BY MANDY HAMBRICE
Our family just got back into the tribe after an awesome break in Brisbane, Australia. I ate lots of yummy food that I didn’t make, shopped ‘till I nearly dropped, went on a couple of dates, wore cute “normal” clothes, and saw our precious family. As perfect as it all seemed, I still found myself struggling with sin; often not feeling content and having a bad attitude. This shouldn't have surprised me (I’m still a sinner after all), but I was surprised nonetheless.
One night in Brisbane, as we rode the ferry up and down the river and gazed at the most beautiful city lights I’d ever seen, the Lord reminded me that even though this moment was good, true joy and happiness only come from Him. He is the only one who satisfies. He is the only one who can fulfill me no matter where I am located in this world.
We’re pretty isolated in the tribe, and I’ve thrown my share of pity parties out there. They go something like this: “If I could just go shopping, or just have some Starbucks, or go on a nice date with my hubby, or have some alone time away from my kids for a second, or at least see my family back home, then I would be so happy.”
As a believer, I sometimes find myself basically worshiping and idolizing created things, instead of giving worship to the Creator. I think of the beginning chapter of Romans (1:25) where unbelievers were doing the exact same thing. At the end of the day, I need to find my joy in Him. When I look for joy and fulfillment in the blessings, instead of the Great Giver of blessings, I am always utterly disappointed. I tried but didn’t find it in vacation, shopping, magical city lights, or even an awesome family.
God used the comforts of the first world to teach me to be content with where he has me. Even on vacation in one of the most beautiful places in the world surrounded by the people I love them most, with every form of entertainment at my fingertips, if am not looking at my Jesus, a shallow fleeting happiness is the best thing possible. With God, I’m filled with a joy that transcends mere circumstance. With God, I have purpose that is bigger than ME.
Now I’m back in the tribe with a fresh perspective, and I feel so privileged to minister here among the Wantakians with my family. Isolated? YES. Wearing the same two skirts and shirts every day? YES. Seeing fire lights instead of city lights? YES. Making breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day? YES. But now I’m filled with lasting joy because of Jesus, and I know that I’ll be joyless the minute I start giving worship to anything but Him. O Father, Help me keep my eyes on You.