I am presently experiencing many states in life:
- learning to be a first-time grandmother to twin boys
- the realm of being retired (don’t hate; you time will soon come)
- learning to declutter stuff I haven’t used in years; disposing what I haven’t used
Recently I visited my grandsons Josiah and Elijah, spending time feeding and caring for them. Being a few weeks old, I was fearful I would harm them (not picking them up properly for example). But eventually I got more comfortable with them, and feeding them became natural. They live with their parents in another city, and when I am home I miss them terribly. But I hope I will continue to learn my role as their Mimi grandmom, and I find myself looking at other toddlers, being excited to see the boys reach that age. The state of a new role is quite interesting.
The following month I retired from my job after over 30 years of service. Once the paperwork was submitted months ago, it seemed like time sped up, and before I knew it, I was having lunch with friends one last time before I carried my box of stuff from clearing my office space, driving away with a big smile on my face. The state of happiness was being experienced.
Once home, I began making a list of projects I now had the time to complete. Rearranging furniture in the living room and getting rid of two old bookcases, purchasing a new one and putting books I had for years in boxes for donation. Next was the kitchen, clearing out cabinet space which meant throwing out old plastic containers. These containers I have wanted to dispose of for months, because they were so old they were turning yellow! I have these containers for decades, and knew I needed to throw them out and get new ones. What a sense of accomplishment I felt when I started taking out bags of plastic clutter! What a lovely state I found myself in.
State comes from the Middle English stat , the Anglo-French estat, and the Lating word status. This is further explained as a way of living or existing; the things that affect the way you think or feel. Paul wrote in the fourth chapter of Philippians that having gone through different situations in his life, he had learned to be content. Life is full of whatever states; it is up to us to accept or reject.
If we reject, chances are life will seem to be a not so pleasant experience. It may be full of angst and frustration, trying to make things work, and the more you try to figure it out and solve it, the worse it gets. Your status of life, the way you think and feel will put the prefix dis in front of content; life will be experienced as one of discontentment, full of negativity. But this is what Paul experienced. He wrote that whatever is happening in his life, he learned to be content, and Paul’s life was full of great times (preaching the gospel), and hard, challenging times (being shipwrecked, thrown in prison, badly beaten and left for dead, to name a few). It was in all of these instances that Paul could surmise in the fourth chapter of Philippians that he learned how to be content in what I call state whatevers.
So for me, I am still a process in the making, so I continue to live life learning how to live the contented life, regardless of what happens: whether my finances are strong or need some tightening up, learning to be a grandmother, discovering the joy of being free from daily working, and enjoying what it is like to have time to explore and learn more about life.
So whatever your state may be, learn from it and be content while in it.
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Philippians 4:11