Friday, August 17, 2007

A Few Thoughts on Contentment

A lot of our hits come from people searching Google for "how to find contentment." Contentment is not found. It is learned. Philippians 4:11 "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." (emphasis mine) True contentment does not come from seeking to change one's circumstances. That doesn't mean you stop looking for ways to improve things within reason. However, contentment accepts the situation and adapts to meet it.

Where do you find contentment? You find it in a relationship with God. You accept His Sovereign will over your life. You trust that even in the midst of the worst circumstance, He is working His will through your life for your good and His glory. Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Contentment is an attitude change. It's a change in how we speak and think. Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. That transforming of our mind comes through a study of Scripture, prayer (talking to God) and self discipline. Self discipline? Oh yes! You think "I am not going to think like the average person thinks. "I am going to trust God in the midst of this time (good or bad) and take Him at His Word."

I am not an excited fan of poo diapers, which I am finding myself changing quite often lately. When I grumble and think of it as "changing a dirty diaper," I am thinking as the world does. When I think "I am so blessed to be able to change the diaper of the child the Lord has given me to raise for His glory!" or "I am making my precious baby smell sweet and feel comfortable." or "How loudly I would rejoice if I could change just one diaper of the children I have lost!!" it transforms my mind. I am no longer serving self by doing a routine task. I am serving God right where I am, doing what He has put in front of me. I am uplifted and encouraged to continue doing good for my child's sake because it pleases my Father. Because of the renewing going on inside of me, through God's response to my efforts, I am even thankful to be doing it!

I was visiting a local church and overheard nursery workers calling the children in their care brats and talking about how much they hated working in the nursery. Neither was realizing what a blessing it was to the spiritually hungry parents who have very little time and opportunity to fellowship or Bible study. They lost sight of the blessings of serving and grew discontent in the doing. You need to be careful of how you share and who you share with. Some people will push you further down that slippery slope of discontentment which will lead to ungratefulness, frustration, anger, jealousy, etc.

Share your burdens with a godly friend who will uplift and encourage. Don't be "that friend" who discourages and tears down either. When you look at how Paul shared his difficulties with his readers, he was brief. He didn't drag out the gory details and have a pity party. Matthew 12:34b ...for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.

It's OK to share or show compassion for another's struggles. "I understand. I found myself in a similar situation and felt much like you do. But, I believe God has a plan for you in this! Here's how He worked in my life through much the same circumstances. Let's agree to pray together and watch to see what God does!"

One thing which helps us find contentment is to look at things as they really are. Our government isn't perfect here in the US, but it is a great deal better than most. My home is a wreck still from Isabel and daily we wonder if the engineers will show up and tell us it is soon time to live in the RV while they elevate the house. But, we have a roof over our heads that keeps us warm in the winter and cool in the summer. My husband is not Mr. Perfect in every area, but he's a godly man who cherishes us and gives us his best. Homeschool never meets my lofty ideal, but my children are learning and growing in the Lord.

Now, I have to go; my time is at a premium these days. I am thankful to have things to do to keep busy in this calling God has given me. I have a beautiful newborn who needs nourishment, comfort and to be made clean. I am so thankful God gave her the ability to cry so I can help her when she needs it.