Faith Spilling Over… Into Everyday Life

When Complaints Crowd Out Contentment

33 Comments

portion and cupMy heart lurched as I stared at the 15 year old pick-up, complete with cobwebs, that was supposed to take my family of 4 from Austin, Texas to Washington D.C. and back.

“You.Have.Got.To.Be.Kidding.” I whispered to God.

“Are you crazy?” I silently asked my husband.

My teeth gritted as I thought back over 20 years of sacrifices serving overseas. God provided for our every need, but sometimes I felt like we were always making do with what looked like never enough. Now on home assignment, we needed a vehicle to make a road trip. A generous friend offered us a truck he never used. Could it make such a long trip? The back seat looked narrow.

I’m ashamed to say that rather than being thankful for God’s provision, my heart rebelled. Why couldn’t we just rent a vehicle more adequate to our needs?

Not exactly the attitude you’d expect from a full-time Christian worker.

Early the next morning, we started off. Thirty minutes down the road, a policeman stopped us for an outdated inspection sticker. One hour and a $150 later, we were on our way again. In the cramped back seat, my stress level rose with each passing hour. Then we hit a severe thunderstorm. Rain pelted down on our suitcases in the back of the truck, and I exploded as my husband and I bickered about how to keep our things from getting soaked.

Really?” I asked God.

Twelve hours later we woke up in a luxury hotel that we hadn’t paid for. As I sat in that hotel room reading my Bible, God convicted me.

I’d let complaints crowd contentment out of my heart.

I read these words that David penned while running for his life from Saul:

psalm 16 5 6

I was challenged to see David choose contentment despite circumstances a lot more difficult than travelling the country in a 15 year old pick-up.

As I read his words, I thought about the places where my boundary lines had fallen. I remembered the advantages of the overseas life God assigned to me: travel, life-changing experiences, and amazing opportunities to see people transformed.

My life assignment is God’s best gift to me.

I want to be thankful for His gift. Like all assignments, mine includes blessings and trials. I may not like the challenges, but they’re part of the process God’s using to shape me for his glory.

When difficult circumstances come up, we find it hard to say, “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.” Illness, financial problems, marital conflict, and work-related stress make it hard to see the pleasant places, but I want to count my blessings, and embrace the life God is giving me.

(I also want to thank Him for that pick-up. It made the whole trip!)

May God open our eyes today so we can see more of Him and say yes to the assignment He’s giving us.

Now it’s your turn. Where have your “boundary lines” fallen? Do you find it easy or difficult to view your life assignment as a gift?

Linking up with Holly Barrett , Meredith Bernard, and Holley Gerth.

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Author: betsydecruz

I want to enjoy the everyday life God is giving me as best I can, even when the road gets bumpy. I love having fun with my teenagers, learning almost anything, and drinking dark roast coffee with my friends.

33 thoughts on “When Complaints Crowd Out Contentment

  1. This was one of my memory verses last year! But I often need the reminder that when I’m following after Him, He places me right where I need to be. Thanks for linking up to Testimony Tuesday!

    • It was one of my memory verses too, Holly! In fact I memorized to the end the Psalm “You fill me with joy in your presence” (verse 11) is my all-time favorite. But I’ve forgotten it again. Need to review it!

  2. Betsy, just beautiful. As I read the verse on your graphic (which is just beautiful!!!), this is what hit me — may we realize our God sets the boundary exactly as He knows is best for us. So often we can look at the boundaries others may have & we do become discontent. But the thing is…our boundaries have been set to keep US secure. He knows our weaknesses, He knows our character, He knows His purposes for us. And He keeps us secure. Safe. Thank you for sharing this today. It blessed me!

  3. Yep! When we look at others’ boundaries, discontent sets in for sure. And yes, our boundaries ARE to keep us secure. Never thought of that, Joanne. Thanks for that good insight!

  4. I love this! Just wrote out that verse for my scripture tree on my desk at work. This is one I need to commit to heart!

  5. Thanks so much for this, Betsy – it’s so much about our attitude and perspective, isn’t it? One of the bloggers I’ve been reading recently, Glennon Melton at Momastery, uses the term “perspectacles” to describe how we can suddenly see things in a new way if we take the time to be thankful instead of complaining. I love that Psalm, too. It was read at our church the day Jonathan was baptized as a baby (12 years ago).

  6. Betsy, I love your transparency here! It is so easy to get bogged down in inconveniences and circumstances that we forget to be thankful. I find when I’m in that “wrong attitude” I literally need to sing His praises…so I turn on my favorite Christian music! Rocking with Mandisa always helps! Thanks for this post!

    • That is a great idea, Ellen. It’s so true that music changes our perspective, especially WORSHIP! Believe me, while we rode around the country in that old brown pick up, K-Love was my salvation! Transformed my attitude more than once!

  7. So much encouragement! I have an ongoing struggle with being thankful. Yet when I choose to be thankful, contentment and joy follow. I’m learning that unthankfulness happens when I make the situation about me and lose an eternal perspective. Beautiful words, Betsy! Thank you!

  8. This is TRUTH spilling over today, Betsy, “My life assignment is God’s best gift to me.” Thank you for this and for the reminder that our assignments in life truly are gifts. Yes, I struggle to see this at times, as well. I can whine louder than my three-year old any given day. But for Grace…Love you!

  9. “I may not like the challenges, but they’re part of the process God’s using to shape me for his glory.” – Love this! I want to spend my life focusing on the light rather than the darkness!

  10. Betsy, I have been here so many times. God has really worked on me in this area and I truly am more content now with the blessings right in front of me, but on days when I am not rested, when life falls apart, etc. it is so easy for me to slip into that complaining mode. It happens to the best of us. Thanks so much for this reminder that He is all I need, provides every need, and I have so much to be grateful for all the time. Amen, girl!

    • Thanks for your word of cheer, Abby. It’s so true that a lack of rest affects us. I try to take care of myself and get rest I need, but there are days (or weeks!) when it just doesn’t happen, and being content is SO much harder!

  11. Great post, Betsy! I forget to be thankful often, and I let my complaining crowd out my contentment. I could relate to you in so many ways in your story! So glad you shared it here, and so glad I stopped in today! Thank you for helping me keep an eternal perspective on God’s assignment for me. Have a beautifully, blessed day, friend!

  12. Betsy, thanks for more great inspiration!
    I make a point always to thank God for everything in my life. Many times I have thought a situation was a disaster, only to realize later that it was actually a blessing! I try to remember that He works everything for my good, even when I am unaware and ungrateful.

  13. This is so encouraging! The first time that Scripture was meaningful to me was right before a root canal. *gasp* My dear mother-in-love knew my terror … and reminded me that God had ordained the day … and that He was over everything. A root canal … delightful? Well, God used the time. I had an mp3 player and listened to Beth Moore while the dentist drilled away … Indeed … regardless of our circumstances, our God is present and that is enough for a pleasant — and DELIGHTFUL — day. 🙂

    • Oh Dianne, now you’re encouraging me, because I need to go to the dentist for a check-up and have been putting it off!!! If you did a root canal, surely I can go for a check up if my boundary lines area falling for me in pleasant places. 😉 Thanks for stopping by today.

  14. This was the PERFECT blog to visit this morning Betsy! I love your honesty because we have all been there. My 1000 gifts journal has helped carry me into gratitude over the past two years. We always want more don’t we? And yet, God always gives us enough. So glad I found your blog, and I am passing it on…excellent coffee this morning:)

    • Hi Crystal. Thanks for stopping by. I keep a 1000 gifts list too. For the past 3 years. Sometimes I get lax about jotting things down, but I’m so much more grateful when I do.

  15. Thanks again, Betsy, for another great reminder of God’s love and care. This morning I definitely woke up on the wrong side of the bed. After another looooong night with the baby I started the day ready to complain, but on the way to work God pricked my heart a little to just count my blessings instead. Once I started my husband joined me, and we ended up had a very uplifting and worshipful ride to work, which of course changed my outlook and the whole course of the day!

  16. So glad I’m not the only one! 🙂 even when things are going great, one minor setback can sometimes bring me to my knees.
    Oh me of little faith!

  17. Man oh man do I ever feel convicted. Yep, I am a complainer. I tend to complain that I am always busy and I have way to much to do. I never can keep up. But I’m blessed!!! God has given me so much!!!! I get to be a servant! I get to care for my family. It’s an honor to be a mom and wife. Thank you God for laundry and dishes!!

    • Thanks, Lisa, for that great prayer: “Thank you for laundry and dishes!” I may not be at the point of thanking God for that yet, but I’m gonna try! (And yes, I often complain about being busy too…)

  18. Thank you….I truly needed this today.

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