Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Contentment





A friend recently posted a challenge on F*cebook...describe 2010 with one word.  Here were some of the responses:


abysmal
underwhelming
stressful
Bittersweet
loss
Ugh


I also saw things like Thank God 2010 is over!  Can't wait for 2010 to come to a close!  


Its been weighing on my heart ever since I read those posts.  To be completely honest, its shocking to me and terribly sad that someone would feel that way about an entire YEAR of their life.  I would never lump a whole week together and say What a bad week...I'm so glad its over!  And so I have to wonder...what is the difference?  Is my life so free of problems that I never have a bad week or a bad year?  Do I have things so easy while others have difficulty over difficulty?


Well, I DO think that God has blessed me, but I don't think He has picked my out as a "favorite".  I think so much of it is simply about perspective and with that, contentment.  


Its the strangest thing, but I attribute this contentment quest back to when I was working at the bank, back to the beginning when I was a teller.  The weather is a hot topic with the customers, as you might imagine.  During the winter months (and late fall and early spring) I would join right in with the complaining about the weather.  Ugh...more snow?!?  It is SO cold...I can't stand it THIS cold!  Are we ever going to catch a break??  You know...the usual stuff.  


One night I was walking out to my car to go home and it must have been especially cold because I was grumbling to myself.  Suddenly I had a thought.  I live in New England.  Am I really going to complain and be miserable because of the weather for six months out of my life every year?  That seemed like a waste to me.  So, what are my options?  Well, we could move, but Shaun doesn't like hot weather and both of our families are here.  To me, that left the option of accepting what I cannot change and to STOP the endless complaining.  I started to very deliberately look for good things about the winter and just be thankful to have that six months of my life.


Since then, I've been very deliberate at putting that into practice with other areas of my life.  I don't want to waste a day of this fleeting life being unhappy or ungrateful.  Life is hard and somedays it takes all the strength I have but I want to choose to find the good. I want to be happy...right here, today.  I am far from mastering this attitude...it continues to be a daily decision.


WIll you choose it with me?  Don't live with the attitude:


I'll be happy when...
Once such and such has happened, I'll be happy
I can't wait until...


Resolve in 2011 to pursue contentment.  Make it one of your very top priorities to have a grateful heart.  Think about that one  word you want to use to describe 2011 and make it happen.


While I was writing this post, I thought I bet Joyce Meyer has something to say on this subject.  So I looked it up and, sure enough, she says it better than I ever could


The Bible clearly teaches us to "be content" no matter what our circumstances are. In Philippians 4:11 Paul said, "I have learned in whatsoever state I am in therewith to be content".The Amplified Bible describes being content as "satisfied to the point where you are not disturbed or disquieted". It doesn't say satisfied to the point where you don't want change, but satisfied for now until God brings the change. 


Philippians 4:6-7 sheds more light in this area by saying, "Have no anxiety about anything, but in all things by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, continue to let God know what you want", and verse 7 "the peace that passes understanding shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus"


Allow me to paraphrase these scriptures in my language for you. Don't be upset about anything, no matter what is happening. Pray about it, and tell God your need. While you are waiting for God to move, be a very thankful and grateful person for all that God has done for you already. (Note: Let me say here that if God never did one thing for us except write our names in the Lamb's Book of Life, that alone is more than enough.) 


Being thankful from the heart is necessary for the receiving of God's continued favors in our lives. Then verse 7 says after this: 
1. Have no anxiety or care, 
2. Tell God your need, and 
3. Be thankful. 
Then you will have tremendous peace and contentment no matter what state you are in while you are waiting for God to work out His will in your life. 

 

10 comments:

Amy said...

Oh so true!!! That's good preachin'!! Ironic that it's those same people who complain starting April 1st about how unbearably hot it is.

I will continue to pursue contentment in 2011. It's a very happy place to dwell.

Amy said...

BTW, Phillippians 4:6-7 is our family memory passage for January...how cool!

Darla said...

i have had those same thoughts when people complain about the weather. i am just grateful to BE ALIVE in any weather! hehe. it's just weather! and i am grateful that God has given us a variety of seasons. i like the idea of pusuing contentment, i have similar ideas about my new year theme... contentment, joy, and happiness are my focus.

LuAnn said...

I also agree with you Lisa (and the Phillipians passage is one of my favorites - it is on my office wall).
I am also thankful to be healthy, happy, wonderful husband and son and family.
One of our favorite hymns is
"I Am Content!"
Vs 1 I am content - My Jesus lives again. In whom my heart is pleased. He has fulfilled the law of God for me; God's wrath he has appeased. Since he in death could not perish never. I also so shall not die forever. I am content, I am content. There are actually 4 verses.

Meg A. said...

Lisa, my jaw dropped when I saw your post. "Contentment" is my word for 2011 and I've been praying about it quite a lot lately. I want to be content based on God ALONE... regardless of whatever else I have in my life, I want to rely on Him for contentment, solely. I am very aware of how blessed I am and continually thank Him for those blessings. But I wonder, what if all of it was gone in an instant? Could I still say I was content? Could I truly rely on Him for that contentment? Just a stream of thoughts I've been pondering lately. Thanks for letting God speak through you!

Vanessa/Chelsea said...

Hi! I often see this in the people around me...always something wrong with work, the weather, the food, the service...I am so happy to not be that person. I am content with my life (most of the time) and I see people with MORE to be thankful for than I, and not be...BUT ...There are people whose year really has been filled with loss...of relatives, jobs, health. Sometimes life takes a turn for the worst. There are some things that could happen over a year, that even contented old me would consider my year abismal. Aweful things do happen to some people and families and unless I have ever had to live through that type of loss, I will never judge their discontentment. On the other hand, their are many people around me that will never be content with ANYTHING unless they change their thinking. I think those are the peoply you are talking about. It IS a very good thing to strive for and I think as I - we - grow older it comes a little more naturally!

Lori said...

What a great post!! I've been thinking lately about turning my "I have to do..." to "I GET to do..." Thanks for these words about contentment!

Momagoose said...

Love this post!!!!!

The Bug said...

I linked to this post in my post yesterday (Thankful Thursday) & didn't even tell you - rude!

Needless to say I'm trying to take it to heart. This NC girl has lived in Ohio for 13 1/2 years & I'm still not quite content with the snow.

Mandy said...

I appreciate the thoughts here. Many people who posted had multiple family deaths, miscarriages, etc. We ourselves have been struggling to find a job since July, with no luck. Prior to that I had multiple health issues that made daily life very difficult. I understand that you advocate being content with what blessings are in your life, and I do that as much as I am able. When every day is a trial of health and stress, it becomes difficult. I am no Job. I get it though, and will continue to remember that in family and friends I am truly blessed, and try to have faith that the rest will work out.