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?
We’re always being told not to try and be Wonder Woman, but that’s exactly who I want to be! While we are ordinary women who will never be perfect, God created us to be extraordinary in His Super Power.
This blog and the book that inspired it, So You’re Not Wonder Woman are dedicated to helping women:
- Get organized
- Increase productivity
- Achieve optimal fitness
- Find joy in daily living
- Improve relationships, and
- Grow spiritually
I’m a Christian psychologist turned homeschooling mother of six who writes and speaks for myself first. I research what I most need to know as a woman who struggles and then share my best tips with you. If you’re a fellow Wonder Woman (or even just a wannabe), please leave a link to your blog here. I’d love to learn from you!
Maybe, like me, you have so many reasons to be joyful, but it seems that someone or something seems to run off with this spiritual treasure. What can we do to stop 'em from stealing our joy?
- Quit doing business with them. In our local news lately have been reports of home invasions that strike fear in the hearts of neighbors. The fact that the criminals were doing business with the victim makes everyone feel a little bit more at ease. We can feel safer emotionally by choosing not to do business with people who attack us verbally or physically or who only make emotional withdrawals, never deposits.
- Claim your right to the joy. Some theft victims are reluctant to press charges because they feel guilty for having so much. We are never to feel guilt for having joy, even if others are depressed. We may not be able to share our joy, but we can share its Source.
- Stop stealing from yourself. I've had my share of things stolen, but I've robbed myself of more than any thief has. I haven't taken care of my belongings and they've been misplaced or destroyed. In the same way, we can steal our own joy by not taking care of ourselves. Joy is harder to come by when we don't have optimal sleep, nutrition, or exercise.
- Use a security system. Most of the times I've been robbed have been when I've left a car door unlocked or left my valuables in plain sight. We don't have to hide from others to keep our joy, but we do need a security system. God's Word is not only an inexhaustible source of joy, but it's a weapon we can use to ward off the lies the con men use to get access to our treasure. The Bible is the best security system there is, but even it won't be effective if we keep letting the thieves in the door through the media we take in.
Have you found any other ways of keeping your joy, short of gun ownership? 😉
You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. (Hebrews 10:34)