.
When I am able to be out, trust me when I tell you I celebrate it big! I breathe deep. I dig in the dirt. I walk and walk and walk. And I may even take a twirl in the backyard. Maybe. Only the neighbor’s dog knows for sure.
How about you? What is your offering of contentment? I’d love to read your story.