Act N°37 (2017): CONTENT

Hey-ho. Another day where my back is ruling the roost… I have cancelled lessons again today. If it had been a drive-there-teach-there-drive-back day I think I could have managed, but on Wednesday it’s a drive-there-teach-there-drive-somewhere-else etc.etc.etc. day so I didn’t think it would be such a bright idea. Hoiking myself in and out of the car several times probably isn’t sensible. Today I can mostly sit without too much discomfort, although walking still requires a strange gait in order to avoid pain. Still, I am grateful for gradual improvements and the chance to blog every day about 40 Acts! Only three to go after this one…I will rather miss it, I think.

ACT N° 37 :: CONTENT

Contentment isn’t easy to achieve, for all of us. On bad days we feel like we’ve got nothing. On good days we feel like we have the world to share. Today’s challenge is a personal reflection: how can you be generous in every situation? Spend time looking to God to fulfill your needs or thank him for what you already have.

  • Thank God for five things you’re grateful for today, as a starting point.
  • Look at your lifestyle. What do you consume which alters how you look at your own life? Do you read lifestyle magazines; spend lots of time on social media? And, if you use social media to only put up the best pictures and moments of your life, why not show some imperfection today? Be real; be honest. It can inspire others to do the same.
  • If you really struggle to find contentment and find yourself looking in loads of different places for fulfilment, spend time with God working on that, today. Try to spend that time in quiet and stillness.  

The reflection is a paraphrase of Paul’s words, from Phillippians 4, and I love the fact that someone wrote on FB “I was reading this thinking what a smug holier-than-thou character today’s author is, then I realised it was Paul! Oops!” I know how they feel, as I have never really got on with Paul. I must admit that a book given to me by a friend once, long,long ago has helped a little: “Dear Paul” by Bridget Plass

Described thus, on Amazon: In this text Bridget Plass uses the fictional concept of a two-way correspondence between Paul and a group of contemporary men and women to explore the Apostle’s controversial teaching in a way that aims to be informative, factual and fun. The book allows Bridget to explore the real and deep issues she has encountered as a Christian speaker, against the biblical background of Acts and Paul’s letters to the early church. It is designed to minister to the needs of all those who have ever experienced self-doubt, or indeed have struggled with reconciling Paul’s theology to their own lives.
It has certainly helped me see Paul in a slightly different light!
Anyway, on with the Act…
It’s an interesting one, this. Although I like to think of myself as a positive person, with a sunny outlook on life, Mr FD would, I believe, beg to differ. He says I am a pessimist, rather like my mum, and I always imagine the darkest possible outcomes. Half-an-hour late home from cycling? Mr FD has been knocked over by a car…We can’t find a cat? They have escaped and been killed….Letter from the bank? We’re down to our last euro and the bank is closing our account… It is a bit like that, I know, and I think it has got worse as I get older.
I DO worry about things, probably unnecessarily  – witness the kerfuffle over the nasty bit of bureaucracy that I had to deal with: there was genuine weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, as well as IBS and near panic attacks. I have tried to do the “Hand it to God” routine, but it doesn’t help that much, as I keep snatching “it” back to worry about it some more! I don’t think I will ever be able to reduce this completely, and skip through life like Pollyanna, but perhaps it isn’t the greatness witness to the fact that God brings peace to our lives to be constantly worrying about stuff.
In regard to the Amber challenge, I don’t think I’m guilty of just posting the”good” things in my life on my blog. I don’t moan and groan too much, but nor do I pretend everything in the teapot is rosy. I’m perfectly willing (as you have seen) to admit that I frequently fail in my relationship with God. And with Mr FD.!
But, in the spirit of the Green Challenge I bring you Five things I am grateful for:

1) Mr FD. Who – despite driving me crazy at times, for various reasons – I love dearly, an,d can’t imagine beng without.

2) The cats who bring me much joy. And many scratches.

3) My job. Which is work I love – I am teaching, but without all the cr*p that went with mainstream education in the UK

4) The opportunity that we had to realise our dreams to live in France. It hasn’t been everything we hoped, in some ways, but in other ways it has surpassed expectations. Whatever Brexit means for us, I’m glad we havebeen able to do this.

5) My calling to be a Licensed Lay Minister – those who encouraged me to explore the call, those who taught me through the 3 year course, those who have supported me, and helped. The fact I can use my talents to God’s service in the church is a wonderful thing.

And a Brucie Bonus,

6) The true meaning of Easter. Eggs are good. But the death and resurrection of Christ, who conquered death (whatever that means…I don’t think our little finite minds can really grasp it!) are so much better than that!

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