The Chase for Contentment

Friends, God has asked me to write something today that is difficult, painful, embarrassing and humbling. For a myriad of reasons, far too many to write, I have used excuse after excuse, reason upon reason and rationalization on top of rationalization to explain this issue in my life away!

We all have our own issues, and that’s not a slam on anyone. That is called human nature! My issues are not your issues and your issues are not my issues. That is why I hesitate to even write about this. But truth is, God is telling me to! It would be so much easier for me to continue to keep it to myself! True, it won’t come as a total shock to those of you who know me or those of you that have read my blog posts. It is not some thing uncommon to most human beings! It may not be an issue you wrestle with like I do, but it still stands as an irritant to most everybody.

The difference is, the many times I’ve talked about it and shared about it, I have communicated it as a desire, and God has shown me it’s more than that!

I wrote last week about contentment. I shared that I see it as something practically unattainable for me! But after that post, God took me to the mats! That’s right, you heard me, the wrestling mats! The place where God calls my name and gets my attention in anyway He can! The place where I have to wrestle with Him over an issue that is not getting through to my heart! Oh, my head understands it perfectly fine! I know that God says I am fearfully and wonderfully made and I know it’s true! I know that through Jesus Christ I have eternal life and I will be forever with God, and that’s true! I know that I’m a daughter of the King and that makes me a princess. I am cherished, adored, protected and loved! And because I know that and live that out, God wants me to be the best I can be for Him! In taking me to the mats He was telling me that there’s an issue that is in my head but has not gotten to my heart! And it’s the issue of contentment with my health, weight, age and physical appearance!

OUCH, that hurt to say!

I have read, spoke on and taught Philippians 4:11-12, more times then I can count! If you have ever received an email from me, or visited my home , you know that Philippians 4:13 is my favorite verse!

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” Philippians 4:13

I do my very best to live by it and frustrate many people along the way! But as I was on the mats with God this week He wouldn’t let me get to my favorite verse until I dealt with the two verses that come before it!

For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether living in plenty or in want.

Philippians 4:11-12

I know this passage well! I graduated from Bible college! I’ve studied the apostle Paul! He’s one of my heroes of the Faith after all!

I know he was in prison when he wrote these words! I know that he was bound in chains and didn’t know if he would wake up to see another day on this earth! I get it, I told God! No matter what my circumstances are, I am to be “CONTENT” in where you have me!

It got worse! I started to plead my case! God, I said, I have lived in plenty and in poverty. I have felt love and abandonment! I have moved far from home and left everything familiar to me. I have raised babies on the mission field and felt supported and alone! I have experienced friendships that are faithful and those that are disloyal. I have experienced the indescribable joy of giving birth to two babies and the pain of losing one to miscarriage.  

I have trusted You when you told me to go even though I didn’t know where I would end up and I have been blessed by You providing a home for me and having my family near. I have been healed by You and trusted You to bring me out of a coma and I have known good health most of my life. I have given You my life and declared it is not my own! Yet still I struggle with contentment.

I found myself exhausted and sweating after wrestling on the mats and pleading my case.

I fell to my knees and then to my face in silence.

Then, in the quiet and with a still small voice God whispered,

“Yes, but true contentment my daughter, you do not know. Stop looking for it with your head and find it with your heart!“

I discovered that contentment is not just dealing with our circumstances well and trusting them to God’s care. True contentment asks us to put effort in as well!

TRUTH BOMB

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Contentment calls for me to do my part as well as depend on God to do His!

Paul found himself in prison but instead of sitting there and praying quietly to God trusting that his circumstances would turn out…he shared the gospel! I can’t even imagine the physical pain he must’ve been in, but instead of sitting quietly and enduring it, he chose to share the truth and the good news of Jesus Christ with anyone and everyone who would listen!

We may not like where we are, but we do know that God’s in control! And trusting Him in that and enduring whatever circumstance we find ourselves in is demonstrating faith!

CONTENTMENT is taking that circumstance and doing something with it! Paul sat in a prison cell, chained to a wall and not only trusted in his God and had faith, but he found true contentment by sharing his faith with others!

Back to my issue…

This is my heart’s cry to God…

I know it’s going to take a drastic change for me to do some things for my mental and physical health!

Ultimately, mostly for my spiritual health! I know You have been working on me about contentment… And I’m ridiculously discontent! I know it’s me and not my circumstances.

My life could not be more blessed with my marriage, my children and their spouses and my grandchildren-I have truly the greatest blessings in the whole wide world! I need to fix myself! I have many excuses and valid reasons for not, but the bottom line is I am self-indulging! True, it fills my loneliness and my insecurities that I face being in ministry and being in the “spotlight.” These words are really hard for me to say, and I feel like they’re pouring out as a full confession as I’m writing them to you! But I want to be honest and I don’t want to shy away from it anymore! It’s going to take some hard work. I know what the Scriptures say is that it takes hard work to accomplish Gods purposes! I’m going to stop making excuses and I’m going to stop being so sad about the way I look and about getting old. I can do something about it to be the very best I can be, even at 60! And beyond for that matter! I’m going to ask for your prayers and I’m going to gut it out with you God!

Now, I can say my favorite verse…

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” Philippians 4:13

I know You will be faithful to me, you always are! I just need to be faithful to You and put the work in!

I give all the glory to You, God for what I know You can and will accomplish in and through me! On my own I am too weak and I can’t do it!But with Your power, there is nothing I can’t do!

So here goes! The results are not what’s important, the effort and work God’s calling me to put in to being truly content in Him, is!

Speak Truth Love

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