April 22, 2008

Contentment

...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. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
~Philippians 4:11-13

Philippians 4:13 is one of those verse we Believers like to pull out when we're trying to be spiritual. It's a touchstone of our faith. Alone, it's one of our Christian mottoes. As I read the passage this morning, the beauty of the placement of this verse washed over me.

Paul states that contentment doesn't come naturally. He's reached this place only by the supernatural power of Christ.

One of CJ's recent vocabulary words was contentment, which Webster's defines as "the quality or state of being contented".

con·tent·ed \kən-ˈten-təd\: feeling or showing satisfaction with one's possessions, status, or situation


In other words, having peace about where I am in life.

The pursuit of peace and simplicity was born because I was not content. In fact, I was a malcontent.

mal·con·tent \ˌmal-kən-ˈtent\: a discontented person: a: one who bears a grudge from a sense of grievance or thwarted ambition
I always wanted - always expected - my life to be more. My high school dreams of a high-power career and all the trappings never came true. After I became a Christian, I set my sights on having a big ministry. That hasn't happened, either. I didn't realize that I was actually angry with God for not allowing those things to come to pass. I had it all worked out in my mind...why wouldn't He get on board?

I didn't know how discontented I was until I'd worn myself out with futile attempts to create the picture-perfect life. I was working so hard to make it look just right, and nothing was good enough.

For example, in the attic are solid linen curtains I ordered before we moved into our home. I always knew exactly where they were, but I got different curtains after we moved in. I don't remember why the first ones weren't good enough, as I'd never taken them out of the packages! I would like to think there was a valid reason to buy different ones, but, more likely than not, I just wasn't satisfied. I brought one of the linen curtains down from the attic last week, and I really like them. They'll fit beautifully with the streamlining I've done, and I can't wait to hang them as my "summer" drapes!

I'm finally learning to appreciate the gifts He's given. Through His power, I'm finding contentment.

Oh, Praise His Name!

5 comments:

Mary said...

How many times in the last year have I said "This isn't the life I ordered."? I've been so unhappy with everything. With me, with my house, with my performance at my job, with my marriage. I feel so overwhelmed at thinking about how to turn it all around. Thank you so much for writing about your journey. It helps to know I'm no alone.

Alyce said...

Being content at where we are right now is not always easy. We have to keep asking God to fill us with His spirit daily in order that we do not fill ourselves with materialistic things or junk.
I can tell in your writings that this renewal you've been experencing is very refreshing to you!
Alyce

helenw13 said...

In the scripture..."whatever the circumstance" lept out at me...my circumstances can change from moment to moment but I don't have to lose my sense of being contented in the Lord...it is definitely not easy.

My husband and I went to a 50th wedding anniversary celebration this weekend...it was amazing...but one of the things I marvelled at was that this couple was fully themselves...they were not trying to be anyone they weren't...it is common knowledge that they have had many hardships especially in the last year or two but they have remained in the Lord and their immense joy comes through...they were content with each other...his silly humor...her very casual style...it was so attractive...no wonder Paul tells us it is something we must learn...I suspect it is something that we can model to the world instead the desire to want more and more.

Thanks Melissa for this post that touched my heart and made me think!

Helen

Becoming Me said...

Such wonderful lessons. Being content without being complacent is such a beautiful gift from God.

Lisa writes... said...

Godliness with contentment is great gain! Your determination to pursue simplicity continues to inspire me--thanks so much for chronicling your journey, the ups and the downs. Our God is faithful!