That Tricky Thing Called Contentment

“Mom, I can’t wait until I am a grown up!  It takes forever being a kid!” my oldest declared from her booster seat as we drove down the road.  “Oh honey, don’t be in a hurry.  Your time as a child is actually going so quickly!” I replied.

Instantly my mind did a replay of the nearly 8 years since she has been born.  Sometimes it seems like just yesterday and other times it feels like a lifetime ago since she was born!  It is so difficult to imagine our life before we had children!!  What did we do with all of our spare time?

As I pondered the conversation between my daughter and I, I was reminded of when I was a child.  I could not wait to be in high school like my older siblings.  They got to do all the FUN stuff while I was still at home…. just biding my time until I could be in high school!

Once my high school days did arrive I couldn’t wait to be done with them!  Oh I enjoyed being a teenager, but all the “cool” older kids were away at college!  I wanted to be away at college too!!  In high school time seemed to go much quicker than when I was a child and before I knew it my senior year of high school was done and gone and college was here!

While most of my high school classmates stayed close to home God had led me to a college on the other side of the country!  I knew my older sister and brother and no one else on that college campus that seemed really huge.  My first church service at the campus church was overwhelming.  I had NEVER been in a church of that size!!  It was ginormous!

While in college I couldn’t wait to eventually be done with college and move on with “real” life.  Getting married!!  It was going to be amazing!  Once the wedding bells rang it wasn’t long before we desired to have a baby of our own.

Where am I going with all of this?  Good question 🙂

The point is this, being content with right where God has us at this exact moment is not always the easiest thing to do!  It isn’t wrong to have goals and aspirations, but sometimes those things become more important to us than the here and now and we can slip into a state of discontent just that easily.  We find ourselves always looking at what we don’t have, things we want to do but can’t for various reasons, money we want to have/earn, places we want to visit, big beautiful homes we dream to call our own, are you catching my drift?

Contentment can become a struggle when we make the choice to not be thankful for right where we are this very moment.  We can forget to be content when our minds constantly wander to what God has maybe withheld from us instead of focusing on all that He HAS given us.

Paul challenges us in Philippians when he shares with us what God had taught him.  Philippians 4:11-13 say,

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

Can you imagine being content all the time no matter what?

When money is tight, we are still content.  When our home is small, we are still content.  When we long to be married but are not yet, we are still content.  When we desire to have children but God has not opened the womb, we are still content.  When someone else gets the promotion we know we deserved, we are still content.  That is exactly what Paul learned!  Contentment in all things at all times.

Just imagine with me if you will, what if God was to give us everything that we ever wanted or everything we thought we deserved, what would our life be like?  I think it would become easy to not depend on the Lord, it would be a challenge to see how and when God met our needs and even so many of our wants.  We would begin to boast about all that we did or had instead of praise and thank God for giving us what we need!

As a parent I do love to give my children gifts, but I do not give them everything they ever wanted.  Oh goodness, that would be a tremendous mistake!  I can only imagine the greed, selfishness, wrongful attitudes that would develop in them.  I would actually be hindering them instead of helping them!

The same is true of our heavenly Father.  He knows what is best for us.  Solomon, a man that was gifted wisdom by God had it right when he said in Proverbs 30:8-9,

Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.”

He knew that if God gave him everything he ever wanted his heart would tend to turn away from the Lord.  He only wanted what God knew he needed.  He would learn to be content with what God gave him.

Where does God have us today?  Are we finding ourselves yearning for things He has chosen to withhold?  Are we learning to be content in every situation?  The Lord knows I have much to learn yet in being content.  Discontent can catch me off guard so quickly if I am not careful!  Thank God for the hope and help that He so graciously and constantly offers to us!  Let’s work on being more like Paul and ask the Lord to help us to be content with such things as we have and that in every situation we find ourselves in we will practice the art of contentment!

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