I live in central Florida, about thirty minutes from Disney World.
When those words come out of my mouth, non-Floridians ooh and aah and talk about how lucky I am. I generally keep quiet and let them envy me. (Admit it. Being envied feels good.) The thing is…I know the truth. Living here can be difficult at times.
For example, I live 6 miles from the church where I preach. How long does it take you to drive 6 miles where you live? It often takes me 20-25 minutes. There’s this little thing called traffic that severely complicates life in central Florida.
Oh, and do you like reptiles? If you live in Florida, you’re going to have them. Lots of them. I’ve had snakes and lizards in my house and alligators in my yard.
And then there are the bugs. A subtropical climate is to bugs what a greenhouse is to roses. I’m talking big enough to saddle and ride. It’s nothing for me to hear a shriek from the other room, followed by my wife demanding that I come and bring a weapon.
Of course, on the other side of the ledger, it’s supposed to be 72 degrees and sunny today on the next to last day of January.
There are good things and bad things about every place.
There are also good and bad things about every stage of life. Right now I’m old enough to have a back that gives me trouble. I hate that. But I sure do love being a grandfather. My eyesight and my golf swing aren’t what they used to be. But I sure do like my senior discount.
I’ve concluded that one of the most underrated marks of spiritual maturity is the ability to enjoy where you are and what you have in spite of the negatives you could be focusing on. We often think that people who carry 10-pound Bibles and can quote lots of Scriptures and lead vibrant ministries are the most spiritual people. And maybe they are. But I wonder if God doesn’t smile more at the person who isn’t flashy but simply wears a smile and appreciates what God has given him.
The apostle Paul said, “I know how to be content with whatever I have.” (Philippians 4:11) Those words are all the more impressive because they were written in prison where Paul didn’t have very much.
I think sometimes growing a little stronger every day could mean simply complaining a little less every day.