A miracle happened today.
After finally starting my new part-time job in retail (in addition to my existing part-time gig at the boarding school) I got a phone call about another job. Another big decision. (That’s not the miracle. Wait for it.)
My last big job decision led to the contentment crisis I wrote about in Part I and Part II. It involved weeks of nail-biting stress and fear of making the wrong decision. It even triggered a hissy fit about cheese.
Today I hung up from the phone call which could lead to another major decision and waited for the sky to fall in. I was about to hit the panic button and ring Mum when I paused and prayed.
Then I waited. And all was calm.
What? Calm? After the soap opera-worthy drama that raged in my head last time? Yep. So far it’s been a whole hour, and I’m still doing pretty good.
It wasn’t simply the fact that I prayed. I prayed last time. I prayed like I was drowning and using my last breath to squeal at God. I prayed with desperation, begging for guidance and not really expecting to get it. I prayed without faith.
God has since pointed out to me my shocking lack of faith. Really, you’d think I’d get it by now. Not only do I have numerous examples from my own life when God’s been trustworthy, there’s also a bazillion examples in the Bible of faith and faithlessness. Remember what happened to the faithless Israelites? Forty years of wandering! Yikes. But what happened when Peter had faith? He walked on FREAKING WATER!
So I’ve been praying for faith and wisdom this week. God’s also pointed out to me (again) these verses from Philippians 4:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, 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.
So this time, when I prayed, I didn’t whine, groan or gasp. (Although for some prayers, that’s fine.) This time I surprised myself when I realized that I’m confident God will give me the resources I need to be content, whichever path I take, and that He will guide me when it’s the right time.
This confidence totally isn’t from me. Just ask my sister who listened to my complaints about cheese.
I think it’s safe to say that God’s holding up his end of the bargain with this whole ‘prayer=peace’ thing.
In my experience, peace and fear are major factors in contentment and discontentment. Even when I’m not making decisions about my job, I’m often plagued by fear that I’m missing opportunities. When I’m 40, will I regret not going overseas to work for a year like lots of people my age are doing? Even though I don’t want to do that, fear still hounds me that one day I’ll regret staying in Australia. My writing is another thing. Most writers are 50+ years old for a reason. Am I making a poor life decision by pursuing my novels now?
Two weeks ago, I wrote about a new prayer God had given me.
“Thank-you for where I am, because it’s where You want me to be, God. And that’s more important than my own plan.”
It’s my motto for contentment. And it’s still holding true. I don’t need to worry about the ‘what-ifs’ because I’m following God. That’s all that matters.
Now I’m adding my new way of praying to that. Prayer with confidence. A conversation with God that’s still honest about my feelings, but contains faith that God hasn’t deserted me and knows what is best.
Who knows? Maybe next week I’ll walk on a puddle.
How about you? What’s the tone of your prayers? Have you experienced a link between faith and contentment in your own life?
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