Wednesday May 18th, 2016
Women Connect ~ short weekly posts to inspire and encourage.
I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am Philippians 4: 13&14 The Message
Content ? – mmm – – – my dictionary describes it as a state of satisfaction and of peaceful happiness. Sounds ideal.
But then Paul goes and implies that He has learnt to be content – – – no matter what? despite the circumstances? whatever situation He was in?
So I’ll confess straight up thats one I’m still learning. I haven’t mastered that recipe yet. Rather what I am quite good at at times, is having a whinge and feeling all hard done by and feeling more than a little bit sorry for myself.
So much of our sense of being content can rely on the ebb and flow of circumstances in and around our lives lining up with our expectations of how it should be. Which would be OK if they ever did. So where does that leave us. Restless, discontent, grumpy, complaining to ourselves and to God, looking for the door.
Except that we know something better. Except that Jesus takes the bottom right out of it. While perfect conditions or ideal circumstances come around about as often as Haley’s Comet, the goodness of God is to be had everyday and Jesus is our unfailing companion at all times and at every turn.
One thing you will know if you have done any of the whinging, complaining, grumbling gig consistently, is this. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t move us forward, it doesn’t motivate us, it doesn’t bring us joy or freedom, it doesn’t change us – it just makes us feel worse.
I think that there is what we could call a healthy discontent – that part of us that wants to do better, that urges us forward to try something new and to improve our circumstances. Its positive and motivating and theres faith and hope mixed in there and the biggest thing is, it doesn’t stop us appreciating the goodness of where we are right now.
Chronic discontent though grinds us to a halt, it debilitates and demotivates and its always looking for someone to blame. It’s cruel and unforgiving and judgmental – it wont see goodness when its right there in front of us and it wants more and bigger and better but wont enjoy it when it arrives. It steals joy and drains the life right out of everything, it elbows out faith and gives up on hope. Not much of the life of God in there.
But here’s what works and what I am still learning. Here’s what takes us in the direction of what Paul was talking about. Here’s what leads us to know contentment despite everything, to know that we can do all the things that we come face to face with in our lives and not despair – the things God calls us to do, the things we don’t want to do and the things that we see as set backs and trials and too darn much to handle.
Gratitude and thankfulness work. Appreciating what we have and where we are, right now – daily being thankful for the blessing of Jesus, for life and for all the seen and unseen goodness our lives are full of. When we start to be thankful – we begin to see blessing on blessing and grace upon grace.
Thankfulness makes room for God.
Thankfulness God can do something with.
It helps us see what God sees.
Here’s something we can do – make a list of all that is good in our lives and keep making it and then make our home there.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me – everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8&9 NLT
I’m learning, that out of anything we can do to help ourselves in our thinking – simple daily thankfulness is one of the most powerful. It evens out our emotions and helps us gain a more balanced perspective of ourselves and where we are at. It motivates and inspires and brings with it a measure of the peace and rest that we are so often looking for.
Seeing God in all of it works. We have Jesus – the one brought low so that He can be with us when we are brought low. Our constant companion, our strength, our wisdom and He is the one who works every little thing together for our good. Our only part is to see and perceive that in everything He is near and through anything He can work.
I like this definition of content “To be free from care because of satisfaction with what is already one’s own”
What Paul had as his own and what we have is Jesus with us and with Him everything. Not alone, not floundering, not forgotten, not despairing. The glass isn’t half empty as some might perceive it – rather it’s full to overflowing.
“We need not get frantic. He is at the helm. And when our little day is done we lie down quietly in peace, for all is well” Thomas R Kelly. A Testament of Devotion.
Love to you all today
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