Friday, October 3, 2014

The Secret of Contentment

I want to make Paul’s words mine, truly mine…so I can speak them from my heart as they flow from my soul…

…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want… Philippians 4: 11b-12

Contentment is a quality that I lack. As it often happens, I used to be content… when I was a baby…I can’t remember it, but I’m sure I was. As long as I was kept warm, fed and dry, I think I must have been a pretty content child. As I grew up, however, and got exposed to the things of this world, my contentment began to wane. The more aware I became, the more I realized there were things I wanted and didn’t have; therefore, my discontent began to rise. And I’m not just talking about material things. I’m talking about all things, education, status, intellectual abilities, health, physical characteristics, personality traits, even spiritual gifts and fruits of the Spirit. I’ve always longed for what I don’t have and, in turn, neglected what I do.

The thing is that a society of plenty, like ours, is not conducive to contentment. There is always something more that we need to attain and/or accomplish…a bigger house, a better job, a smaller waist, thicker hair, more padded financial cushion, a better retirement fund, more friends, a larger church, more ministry, more donations, and the list goes on and on and on. It is not bad to strive for more. I’m not saying that accomplishments are not to be sought and goals are not to be reached. I’m just saying that sometimes, in my own personal life, I never seem to get to that point where I can honestly say that I’m content.

My heart fills up with anxiety in anticipation of the impending doom that comes when I don’t get what I expect.


Is it possible to reverse the trend? Is there hope for those like me who lean heavily toward discontentment?

Of course there is! Paul tells us right there, in the same paragraph

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. 
 Philippians 4: 13

This is the one line truth that we, that I need to remember in every circumstance, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want…whether my kids perform the way I want them to or their scattered brain keeps their heads in the clouds, whether my husband shows me he cares or he neglects me, whether my job is enjoyable or dreadful, whether my health or the health of my loved ones is good or poor, whether my road is rough or smooth...I can get through it ALL by Him, in Him, through Him who is my strength.

All things work together for the good of those He loves (Romans 8: 28). His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12: 9). His love endures forever (Psalm 136: 1). His power is made perfect in our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12: 9).

May these thoughts and His Word become a powerful substance to kill the weeds of discontent every time they poke their ugly heads in the garden of our soul.

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