Discontentment: Watch Those Foxes

Red Foxes 1

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

One Friday afternoon, as the boys and I arrived home from school, I peeked into our backyard. My heart lurched when I spied two red foxes lounging in the grass as if they owned the place. They looked so cute as they soaked in the winter sunlight. When I opened the kitchen window to snap a picture, they stared back at me without a trace of  fear in their eyes.

They’d found their home.

 Red Foxes 2

As cute as they were to watch, I began to wonder if it was such a great idea to let them think they owned our yard. What would happen if they stopped by for a nap when the boys wanted to play outside? The last thing I wanted was domain fights with wild animals. Even if they were cute.

The man who sprays our house for bugs happened to stop by right about then. He kindly strode out our back door and chased those foxes off. They rose at the first sight of him, but didn’t run. He stepped closer to them. They sauntered toward the wooden fence that borders our yard, glancing over their shoulders. Almost as if they hoped they wouldn’t really have to deal with the inconvenience of leaving their comfy pad.

It was only when he ran toward them, shooing them, that they realized he was serious. After that, they decided to move to new digs.

Sparkling river

I got to thinking about this. How many things have taken up residence in my life? Things  that don’t seem like a big deal at first. But as I let them settle into my thoughts—my heart—they become a definite problem? This takes many forms, but one aspect I struggle with is discontent.

Destin waves in sun

Boardwalk at night

Things like:

I wish I’d received something good like so-and-so did. 

I wish my hair was as pretty as so and so’s.

I wish I wrote like her.

I wish I was as good at _____________ as she is.

I wish . . .

Long Shadows

You get the idea. When those little wishes take root in my heart, they lead to comparison, and then envy.

A little wishing isn’t wrong, is it?

Pine Path

I’ve learned not to go there. When I take my eyes off Jesus and put them onto others, discontentment always results.

God knows the plans He has for me. He knows why they include—or don’t—certain things. Maybe if He gave me something I really wanted, it would be detrimental to my character. Or maybe, I would stop depending on Him for daily help.

Black bench

I’m learning to trust His leading of my life. Even when His plans look different than I want them to. He brings good through the things He does and does not allow into my life.

Bench and mountain stream

When I keep my eyes set on Him, I can fight off those “I wish’s” and maintain a peaceful heart.

What about you? What are the little red foxes in your life? How do you keep a handle on them?

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14 thoughts on “Discontentment: Watch Those Foxes

  1. First, beautiful pictures!

    Don’t think I can call out any foxes at the moment, and that may be a blessing accruing from how physically unpleasant life has lately become.

    I simply have to endure, and carry out the duties of the day, There’s no relief in sight, no one to take the weight. Feeling discontent, or any negative emotion at all, is useless. Illogical.

    I can say in a jocular way, “This sucks!”, but if I take the sentiment seriously, it only hurts me, and drags me down. I have to be at worst neutral, and at best relentlessly upbeat.

    That includes speech, written communication, and action. I have to push my presence in the world past the likely date of my death by undertaking projects that demand my survival. I figure it’s visualization; you see yourself as part of a future in which Stephen King is asking you to sign his copy of your novel, and it’s more likely to happen.

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    • Andrew, it seems like regardless of what life deal us, being aware of the words we write and think and speak will determine how well we walk through circumstances. It’s a discipline to choose the words we use—in real life and in writing life. I love the visualization of Stephen King signing a copy of your novel. 🙂 Definitely a vision to keep you moving forward. I’m praying for you today.

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      • Jeanne, thank you – and I do appreciate the prayers. The past week has been simply absurd. I’m running into things with which I absolutely do not know how to deal.

        Giving them over to God is necessary, but I still have to interpret His directives…and the storm in which I find myself makes Him hard to hear.

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  2. Hey my friend!

    So….I LOVED those fox photos! That’s one thing we don’t see much of (read: any) in our neighborhood. (Although as you know, we DO get other wildlife!)

    Really great post. I think one of the most challenging things I’ve faced as a blogger is refusing to let those thoughts of comparision in. “15,000 followers??!! Oh my gosh!” Or, “Wow, she gets to host such GREAT giveaways!” Usually I can catch myself, but sometimes I’m miles down that road before I notice it.

    So important to remember that while we strive for our and God’s best, it is OKAY, even important, to exercise those contentment muscles with where He has us today.

    Hugs, dear Jeanne!

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    • I understand the struggle against comparison. You’re right. Keeping our eyes on God’s best for us, and on pleasing HIM in all we do—that’s the best way to battle the comparison worm. I like that: exercising those contentment muscles . . . great word picture. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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    • Worry sometimes does a number on me too, Lisa. When it sneaks in, I have to turn my thoughts on Jesus and the truth that He’s holding me—and all that concerns me—in the palm of His hand.

      And I hear someone is celebrating a birthday today? 😉 I hope it’s been a great one!

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  3. This is a really great post Jeanne. Two fox in your yard…wow! Lovely photos too. Us as human beings spend time with the usual suspects…jealousy, envy, comparing, etc. We use our fake IDs and hope no one notices we are not perfect. Shocker! So thankful to be able to daily take my concerns and discontentment to my Heavenly father who lavishly wants to give me the desires of my heart. He just asks that I trust Him. Why is that so hard to do? I think sometimes He looks down from Heaven and wonders if I will ever get it! This post sang to me today. Blessings to you.

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    • Gail, I love the image of using our fake ID’s. Definitely guilty on this end. Sigh. I, too, am thankful that I can take my cares, my shortcomings to the Lord and know the gentleness of His grace raining on me in those times. Trusting Him seems to be a daily choosing, a step-by-step process. A surrendering. He’s the only One I want to surrender to. I’m so glad you added your thoughts to the conversation!

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