In Philippians 4:11, the Apostle Paul says:
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
I recently discovered that I haven’t learned that. Oh, I don’t pine away for material possessions, but that’s no credit to my character. I have everything I need and so much of what I want. Yet, I am not content. Here’s how I know:
- I feel like I never have enough time to accomplish all I want and need to do.
- I feel dissatisfied with the amount of success I have in many areas.
- I feel frustrated with people who don’t behave the way I would like them to.
- I feel disappointed by institutions, my country, and even my church.
In short, I haven’t learned to be content like Paul. Can you relate? Do you find yourself wanting more and being dissatisfied?
Having had times in my life in which I experienced true contentment, I can say unequivocally that I wouldn’t trade it for momentary joy. While I am sure we will know joy in heaven, contentment has got to reign supreme. Over the next several weeks, I’d like to explore what God would like to teach us about His contentment while we still live on earth. I will know that I am learning when:
- I am not stressed out and in a perpetual hurry
- I see everything I accomplish as progress toward His purposes
- I recognize that people are wretched sinners like me who are in the Lord’s hands; if we weren’t, we wouldn’t need a Savior
- I understand that God is in control of every institution, country, and church and I’m not
The sweet baby pictured above would not be content if he had fear. Fear is opposed to contentment. We’ll delve into that in the coming weeks, but for now, here is your assignment:
- Look for instances of discontentment in your life. One I’ve noticed is a habit of looking at my smart phone constantly.
- When you notice lack of contentment, ask yourself what if anything you’re afraid of? I sometimes look at my phone because I’m afraid of being left out of a conversation. Looking at my phone makes me appear to be a busy, important person.
Thinking of some of my difficulties as lack of contentment is helpful to me. For example, concern about how much blogging I do isn’t leading me to work harder as it would have, but now to be content with the time I have.
How about you? Do you struggle with discontentment?
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I think we all struggle with contentment in our own ways. ONe of my prayers recently has been that I would learn to work hard in his strength, but yet to be content with his peace. Those two seem like contradictions to many, but they’re not. They’re just so hard for us to grasp simultaneously.
Loren, I think you’re right. Contentment and hard work seem like they’re in opposition to one another, but they’re not! I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this series of posts.
Good Morning Sweet Melanie!
I love this post, such thoughtful, honest insight! Yes, I’ve experienced many moments and even large seasons of life living in discontent. I’m learning how much God loves me and how life really isn’t all about me. It’s about Him living through me! I’m growing more content with each day. Thankful, thankful, thankfulness is birthing joy! Just like your sweet baby picture!
-Blessings girl, Amy
Loved this! Especially that sweet photo. It’s been a long uphill battle, but I am so thankful to be living with contentment. You are absolutely right, much of our discontent stems from fear. Great reminder.
You mean it’s not about me???? Horrors! 🙂 Really, it’s a relief to know it’s not. The people I know who are very close to the Lord are the most content. That gives us the secret of contentment, doesn’t it?
I knew you’d love that picture, Deb. 🙂 You’re a wonderful model of contentment in the midst of less than ideal circumstances, so I thank you for that. Have a contented weekend!
Love this look into contentment. God has the same theme on my heart and I’m thankful for this reinforcement. 🙂
Shannon, that’s great. Please chime in and tell us what you’re learning!
yesterday for the first time in 20 years, my doctor asked me how I felt about having m.s. The question struck me dumbstruck. I just looked at me,, and answered him. “I feel quite fortunate.” I have taken care of young people with m.s. and have lived a wonderful life with my husband and children. Yes, I am content and didn’t really know it until he asked me that question. I didn’t always feel that way when I would lose my eyesight, and couldn’t eat etc. but I now I see God’s plan for me and am very content.
That’s really a blessing, Mom, that you feel so content despite having the very real challenge of MS. I’m sure you left a lasting impression with the doctor.
I think you are right, he just gave me a look that seemed to be searching mine for a truth he couldn’t find.