Why Contentment Should Be Easy

So I admit it, this year has been challenging. I started 2012 off with the Life Lessons I had learned from the previous year. They were good lessons and, for a few months, I felt like I had them under my belt. That be content thing? Oh yeah. Why wouldn’t you be content when you know nothing but Christ fulfills in this life?

Well, days went by, turning to months, and ending again with another December. The lessons fade along with the memories of mundane tasks performed on a daily basis. All around me there are people who have what I would like and yet take it for granted – aren’t as thankful as they should be… rather like I am with my blessings.

That’s when things get dangerous – when we start looking around and comparing what we’ve got (or want) with what others have. Suddenly, our life takes on a dull tone. One of my journalized notes gets to the root of it –

It’s rather late – I should be asleep already, but things are bothering me. Snuggled under a down comforter, my journal on my lap, I rant about life. One thing after another surfaces like the bubbles from an uncorked champagne bottle.

Life isn’t going my way.

But I already know that. The thing is, even though I know that, I still expect it to! Somewhere inside me, I think I can change my little world into a model utopia and live happily ever after. Isn’t that how it is in the stories we grew up on, the movies we watch? Yeah, there’s always a climax – a bit of an adrenaline rush heart ache to keep us interested – but it resolves in an hour or two leaving the memory to evaporate like star dust in the midnight sky.

As I scribble away, I know where the problem lies. It isn’t what I have or have not, ’cause I know that’s not what makes people happy.  I’ve been comparing my life to their life. In fact, I’m guilt of comparing myself to who I want to be.

What’s crazy is, I know better!

I know the wife of a fabulous husband and mother of a boat load of children isn’t always happy.

I know the “adorable couple” still has struggles like everyone else.

I know the lady down the street who just bought a great home for herself and has a well-paying job isn’t always smelling roses.

And that guy who travels the world and always does the things I want to do? Well, I know he’s just running away from it all like I want to.

I know that the best job, the best husband, the best location, weather, clothes, family, children, etc., will never make us happy.

You know why I know? Because I have it great! I am so blessed. I mean, how many people don’t get to snuggle under a down comforter in a warm house after a hot dinner and rant about their lot in life?

The gifts that many of us have been given are ultimately undeserved—we do not get to
choose if we are born into circumstances that allow us to live in a warm home, eat nutritious
meals, have access to clean water, and receive the chance to pursue an education or a vocation.
~Darling Magazine, Issue 1

I ended the entry with 2 Corinthians 10:12 –

“But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”

So true! Enough of that comparing stuff now!

Last night I opened my Bible to Hebrews 13 and started reading where I had left off the night before. Verses 5 and 6 stopped me in my tracks.

Let your conversation (or conduct) be without covetousness ; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Wow! That’s why we should be content! Because our God and Father told us, I will never leave you or forsake you. What a powerful promise!

Essentially, He’s saying, “Don’t desire what other people have, or even talk about it, My lambs. I’ve got you covered. What else could you possibly need when you have My protection and guidance?”

I was shamed out of my disgusting, comparing discontent. With a God like that, contentment should be easy. And it is, if we don’t allow self to get in the way, if we don’t let our minds wander to compare the goods of others, if we constantly immerse our thoughts with the Word of God.

With an attitude of thankfulness and contentment, we may shout with boldness and confidence, “The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me!”

That should be reward enough.

Choosing Trials

“Life need not be easy to be joyful. Joy is not the absence of trouble but the presence of Christ.” – W.V. Hoven

I think that Yahweh is teaching me that life is not about feelings, but about choices. We can choose to love, or we can only love when we feel like it and be miserable the rest of the time; we can choose to be joyful in our trials, or we can moan and groan through them and never grow higher because of them; we can choose to be at peace with ourselves and our circumstances, or we can drag through life being bitter, discontent, grumbling…and get old fast. Very Happy

Feelings are fleeting – here one day gone the next, they can never be relied upon. Living by them only causes heartache and confusion. If we keep our eyes on The Rock however, we will be stable, strong characters for Christ and He will “grow us” through the trials and temptations that come our way.

I am learning to…

· Identify my trials. Name them, label them – know what/who they are. This has been a tremendous relief in my life. I never realized before that I just didn’t want to admit that I had trials!

· Pray about them. Surrender them to Christ.

· Prepare for them. I know, it sounds strange, but trials are a FACT of life. You have to know where your enemy will hit before you can plan a counter-attack, or in this case, how you will react.

· Count them all joy (James 1:2). Realize that this is what makes you GROW. Glory, like Paul, in your tribulation because only by these will you become the person that Yahweh intents for you!

· Detach the trial from the person/people that bring them. Know that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers…of this darkness”. These “sandpaper people” as Elizabeth George calls them, are in your life for a reason – to make you a better, “smooth-er” person.

· Last of all, be confident of this very thing – that He which hath begun a good work in you will complete it (Phil. 1:6)!