Contentment: A state of happiness and satisfaction.Philippians 4:11-13 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be truly content in the Lord. As I was browsing through pinterest (probably not the best place to seek contentment:), I noticed several pictures that were labeled as "contentment".
Now keep in mind that these are the world's views of contentment and do not represent true contentment found in the Lord.
I was intrigued by the "pictures" of contentment. They are all so different, yet have one thing in common: Dependence.
The baby. He is dependent on his mother for life. He can't plan his next day. His contentment is found in trusting, not worrying, and just resting.
The Couple. There is a reason they are pictured together. They depend on each other for this feeling of satisfaction. Something that is only found in the love and friendship of two people. Notice that contentment in this situation isn't pictured as this couple having all the money they need to pay their bills, buying their first house, getting promotions, or any of the many things that we would deem as "successful". This couple is simply resting in the joy that is found in each other's love.
Nature. For some reason, we always look at scenery, a simple flower floating in a pond, a cloud-filled sky and say, now that is contentment. But nature too is dependent. What flower says to itself, "I had better make sure I store up enough sunshine to make it through tomorrow"? Or what sun setting worries that it won't rise again? Everything in nature is provided for by the hand of God.
Matthew 6:28-34 And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Yes, I know all of my summaries are a stretch, but I give them to stress one important truth. Even those who do not know the source of true contentment realize that it is not found in all of our accomplishments or even the things we are proud of. We find true contentment as we rest in the Lord and His provisions for our life. All the things we think we need in order to be content are substitutes for true contentment.
The book "Calm my Anxious Heart" by Linda Dillow, gives 5 steps to contentment.
1. Never allow yourself to complain about anything-not even the weather.
2. Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or someplace else.
3. Never compare your lot with another's
4. Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
5. Never dwell on tomorrow---remember that tomorrow is God's, not ours.
I'm sure I will write more on this to come as God continues to teach me in this area. But just think about this, If we learn to be truly content, then where does that leave complaining, nagging, envy, jealousy, bitterness, anger, and so many other things that seem to stem out of a lack of contentment? What do you think?
I know, I know-focus on one thing at a time;)