Monday, September 7, 2020

You Take Yourself with You

"The time to be happy is now.  The place to be happy is here." 
(Robert Ingersoll)

To be honest, I used to look at those words on my flip calendar and be angry.  I knew it was true, but I just didn't want to do it.  I didn't want to be happy now . . . not in this house . . . not in this city . . . not in this state.  I would be happy later . . . when I lived somewhere else . . . when I had everything I wanted . . . but not now . . . and certainly not here.

Eventually, I learned that if we are not content with where we are, we will not be content elsewhere either.  I learned this truth in a painful and expensive way.



Contentment about where I live is not something that has come easily to me in the last twenty-two years of my life.  In fact, since June, 1998, I have been content where I am living for only about ten years.  That means, twelve of the last twenty-two years have found me discontent, unhappy, and wanting to move.

After making the cross-country move from Florida to Idaho in May, 2000, I found myself content and excited about where I was living; however, those feelings lasted less than three months, because by August, the longing to leave the rental and move to a house of our own had kicked in. In September of that year, we bought a house, but within four months, I was, once again, unhappy and yearning to move.  And move again we did---within six months of buying one house, we sold it (for a loss), and we moved once more, this time to a completely different section of town.  In less than a year, though, I wanted to move back to the other section of town, so we put our house on the market. When it didn't sell, I chose to be content for a time, but after about a year, the "itch" to move hit again, and the house went back on the market. Two years after moving into that house, we were able to sell it and we made another cross-country move.

Despite the fact that I was sure I would be happy in our new location (Georgia), I wasn't.  In fact, I was miserable,   Add to that, my husband couldn't find a job.  It was a very bleak time for us, and we ultimately realized that leaving Idaho had not been a good thing for us to do---so, three months after leaving Idaho, we returned and moved into a rental house.  Do you know how expensive it is to move a house full of stuff 2,000 miles?  Twice?  Obviously, such foolhardy actions destroyed our finances, and we continue to reap the financial repercussions of those actions even now, seventeen years later.

For about a year, I was content, but all too soon, I was pushing to move once more, this time to a house of our own, which happened in October, 2005.  (That makes 6 moves in a 5-year period.) By early 2007, I was anxious to move again---this time out of state once more.  Things didn't work out, as employment doors remained closed, keeping us stuck where we were---but just because we were unable to move, it didn't mean I was content or not trying to make things happen.  In fact, I said nearly every single day that I hated it here, that I couldn't wait to leave here, that this place would never be my home.  I even made my family promise that if I died here, they wouldn't bury me here.  I was all about getting out of Boise for the next six years.

But a couple strange things began happening in 2013.  First, I began to realize that I had spent well over a decade of my life being unhappy and discontent.  Sure, I had had plenty of good times and could have fun, but deep in my heart, there was the constant desire to be somewhere else.  I began to recognize that this was sin.  Also, I recognized that no matter where I went, I would be taking my discontent, unhappy self with me.  I realized that if I didn't want to waste another ten years of my life, I had better get my act together and embrace where I was.





As I made the decision to be content and to bloom where I was planted, something surprising happened---I actually became content.  I came to the realization that there are worse places to live than Boise, Idaho.  In fact, when you get right down to it, Boise is actually a fantastic place to live.  (Which is why it is one of the most moved-to cities in the country these days.)

Slowly---without my even being aware of when or how it happened---I became content where I live, something which has brought peace and joy to my heart.  It was an expensive lesson to learn, but I am finally no longer pushing to move somewhere else.  I no longer have moving on my agenda.  To echo the Apostle Paul's words, "I have learned to be content..." 

 In other words, what I'm saying is, "Boise is my home.  It is where God has me at this time in my life, and I am totally happy living here."  For this "gotta go someplace else" gal, those are some mighty surprising words.  How I thank God for working in my heart and bringing me to this place of contentment.

Yes, Mr. Ingersoll is right, "The time to be happy is now, and the place to be happy is here."


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20 comments:

  1. "... bloom where I was planted"

    Wise words.

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    1. Oh, yeah, Sandi, that was another quote I used to hate. I absolutely did not want to bloom where I was planted!!

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  2. (as I sit here silently/think) You.are.speaking.to.me. We spent 21 years in Alabama and then our son got accepted to college up here (my husband is from this area). So, we had to move (son was too young to live in a dorm-he was 16 at the time). Things have been going great, been living, we rent, certain things are cheaper up here (hard to believe), then I entered college/Univ., 7 years later after moving here, and 4 months after graduation and 6 months of being shut down, we are ready to just pick up and go. Who knew a virus would keep us here, who knew the job market would crash etc. It's a very scary time, truly it is.

    I don't know where the good Lord will place us, or even IF He will. All I know is, you have to have trust in things to work out. Content? I am not even sure if that word is the word I am looking for. All I know is, one can not even get a rental or moving truck here, there is a 6-8 month waiting list. All I know is, we have to hang on. All I know is, we have to trust. All I know is, it will be expensive to move, yet again. Have I mentioned, the word TRUST?

    Thank you dear friend for this post. Wishing you a beautiful Labor Day. I hope my comment makes sense. smiles

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    1. Oh, dear Linda, your comment makes perfect sense, and my heart hurts for you. I will be praying that the Lord opens an employment door for you. I hope it will be one that will enable you to move, but if that isn't God's will, I will ask him to give you joy and contentment where you are. That may seem impossible, but that is exactly what he did for me. I absolutely HATED living here, desperately hated it. And yet the Lord changed my heart. He really CAN do that!

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  3. I have never been to Idaho but I have often wanted to visit Boise (I think your city has an awesome marathon I would like to do!) I love how you use the quote from the Apostle Paul about learning to be content in your post. Contentment is something most of us have to learn. It takes practice, courage, and faith. Glad you now feel you can stay put!

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    1. Yes, contentment doesn't come naturally to most of us, does it? We definitely have to LEARN it, which takes practice. And of course, practice comes by circumstance after circumstance that we may not want! I'm not a runner, so I don't know about Boise marathons, but if there is one, I hope you get a chance to do it. It's beautiful here!

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  4. We moved to the little town we live in about 29 years ago - and we wanted nothing more than to move back "home" - but God did a suprising thing - every decision to go or stay was something we prayed about, made pro and con lists about - and we'd chose the list that had God at the top - we came here and found a Holy Spirit river in our community. Our roots planted deep - deep enough to call home and that our boys call it home. We had to learn to live content until those roots grew deep - I love that you tell us to bloom where we are planted! It makes all the difference! So glad you found contentment!

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    1. What a joy that the place you live has become home to you. My kids (now adults) are the same as yours. We moved to Boise when they were 8 and 10, so this is where they consider themselves "from." Even during the years I was discontent, they loved it here!

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  5. Oh Patti, your story really hit home for me. I moved down to So Cal to be closer to Nel and watch my grandchild, but didn't plan on staying here forever, as north is my home and where I grew up. I long to be there again, and plan on moving back. But it also has to do with finances, like you said. And that always plays into our lives also. I'm glad you're content now where you are. I've known people who moved to Idaho, and I heard it is pretty there.

    ~Sheri

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    1. Sheri, it seems half your state has moved to Idaho (Boise in particular) in the last couple of years! I have no doubt that you know many people who have moved here. Being near your grandchild is a silver lining in the cloud of living where you do not want to live. I lived near both sets of my grandparents until I was 15, and they were a major source of love and encouragement to me---just as I know you are to your grands!

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  6. I just came from Mary's site today, and what a precious confirmation that she spoke of contentment too. It has been a life-long process for me, as He continues to show me places in my heart that have held onto "my own ways" and thinking I was content, until my way suddenly wasn't available any longer. OH, He is so full of grace to nudge our hearts and bring us along His pathway. Thank you for these beautiful words today. Blessings to you.

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    1. Bettie, I agree with you that contentment is a life-long process. I definitely don't have it all together, and the Lord continues to show me that. Although I'm finally content where I live, there are other areas of my life that are a continual struggle. I will be writing about one of those soon.

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  7. What a story! I'm coming from Recharge Wednesday linkup today, and this reminder that we can choose contentment is a blessing. Thanks!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, Bethany, and for your kind comment. Contentment is indeed a blessing!!

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  8. I've never had to move around like that, but knowing myself, I would probably have been very discontent to do it. I guess God didn't want to put my husband through that! ha. But how beautiful that you learned contentment through the process. There are other areas of life that I can apply this same lesson to. Thanks for sharing this, Patti!

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    1. Lisa, my poor husband has been putting up with me for close to 35 years now. He is a saint, and I truly thank God for him. He has lost all his hair, and I tell people that is because he has been dealing with me for so long!

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  9. Like you, I've moved a lot in my life; cross country...east to west coast and back. Preparing to move again...not cross country and not because I planned on it but because I have to. Moving is exhausting yet it's also a great time to purge and get rid of stuff which for me is one of the best things about it. Getting rid of things I don't need or use is deeply satisfying. Because I've moved so much, I've learned and know how to be content wherever I am. So glad you learned contentment. It brings peace.

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    1. Oh, Yvonne, I agree that moving is a great time to get rid of things we no longer need. Between all of our moves, we had some stuff in boxes for over 15 years! Honestly, if it hasn't been used in that long, what's the point of keeping it at all? I make regular trips to a local thrift store to donate things I am no longer using.

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  10. This post has so spoken right to my heart - that I have come back to read again (more than once). I find myself reading it again. You take yourself (your discontented, discouraged) self with you. Oh my. How convicting! But how true. So often, I am convinced that I will be happy...that I will actually know/be in God's will...or 100 other pious and righteous sounding things - once I move. And, for now, I simply must endure. And that is basically my pitiful attitude - just enduring. How shameful. Thank you for sharing so candidly - and for sharing much (hard-learned) wisdom! It has been such a help to me!

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    1. Jennifer, thank you so much for letting me know that my words really spoke to your heart. With every post I write, my hope is that what I say will be an encouragement to someone. Praying for you right now, that the Lord brings you to a place of contentment and joy, rather than just enduring. Understanding hugs coming your way!

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