Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Committment/Contentment Correlation

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My happy streak continues! I have been at peace for the better part of the past few weeks and I am so thankful for that feeling. Yesterday, Brian and I were able to go up to Henry to visit with my family on my Dad's birthday. I made blondies for him and my mom made his favorite dinner. It was a good day just relaxing and reminiscing about all of the things we used to do when I was small. I really do have the best dad.

Then today has been such a special day so far. There is a really sweet family that I know, Andrew and Jen Fitzgibbon and their three completely adorable little ones. Andrew was my history teacher when I was in high school and he and his wife opened their home up to us as students belonging to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I was no where close to being an athlete, and I really wasn't sure what it meant to be a Christian back then either, but the Fitz's were so beautifully apt at allowing me experience the pure love of Christ through their example. Just by watching them interact with each other as a couple, I had a much better idea of the kind of marriage I wanted to have. They love the Lord and take care of each other with such tenderness and respect. I am so happy to still be in touch with them and to see how that love has grown and developed as their family has also grown. Andrew is now the director of small groups and men's ministries at West Side Christian Church in Springfield, a church that I hear is bigger than the whole town of Henry where we met.  It was great to catch up with him a little bit today and see how excited he is, and how he moves forward with faith , surprised and delighted with where God is leading his family.

Jen, I got to catch up with more recently, under less happy circumstances. While Brian was in the hospital in February when we found out he was sick, Jen's sister was on the same floor having a brain aneurysm operated on. I was so glad to see Jen and her family, but I was so worried for her sister. I am happy to report that everyone is doing really well and Jen's sister continues to improve. It was such a comfort to me, when I felt like the world was spinning too fast those first few days in the hospital, to be able to see a familiar face on the floor. I knew when Jen and her parents said that they were praying for us, that they indeed were. I can't even express what peace that brought to us.

Well today, I saw Andrew shine during his sermon. He talked about one of the most remarkable events in the history of the world, the conversion of Saul on the way to Damascus. After his conversion, and his renaming, Saul, now Paul, was able to fully and completely commit and give of his whole self to serving the Lord.

Andrew then touched on something profound. Our contentment in this life has a direct and positive correlation to our committment. As we more fully commit ourselves to living Christ centered lives, our contentment increases. Committment is so integral to our happiness. He gave the example of marriage. He said its easy to get married, but being married to someone is very challenging at times. If you are not content in your marriage, commit more fully to the other person, even if you feel like you are committing alone, you will feel greater contentment. "Love like crazy." I think everyone wants to feel like their spouse puts them first. In our marriage, Brian and I both put each other first. That way I don't have to worry about putting myself first because he does that. We both come first.

The same is true in a work situation, and I know this to be true as well. If you aren't feeling content at your job, commit to it! I know there have been times in my life where I know I am not giving my all and those are the times I enjoy my job the least. When I decide to maintain a positive attitude and I know that I honestly give all I have to my job when I am there, I feel greater satisfaction.

I just find it so remarkable. I was talking to Jen today and I was telling her, like I told my mom earlier this week that I am happy. I have joy in my life. I can honestly say that I am happier, overall, at this point in my life that I was one year ago at this same time.

Last year, we wanted to buy a house and that wasn't working out, then I lost a baby that I wanted more than anything in the whole world, I hated our tiny, old apartment, I hated that Brian worked thirds and I never saw him, and when I did see him he was too tired to do anything. I was just so unhappy.  Now things are so different.  Don't get me wrong, if I had my way, Brian wouldn't have cancer, or it would have been less serious, and he would be in remission never to worry about it again, but that isn't the reality. In spite of all of the worry and heartache his diagnosis brings to me, ultimately, I am left with hope and resounding joy. I KNOW that Christ lives and that we have a kind and gracious Heavenly Father who loves us and looks after us. I am blessed with this amazing perspective that I am sure I wouldn't have had if things weren't just the way they are. I feel so lucky everyday to see my husband, and to hold his hand and kiss his sweet mouth. I feel so grateful for each night we get to spend together warm and snuggled up close. I love the time we spend talking about our days, our worries, our triumphs while we make simple dinners together. I love walking with him, leaving him love notes, washing his clothes and picking up after him. I love it when he asks me to remind him of little things and when I get home and the house is a mess because that means he got some rest. I am so very thankful to have him here with me and to know just how precious our moments together are. I am so slow to anger, and I know that every word we speak to each other counts, so we always speak kindly. Our life is so far from perfect, but it is ever so wonderful. I hate that Brian is sick, but I love the stregthening effect it has had on our marriage. We are so much stronger because of it. We love each other so much more actively now.  I decided not to wait too long on my own road to Damascus. God expects us to act, not wait. Brian and I are committed, and I experience so much contentment because of that.

I got to visit a little bit with Andrew and Jen again after the service.  Andrew looked at me with sincerity and told me he was proud of me.  It absolutely filled my heart to hear that. I have had the pleasure of being acquainted with the Fitz's for ten years and I have sought counsel from the two of them on numerous occasions throughout many ups and downs in my life. Friends like that really are a blessing, and it feels good to know through it all that I can make them proud.

What a very special day.