April 17, 2015

sacrificing contentment for greater contentment

I have taught English in the same high school for twelve years. It is the only place I have ever taught. But last year, I felt the Lord prompting me to apply for a transfer to a high school closer to home. At the time, I was very eager for a change, so I did not hesitate to in for the transfer.  A few months later, I had a promising interview with the principal at that school, but I didn't get the job.

I was confused.  I really felt as if the Lord wanted me at that location. I wanted to be at that location! After I was denied, I blogged about my disappointment in a post I wrote entitled, "Preacher Say."  In that post, I came to this conclusion:
"God will not give you what you want until you come to a place in your life where what you want is what He wants."
Translation: I have to be content with my current situation [His current will for my life] before He will move me.  That is IF He wants to move me - which I believe He does.
In other words, I need to come to a place in my life where I accept my current position at my current location with my current student population and my current colleagues.
It was hard, but I strove to do that. I knew I was going to have to work at being happy with God's current plan for my life. I was going to have to stay put, so it became obvious what God wanted for me at that time: He wanted me to learn to be content in all things, at all times, and in all places. 

I knew the Lord wanted to move me to the other high school, but it became clear to me that He wasn't going to change my current situation until I learned the lesson of contentment!

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances...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 all things through Him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:11-13)

So even though I was desperate for a change, I resolved to start this school year with renewed faith. After all, scripture said I could do all things through Him who gives me strength.  So every day I came to work, I went in as if working for the Lord. Everything felt good. The year was going well. I began to love my job anew! 

The transfer window opened again, and at first, I struggled with the decision of requesting another transfer to the high school closer home.  I was comfortable. My heart was once again at home with my current position unlike what it had been when I put in for a transfer the previous year.  I didn't want to do it, but I still believed God wanted to move me to this other school.  What was I going to do?!

Content with my current situation, I requested the transfer anyway.  Because more than being comfortable, I wanted to be in His will.  I laid my contentment on His alter and prayed, "I believe you want me elsewhere, and although it is scary to leave all I have ever known, Lord, I will do it if you want me to."

And you know what? I found out this week - I got the transfer!

It has been an amazing week!!!  At any time I get nervous about moving to my new school, God shows me how good and right this move is going to be in the long run.  I'll be pouring my efforts into a school my children will eventually attend - and that the children of many of my friends will eventually attend.  In addition to this blessed privilege, I'll be challenged to change my teaching style to meet the needs of a different student population.  I'll be able to grow as an educator in ways I would not be able to at my current location, and I'll be blessed to form more precious relationships with fellow educators.  

God knew I needed this before I did.  He prepared my heart for this and taught me something about contentment: it is yielding everything completely to His will - EVERYTHING.  This includes your current contentment.  And if you do this, sacrifice your current contentment for His will, you will find an even greater contentment.  With God, our sacrifices bring back great returns!

"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."  (Luke 6:38)

I can't even begin to express to you how excited I am to begin this new chapter of my life! Thank you, Jesus!!!

Today's forget-me-not: Be content and obedient in your current situation, and desire nothing else but what He puts on your current path.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this Jamie - I think maybe I needed to read this today. I'm in bed with Sophie as she naps, crying over the loss of our 10th child [our 9th loss]. I've been questioning WHY for a while now...maybe the lesson I've been missing is being content with what I have. I 'think' I'm content and happy and blessed, but that yearning for a sibling is so strong...I have some thinking to do...
    Much love,
    Joanna

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