The following is a blog post by Cathy Messecar, author of The Stained Glass Pickup, co-author of A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts, the upcoming A Scrapbook of Motherhood Firsts and, most recently, A Still & Quiet Soul. Follow her blog at stainedglasspickup.blogspot.com
A young nurse starting her career has a wreck and breaks her neck becoming a paraplegic. A stay-at-home mother struggles with her checkbook low balance and her children’s high energy. A couple marries, a second marriage for both, and soon after the birth of their first baby, they discover that they will rear a special needs child. A minister feels managed by his elders rather than shepherded. How can each person accept the gift of contentment that Jesus gives? Where does he or she start?
Since lives constantly change, one learns and relearns contentment at different stages and conflicts. Consider five contentment tips to help you thrive where you are. Jesus said to his disciples before his crucifixion, “My peace I give to you.” Today, he extends that same peace to his brothers and sisters.
- Know that all-powerful, full of loving-kindness God has walked the timeline of your life. Nothing will surprise him. He doesn’t make mistakes about timing or events in our lives. God ably soothes and directs us as we “learn” contentment. Remember, Paul said, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4:11).
- We complicate our lives and bring frustrations upon ourselves through overbooked schedules, overstuffed stomachs, and bulging houses. Look around you. What causes your anxiety? What do you worry about the most? Can you do something about it? Have you turned your worries over to Father?
- Realize that we all suffer. It’s common to the human condition. You are not alone. Meditate and find the cause of your sufferings and make a list of those causes (find a list of eight in A Still and Quiet Soul: Embracing Contentment, chapter seven). Your list will help you recognize the source of suffering, and Father, Son, and Holy Spirit will enable you to face sufferings with faith instead of fear.
- Put away your wish-and-want list. Work and wait patiently for God to supply your needs. Learn to live within your budget. What you have is enough. Every object you own from a button to a Brussels sprout to a boat requires you to store it, cook it, or insure it. Personal possessions are simply stuff, none of which houses a soul.
- Invest your time in people. The rewards far outweigh owning things or climbing social or corporate ladders. You can’t put a price on the smile of a child, the last grip of an aging parent’s hand, or the saving of a single soul.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing” (Psalm 34:8-10).
Contentment is a “good thing,” and the display in your life can reach lost souls in your realm of influence. Learn contentment to become a walking billboard to the weary unsaved. Troubled souls don’t seek out handwringers or worriers to find solutions to their dilemmas. However, they often seek out those who have tasted the goodness of God and received his gift of contentment.
What about you? What are some ways that you find contentment in your everyday life, even during times of difficulty?