My husband and I have been traveling or living overseas for the last 14 years. I am not talking about one international trip a year, but many! And not the sightseeing kind either that involves air-conditioned buses and plush hotels. Often we travel to under-developed countries and stay in humble homes. We are constantly fighting jet lag. Sometimes it really is hard, especially as I grow older. My bones hurt, and I am slower. But my heart is still as eager because I have tasted the reward…
Everywhere we go, people ask us, “Do you wish you were home?”
“Do you wish you were in Israel now?”
“Do you like the countries you visit?”
“Do you wish your life had been different?”
Truly, the first few years were hard. When it was tough, I longed for home and comfort; but after a time, it changed. I have learned to embrace the place I am in.
The greatest secret I have found is that in myself I do not have the grace, patience, or compassion to love the places and people we reach out to. Honestly, sometimes, they are hard to understand, even offensive. Sometimes the cultures seem weird to me. And the secret to staying content in the will of God is that I do what I do because I love HIM. People will let me down, even those from my own culture whom I have a better chance of understanding. Focusing on Jesus changes my attitude.
When I worship and see Him and what He gave up for me, then all of it pales and falls by the wayside. It sounds pat, but staying grateful for God’s great love toward helps me receive others.
As we travel I refuse to entertain thoughts of the pluses or minuses of any other place other than where we are at the moment. Now we are in Cyprus, and I am soaking up every minute. In a few weeks, it will be another country and culture, new faces, and different cuisine and customs. Each country has so much to offer in rich tradition and history. I never tire of learning about where I am, experiencing new foods and watching the interaction of ethnic groups different from my own.
Another thing I have found is that when American expats are away from the good ole USA, sometimes, they become extremely critical of their own country. When you travel, it is possible to see the glaring weaknesses of our country, because you have the experience to compare. But what I have found is that America is not perfect, nor is any other country. Our imperfections will not make me despise my home country. I am only grateful for it and for its strengths. I realize that I am sent and sustained in my calling by the good will of my own countrymen. I refuse to demonize the weakness of my own home.
And that is exactly why I love being home when the calendar rolls around, I am happy to spend my allotted cycle in the states.
At first, these were a really hard lesson for me. I did not experience contentment for many years, and I was miserable. But as I slowly yielded my rights and expectations, I found new vistas of friendship and satisfaction in obedience.
Scripture has a lot to say about contentment. These view points really do prick me and cause me to come up higher.
10 Significant Scriptures on Learning How to be Content
1 Timothy 6:6-7 – Godliness plus contentment equals gain
But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.
Luke 3:14– Content with your Wages
And some soldiers were questioning him, saying, “And what about us, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages.”
Proverbs 14:30 – Tranquil Heart
A tranquil heart is life to the body, But passion is rottenness to the bones.
Ecclesiastes 2:10-11 – It’s all vanity without God’s eternal purposes.
And all that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor. Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.
Luke 12:15 – Guard Against Greed
And He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”
Job 36:11 ( KJV)– Obedience
If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures.
Joshua 1:9 – The Lord is with you!
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Hebrews 13:5 – Content with what you have
Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,”
Philippians 4:12 – In every circumstance be content
Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.
Philippians 2:14t- No grumbling.
Do all things without grumbling or disputing…