I feel like sharing what God’s been doing in my lately. It may be personal, but I think it’s good to share what God is doing.
For those who have been to our house before, there are somethings that you notice. The thing we get comments on sometimes are the lack of things. Toys? yes. Stuff? yes. Furniture? no. We have the basics, but there are rooms in our house that are just open with toys spread everywhere.
Knut and I didn’t expect to have a full house of furniture when we moved into this beautiful house. We’re big Dave Ramsey fans. We’ve been focusing on the baby steps for a few years now. It’s gotten to the point where we want to pay cash only for things, and try to do things the right way. We promised each other not to focus on furniture until all our debt is paid off. With the car and credit cards done, we’ve just got our student loans left. Well, we finished mine. Now Knut’s is left.
You would think it would get easier, as we’re getting closer to paying off debt, and closer to saving for things like a dining room set. But it doesn’t. Being so close to having money, kinda feels like you already have it. Why not just borrow the money, if we’re going to be able to pay it back in not too long? No, it gets much harder.
Then the thoughts sink in that we’ve been good for so long. We deserve to take a little break from it. Sometimes I look on the craigslist adds from our area, and see if there’s anything I could find a good deal on. (A habit Knut has been trying to get me to quit.) The frustration sank in again yesterday, when I found the most perfect dining room set. I have written down everything I wanted in a set, and this one fits every letter of that list. And it’s 1/4 of the cost we we’re planning on saving for a set. These days are hard.
The more I’ve been praying about it, the more I’ve come to realize that it’s not a matter of whether or not we can afford it. It’s a matter of walking in obedience to God, and doing what he has called us to do. The first Bible passage God brought to mind was the story of Abraham and Hagar. God had made a promise to Abraham, but Abraham and Sarah thought God was taking a very long time. Hagar seemed like a perfect solution. Hey, if God didn’t want Hagar to conceive, she wouldn’t have, right? But she did. It ended up causing great pain.
Situations like this follow a theme that seems to have been going on in my spiritual life lately of doing things God’s way. A few months back, I was put on the nursery commity at church. I had no desire to be on it, but I was. I was at a women’s ministry meeting later on, and they said if you’d rather be somewhere else, just to let them know. I was about to go and talk to someone about it. I’d much rather be on the missions commity.
But God started convicting me when I started walking over to the person who I needed to talk to in order to make the change. What had I done for the nursery? Was it beneath me? God plopped a ministry on my lap, and I had done nothing. It reminded me of a story a friend of ours told about the first time he was asked to make coffee for a Bible study, and being a new believer, he wept about thinking he was not worthy to make coffee for God’s children.
Another story that comes to mind is the parable of the talents. The master had entrusted different amounts of money to different people. Do I hoard, or do I invest? It’s times like this that I need parables like that. When I started praying about this dining room set yesterday, God has spoken so clearly to me, that I need to use what he has given me already. And he has given me so much!
When we first got this house, Knut and I were so overwhelmed. I never imagined we’d ever live in a place so beautiful. We’ve had several talks about how we want it to be a sancuary not just for us, but for other people. We love having people over, and we do it as often as we can. The 2 summers we have lived here we have hosted literally dozens of people. It’s our ministry as a family. We see it more as God’s house than ours.
Which is why I want a dining room table. But the timing is wrong. We still need to tear down the plaster and re-insulate the dining room before we furnish it. The fireplace needs to get done before that! It’s so easy to say “I could get it done faster if I scrap the plan, and do it my way.”
It’s made me think that “contentment” is not a passive thing. It’s active. It’s not believing that you’ll never need anymore, but what you need will be there when you need it. It’s using the things you have, instead wasting time lusting after things you don’t have. It’s not the lack of dreaming, but the certainty that God’s dreams are bigger. That dining room set may have been what I would have picked out, but I’m sure it doesn’t hold a candle to the one God has picked out for me to have, at the right time. That’s exciting to think about. Our God is so good.