“. . . for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” (Philippians 4:11) These are challenging words written from the heart and pen of the apostle Paul. He experienced seasons where God’s blessing was obvious and life was pretty simple. He faced other times when it seemed that all circumstances were against him. Remarkably, he found contentment in the midst of agony as well as abundance. In dramatic fashion, he modeled for all of us the benefits of being adaptable to the realities of life.
We have discovered this to be a vital trait to maintaining a traveling ministry. Sometimes circumstances on the road are so easy we wonder why anyone wouldn’t want to do this. At other times, it takes every bit of strength we can muster to keep our attitudes clear and focused. Such was the case recently in Saskatchewan where the temperatures we far below zero the entire time. One of the days, the high was -18 degrees Fahrenheit. Yes, we said “minus” 18 degrees and then it got colder from there. To be fair, it was beautiful as snow decorated everything and the people we traveled with pulled together naturally to battle the elements, but it was COLD.
In this video, you will see the highlights of packing up our car in subzero weather with Jason Moffat (motivated World Vision rep) and Dan MacCaulay (award winning worship leader and solo artist). We laughed and joked and froze together. We were reminded that we cannot control the circumstances in our lives but we can always enjoy the people God has placed on our path.
Once I (Bill) warmed up, I reflected how my relationship with Pam needs this same kind of perspective. I would give our relationship high marks but we are far from the perfect couple. There are a few things we do extremely well. For instance, we find it easy to be in sync when we make presentations together. For some reason, teaching together feels very natural to us. We are also good at respecting each other’s areas of strengths and have been able to delegate family leadership to one another based on these abilities. We are also mutually tenacious in keeping our hearts connected to our Savior. On the other hand, we have a hard time adjusting to each other’s work style. I (Bill) like to work in a team environment where decisions are reached through interaction and tasks are accomplished in concert. I (Pam) prefer to work as a team of independents (much like a swim team) where everyone tackles their responsibilities and then demonstrates to each other their progress. We believe these are both valid approaches but struggle to adapt to the other’s preference. We are also nagged by emotional triggers that we think we should have outgrown. These triggers will drop the temperature in our relationship quickly just like the dead of winter. We have always recovered from them but are amazed at how these triggers can feel like a frigid blast of wind.
Just as we take warm jackets and gloves to the cold, we keep affection going in our relationship to battle our imperfections. We hug each other daily, pray for one another regularly, seek to give 5 more compliments than criticisms and laugh about the areas of life we can’t control. We encourage you to be grateful today for the most important people in your life despite the imperfections!