While I have been working to both identify and properly use the resources that I feel like God has given me, I feel discontent at times seeing what I have, even in its abundance!
What I mean is, that while I appreciate the things and the internal resources I have ...I often find myself asking for more of something that I either have little of or see myself being better with a whole different resource all together!
I have struggled at times, as I have often confessed, with a desire to want what others have and comparing myself to their productivity, their strengths or their abilities. I want what they have, and often to the detriment of realizing where I misuse my own resources in the wanting!
For example, at a time when I personally am lacking in physical energy, I yearn after those around me who have endless supplies of it! When I look around and see so many projects and great plans I desire to be proficient at, I desire the level of internal motivation I see in some close to me.
I may also desire other things in regards to physical blessings ...for example, a bigger house, a better income, more clothes, a newer car, a better job ...the list is eternal.
I have been challenged though, to consider that so much of our peace comes with both recognizing our blessings/resources AND being content with what we have. Paul seemed to hit the nail on the head in Philippians when he challenges his fellow Christian brothers and sisters to follow suit and "...I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Phil 4:11-13
In the context this verse is given us, he instructs them only sentences before to ..."with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." 4:6-7
The challenge for me, is to both recognize what God has given and be THANKFUL for it! How closely the two are connected. Being thankful requires that we see what blessings we are surrounded with. In the context of our thoughts on resources, we should be willing to see in what ways God has willingly given us, "everything you need..." 2 Peter:3
One way this concept has really struck me, is when I sing with my church family. I have always loved the sound of an artful and talented alto voice. I love to sit next to my sisters in Christ who are blessed in this area! Their voices are so harmonious and their sounds bring so much to the overall musical quality of our vocal worship to God when we sing as a congregation. I have loved it to the point of wanting to be an alto myself, often attempting to sing the part that seems so effortless for them.
What happens, though is that I ..a lowly soprano, who usually sings the melody part ..actually take away from the overall sound in my attempt to sound like something I am not! I have attempted to learn, and tried to stay close by when we sing and learn new songs and parts so that I can hopefully sing that beautiful part. But, alas. God gave me a soprano voice! He gave me the ability to carry a tune, and lift my voice that way! Recently I had a realization, sitting in service once Sunday morning. I realized that my insistence to sing this part that was not really my talent, I was taking away from both my and others worship experience. I was so focused on singing this part that I was designed for that I would be distracted from my needed focus!
Amazingly, I realized that when I embraced the part for which I was created, my voice blended much better with those beautiful alto voices. When I willingly and wholeheartedly fulfilled my part, my sisters in Christ were able to do theirs even better and we worked better as a vocal group in our worship to God.
Hm. Could I be doing this in other areas of my life? Do I resist what God has given me, reject the ways he has blessed me, purposefully disregard areas of abundance in resource ..because it is not what I want, verses what God says I need?
I may not have all that I want in any given area. I may desire to have more talents in organization, a bigger home, a better job, more passion towards teaching ..or any number of things. I think that God has the desire to give us those good things, but I believe also he wants us to recognize what he has already given us and for us to use what we have to the best of its potential.
I believe recognition precedes thankfulness, which precedes contentment, which precedes a sense of peace in all that God has given us. I hope today you will seek that, as I work to do that same :)