Harvest Contentment

Contentment comes with gratitude

Lie: I will be content when I have it all.

Truth: I will be content when I live grateful.

Our washing machine has rinsed many a mud-covered toy, grass-stained picnic blanket, and garden-dirtied shirt. Eventually, the whole front yard will find its way to the washer. Often, Ari and I hear a loud drumming sound coming from the laundry closet. We chuckle because we know exactly what’s causing the tumbling ruckus: Grace collects rocks and puts them in her pockets.

Along with her treasured pebbles, Grace usually brings home a handful of her favorite flowers: dandelions. On neighborhood walks, during playtime at preschool, and from the car to any store that happens to have these little yellow flowers in the cracks of the sidewalk, Grace stops to pick and play with them. She lifts them up to my eyes and says, “Look, Mommy!” To most people, dandelions are weeds. To Grace, they are magic.

Stopping to pick them at every turn, though, became burdensome. I would avoid taking dandelion-heavy paths if we were in a hurry to get somewhere. The dandelions seemed to be a defiant and devious lot, making us late and getting in the way of our plans. But as God cultivated my heart, I began to notice things.

I began to notice these yellow bits of sunshine on the kitchen counter, by my laptop, and tucked into books. They were everywhere, and it hit me: Grace was expressing her gratitude to me through these little gifts. She was trying to get me to see the beauty and wonder that she was seeing.

I had been putting my schedule over something that God was growing in her heart. It wasn’t the fault of these sunny little flowers, and Grace wasn’t trying to make us late; my life was overcrowded.

God is in the small and unexpected nooks and crannies, if we are willing to unrush our pace to pay attention to what’s growing.

Unrushing our lives is a risk, though, isn’t it? It means we may have to give up something — or a lot of things — in order to slow down. And often we don’t like the idea of slowing down, because it sounds unproductive. But we risk missing something far more valuable than our productivity in keeping at a hurried pace: life. Real life. Meaningful, rich, cultivated life. As we rush to take control, we miss the dandelions — little whispers from God that we are loved and that He is all we need.

Missing the Fruit

During the early weeks of fall, things in the garden ripen fast — and sometimes, many things ripen all at once. If we are too busy to go out in the garden, or if our eyes are buried in our phones, or if we’re looking at what grew in someone else’s garden, we will miss the fruit.

We will miss the gifts growing right smack in front of our faces.

Here are some thoughts from fellow cultivators:

When we’re staring at our phones, we miss looking into the beautiful eyes of those in our real lives, as opposed to our virtual life. — Robyn

 

We miss being in the moment, which causes us to miss feeling certain emotions. If I am at one of my son’s recitals, I cry, applaud, and cheer if I am watching him play. If I am photographing and recording his performances, I am focused on capturing his performance. Two completely different experiences. — Kawania

 

When I’m too focused on comparing my life to another’s, I miss out on the unexpected God-moments. This weekend was the perfect example. I didn’t have any plans. Instead, I had picnics with neighbors, toasted marshmallows with my friends’ kids, savored a long hike, and spent time in the garden. I woke up this morning refreshed, filled with purpose, and ready to take on the week! — Emily

 

When we focus on our phones, we miss teachable moments with our children. I think our children help teach us to slow down to stop and smell the roses, it’s just a matter if we are open to listen and be. — Irene

 

When we are distracted, we miss the everyday story we are building together. Every day is a different piece of a whole story of us, and when I’m distracted from that I miss the moments that make up those memories with my family. — Chelsea

 

When I’m rushed I forget to do the things I actually love, the things that fire me up. — Sarah

We miss the little things that add up to the big things. We miss the very things we want to grow.

So we continue to feel unsettled and unsure. And we want, so much, to feel sure.

Loved.

Rested.

Energetic.

Connected.

Grounded.

Known.

Content.

What if we are missing the very source of surety and contentment — God’s voice — in all the noise and distractions around us?

When I’m rushed, or distracted, I miss:

  • My relationship with Ari
  • My children wanting to connect with me
  • Opportunities to love and listen to my neighbors
  • The gift of the garden — the birds, flowers blooming, warm sun
  • All that God has blessed us with

I miss Grace, Josh, and Sarah discovering life. I miss opportunities to shepherd their hearts as they encounter God’s creation and new emotions. Like my friend Irene said above, I miss teachable moments.

If you don’t intentionally go out to see what’s ripe and harvest the fruit, you’ll miss it. So let’s go search for the fruit right now together. Let’s not miss the ripe relationships and blessings right in front of us!

Excerpted with permission from Cultivate by Lara Casey, copyright Lara Casey.

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Your Turn

Today, let’s slow down and look around. What has the Lord blessed you with? Where do you see beauty and God-moments? What are you thankful for? Come share with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily

Lara Casey

Lara Casey wears many hats within her parent company, Lara Casey Media. She is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Southern Weddings® magazine, founder of the Making Things Happen movement, and a noted branding expert. A writer and speaker, she is passionate about helping people find what makes them really come alive and use their gifts for a greater purpose. Lara and her husband, Ari, are proud parents to Grace.

Follow Lara Casey on:   Facebook   Twitter   Website

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