Contentment & Puppies

My family has gone puppy-crazy. If you’ve been following the blog, you know that in February, my parents’ beloved standard poodle, Quigley, died. He was such a joy to the whole extended family, but especially to my parents. A couple of weeks ago, the decision was made that it was time for them to get a new dog. My sister and I promised that if they wanted another dog we would help them with the cost of pet ownership. So, puppy preparations have been in full swing. When this blog goes up, I will be on my way to meet my parents at the breeder’s, where we will pick up the newest family member. All the puppy talk reminded me of one of the first blogs I wrote, On Singleness and Puppies. I shared the story of my nephew telling my sister and me, “Maybe when you grow up you can get a dog. . .Well, maybe when you get married, then.” At seven or eight years old, he related adulthood to marriage and parenthood. That was a long time ago. My nephew is now an adult, almost as old as I was when he said, “Maybe when you grow up. . .” I am still not in a position to have a dog.

As we bounced around names for the new puppy, I thought of the names that I have set aside for when I am able to get one of my own. I’m not sure when it happened, but my dream of marrying and having a family has been exchanged for the dream of owning a home on a couple of acres and a having a standard poodle named Bingley. It is a far off dream. In this part of California, owning a home seems impossible for me; having a yard big enough for a full-sized dog is even further out of reach. I know I shouldn’t think this way, but I wonder if I would have these things if I were married. Sometimes it seems like these little things are the most difficult to trust God about. I see God’s faithfulness in the place He has me living, and it reminds me that His “faithfulness [extends] to the clouds.” (Psalms 36:5) My roommates and I are renewing our lease, and we are all so thankful for the great situation that God has given us. This season of quarantine underscores the blessing.

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Hebrews 13:5

How is it that I live in an expensive area of a “blue state” and am not only getting by, but doing well? It can only be God! Perspective is so important; how is it that I fret over inconsequential things? Lately, in the midst of happiness and contentment, I have felt those old, familiar longings. I have so much, and yet I want more! It is only in comfort and ease that anyone can be concerned about silly things such as having a pet. I remind myself that pets are a luxury item. There are many people around the world struggling to survive, and I have so much. My focus should not be on myself and what I don’t have. I should be praying for those in need and looking for opportunities to serve others. Even so, God reminds me that he holds my life, and He cares about little things that bring me joy. He knows the number of the hairs on my head, I cannot doubt His care and concern for me.

It shows a big change in my life that I actually feel happy and peaceful. It has been a struggle to get to this point, and I am sure I will have to work hard to hold the ground I’ve gained. But I can honestly say that I am content, even though there are things that I desire. I’ve learned that contentment isn’t about having everything you want, it is about having peace with what you have and where God has placed you. I trust that God’s grace is sufficient. I take my desires to Him and ask for His help. I ask Him to quell the longings.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.

Psalms 23:1-3

I am content with singleness because it is clearly God’s chosen method to mold my heart and draw me closer to Him. I pray that His power and glory will be evident in my life. I am content with a shared poodle that isn’t named after a character in a Jane Austen novel. I find happiness planting flowers in the backyard of my rental and nurturing my little garden as best as I know how. I want to be a writer and publish a book, but I am content with this blog – my little corner of the internet where I reflect on what it means to live a life of faith. I am happy with my job in banking. Praise God that I enjoy my work and am good at it, and my needs are met.

Times are uncertain, but God gives me surety. Sickness, quarantine, and economic dangers loom. I don’t like what is happening in the world, but I trust God with my future. I worry about my country and wonder what the next election will bring. Whatever comes, God is watching over me; He will still be in control.

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