Thursday, February 27, 2014

Contentment

But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. 1 Timothy 6: 6-7

Discontentment

It’s on the slower days at work where I begin to vainly imagine something better or more purposeful I could be doing. I say to myself, "Should I be in South America working with orphans? This is all so mundane here behind a desk managing insurance paperwork! I bet I would have so much more joy and feel purposeful in life if I were on the mission field."
 On these not-so-busy days, it’s like there is something more exciting that I feel like I am missing out on. I think, "How boring is my life compared to ______. I go to work, eat, sleep then go to work again, eat, sleep, etc... This is every day five days a week in the same predictable pattern.  

I get these daily aspirations – dreams, promptings, or what some would call discontent thoughts, which throw me into another existence as a singer, actress, missionary or just a brave lone traveler! Questions arise like, “Am I doing all I am suppose to do? Am I fulfilling my purpose in this life? Is there a purpose? I rarely feel like I am living an adventure. I just know that grass really is greener over there. So many people in the world have it better than me. 

Or do they? 

I think the real question here is why am I always grasping for something better, something more? Then, if I got it, would I really be content? 


Comparison: Friend or Foe?

I have discovered that comparison can be your worst enemy or your greatest companion. It depends on who you are comparing yourself to. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need a wishy washy friend like that around! I began to think about this and it occurred to me that we always grasp for the wind, identifying so many tangible things as possible solutions that will finally bring the fulfillment for which we long. It’s always on the other side of where we are today. The Rolling Stones said it best with the lyrics, “I can’t get no, satisfaction!” 

If I compare myself to one person I am doing great, another I am really an under achiever. Either way it is not honorable to God. One brings pride, the other brings discontentment with my life.When I see others doing what I dream of and then learn that their story is one of unhappiness, broken relationships, drugs, alcohol, and eating disorders; its then I am reminded that what I thought would bring me contentment might just be a big fat lie! 

Joyce Meyer once said something that struck a chord in my soul and I will never forget it. "Happiness is based on what is happening while true joy and contentment is found despite someone's circumstance." Wow, so maybe that is why Paul could be in a dark dirty prison and still sing God's praises. In Philippians 4, Paul said, "I have learned in whatsoever state I am in therewith to be content." In fact, Paul wrote a lot about contentment during his time in captivity because it was "learned" through his suffering. He learned to be content in any circumstance and encourages us that if he can be at peace in prison, we can have peace and joy anywhere too. It's between the ears not what's on our bank statement. 

The Amplified Bible describes being content as "satisfied to the point where you are not disturbed or disquieted".  Oh how I love that, and want that!
 I have learned, the hard way I might add, that the secret of being content is to ask God for what I want, and know that "if it is right" He will bring it to pass "at the right time," and if it isn't right, God will do something much better than what I asked for anyway. We must learn to trust God completely if we ever intend to enjoy peaceful living. When I focus on being godly and honoring God in all I do, its amazing how my heart and mind seem to find fewer moments of discontentment.


"Happiness" or Joy? 

Some people will continue to tell you fame, riches, sex, and the list goes on, will bring you happiness. Go ahead, agree with them, then add a question. "Yes you'll find some happiness, but will it sustain true joy that will last eternally?" Remember my quote from earlier? Happy comes from what is happening. Your contentment or happiness depends on your circumstance when you are living a life that looks and searches for joy in earthly treasures. 

Take away that thing or person that makes you happy and who are you? Do you have an identity apart from whatever it is you depend on for joy? Is there a person in your life you idolize? If they were to walk away from a relationship with you would you believe your world was coming to an end? Yes, we are to enjoy one another. God made us to love one another in relationships. However, we should not depend on one another for joy moment by moment. That’s impossible for anyone to live up to in your life



Know this: it is the unseen, intangible and eternal work of the cross in your life that will bring you true joy and life. Jesus said to find your life you must lose it first. I know this all sounds mysterious and spiritual but at the core its just about being selfless. Is everything about you these days? Selfishness is the cheerleader for discontentment and always roots for you to indulge in something forbidden because it will make you "happy".  



As long as you depend on others or your circumstances for your joy, you will be on a roller coaster ride of emotions for the rest of your life. There will be ups and downs all along this road of life, but it’s the foundation that you build your life upon that determines if your house will stand. Did you know Scripture mentions God as the Rock 42 times in the Bible? And Jesus is referred to as the Chief Cornerstone. The foundation of Christ is the only One who brings stillness in the midst of the storms of life. Your home, built upon the Rock of Jesus Christ, will not falter or fail if the winds of change or difficult circumstances come. 

My friends, joy is one thing that can never be taken from you- so don't give it away to worthless things. 




He is jealous for me, Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree, 
 Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.

When all of a sudden, 
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory, 
And I realize just how beautiful You are, 
And how great Your affections are for me. 

And oh, how He loves us oh, 
Oh how He loves us, 
How He loves us all
  
And we are His portion and He is our prize, 
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes, 
If His grace is an ocean, we're all sinking.

And Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss, 
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest, 
I don't have time to maintain these regrets, 
When I think about, the way...

Oh, how He loves us oh, 
Oh how He loves us, 
How He loves us all
How He loves

Lyrics by: David Crowder Band - "How He Loves Us"

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