Thank you for your encouragement yesterday. I find myself more and more aware of the line between being faithful to share my journey and being prideful of that journey. It is encouraging that some of you find my sharing a help in your own journey. That is certainly my prayer. (And, I must consider the source in the person who questioned my motives. This is a person who seems to resent anyone doing anything that brings joy or fulfills dreams.) I know that about this person, but I must be cautious not to just discount the teachable moment as her rubbish when it could be God's small voice.
Resentment is a funny thing (funny--hmmm, not funny---ha ha). This week the son of one of my friends asked his mom "Do you live your life resentfully?" After establishing that he did in fact mean resentfully and not regretfully, they have had an on-going discussion about this. And she posed the question to some of us on a cross stitch board I frequent. The answers were interesting and in the same theme of no because of understanding God's role in life or the brevity of life or what is important. But it got me to thinking why anyone would live their life resentfully.
The aforementioned person who is resentful could trace much of her resentment back to unfulfilled dreams and circumstances she would say were beyond her control. And although the circumstances might have been beyond her control, she chose to be bitter and to give up on everything rather than face the situation. As a result she has lived for 20+ years in resentment and bitterness. Another friend would say that someone else's choice has given them the right to be resentful. But for 15 years she has chosen to not forgive and to resent anyone who points her to forgiveness. I have friends who resent my ability to travel the world, even when they will admit in the next breath that they choose to not travel in order to do other things. But their feelings go beyond wishfulness to resentment (in one case to the point that she told me she doesn't read my Christmas letters because she hates to see where I've been). My brother resents that I live overseas, although he adamantly admits he wouldn't want to live anywhere but Texas. He just can't stand that I choose to live somewhere else. He resents anyone who chooses a different path. Why???
I think it is because so many people, on some level, do not trust their own decisions. A life lived resentfully is a life lived second-guessing the choices one has made. My brother chooses to live in Texas but asks "what if?" Friends choose not to travel but ask "what if?" "What if forgiveness was better?" "What if?" Second guessing. And, the truth is in choices about where to live, what to do with time, what to do with money, etc. contentment can come with whatever decision is made. There is no reason to second-guess.
To not live resentfully is to trust yourself and to trust your God with the decisions He leads you to make. I am content with where I am--no matter where I am--because I am content that God will lead me while I'm there. I trust that by His grace and in His blessing I reside. And that can be anywhere in the world and in any circumstance and in any dream.
Does that mean I never look at someone else and wonder what it would be like to have what they have? Of course not! I would love to stitch as quickly as V, but I am content to be me and stitch at my pace. I would love to take gorgeous pictures like M, but I am content to settle for my point and shoot camera. I would love to live close enough to get together with my friends, but I am content that this is where I'm supposed to live. I would love to turn a phrase or challenge like C, or GB, or AME, but I'm content that this is my writing style and that God blesses it. I could resent my friends for having talents that I don't have, but where would that get me? Miserable and paralyzed from using the gifts I do have. Resentment comes from not being content with who we are. Life is too short to life resentfully.
But what about you? Do you live your life resentfully? If you do, why? If you don't, why not? I'm really interested in continuing this discussion. And so is my friend's son...he is tuning in for answers.