Posted by: rhenderson8110 | February 28, 2013

Contentedness

Have you ever found yourself constantly yearning for the next phase in your life? I am terribly guilty of missing out on the moments and lessons of today because I’m looking eagerly for tomorrow. And then… tomorrow takes FOREVER to arrive! Whether it is a new job, a new home, looking forward to having children, paying off your car or finishing school it seems like we are all dying to get out of the phase we’re in. True? True. Because I am doing some self-examination in my pre-Passover prep I have decided that one thing I really need to work on is, drumroll please…. contentedness. So, I have begun my very own little study on the topic and thought I would share for the rest of you over-achieving (okay impatient is perhaps a more fitting word) souls out there. Let’s begin with this familiar scripture:
Philippians 4:11-12: Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

Doesn’t Paul make it sound so easy?! What blew my mind even more was the fact that he was in prison when he wrote this! That, my friends, is what I call a perspective punch to the face… and also proof that I have a lot of learning to do in this area of my life.

I have put together a short list of action items that I have tried to incorporate into my life to help me as I ‘learn to be content in whatever state I am in.’

1. Remember that God has placed you exactly where you are on purpose. Sometimes I find myself yearning for the next step so much that it consumes me. I think about it, I do research on it, I talk to other people who are already there, I make an elaborate (and I think fairly impressive) spreadsheet and I constantly pray about it. The problem is that I am not praying that God’s will be done, but that my will would be done. Perhaps a lack of contentedness is a symptom of a lack of faith. If I really believed that God was intimately involved in my life and guiding me every step of the way it would be a lot easier to be content. I would know that He will direct me to the next step in exactly the right time. So it helps me to go back to the basics and say to myself- ‘God has put me exactly where I am and it is here that I will find the most fulfillment and satisfaction if I maintain a cheerful attitude and look for ways to grow myself and bless others.’

2. Thou shalt not compare. This is a big one for me. It’s funny how my 9-5 job doesn’t seem so bad until I see a Facebook friend is in Spain on a luxuriously long vacation and another is enjoying a leisurely cup of coffee as she prepares lunch for her wonderful children. Comparison is like a virus- once you let it in, it is SO hard to get it out. So, my advice- don’t let yourself go there. If you have to, stay off social media sites until you can get your perspective in check. (Sorry Facebook ;)) A little discipline in this area can prevent A LOT of discontent in our lives!

3. Cultivate a heart of gratitude. One way Alex & I have done this is by starting a blessings book. We write in there those things, big or small, that we see as blessings in our life. In times of discontent I have trained myself not only to re-read what God has already done for us, but I make myself add at least 1 more. Doing this helps to put me back into a grateful state of mind. One of my favorite Psalms says: This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it! (Psa. 118:24) Or to paraphrase- Begin each day with thankfulness! My own practical application of this is to include at least 1 thing in my morning prayer that I am thankful for. It could be my husband, my home, my health or my morning coffee- they are all blessings! This is another example of a principle that I believe in passionately- physical disciplines reap spiritual rewards. Try to build a few physical disciplines into your every day routine and I think you’ll see the difference!

These are just a few principles that are helping me on my way to becoming a more content woman. There are SO many more! Sometimes the circumstances are overwhelming, seemingly unending, harsh and even tragic but I believe God has called us to be content right where we are. This is one of our most difficult callings! But you know what was encouraging to me as I continued to study that passage in Philippians? Well, keep reading to the very next verse… Phil. 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Being content is hard but you know what, Christ is right there beside us, giving us the strength that we need. So remember, as you try to become more content that Christ is your partner in this endeavor- and that you can do ALL things with Him!
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Responses

  1. This was EXACTLY what I needed… what a wake up call. Thank you! 🙂

    • Thanks Jacquie! So glad you enjoyed it!

  2. I love this! This post truly blessed me because I am horrible at trying to plan every detail in my life instead of being content with my current situation and allowing God’s will to be done exclusively. Wow! Thank you.

    • I’m so glad you felt blessed by this post. I think contentedness is something we all need some work on!


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