Friday, September 8, 2017

Content in Every Season

Copyright: luminastock / 123RF Stock Photo
Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.
~ 1 Timothy 6:6-8, NLT ~

Listen? Are you enjoying that sound? The sound of a childless house for a few hours? Is it allowing you a minute or two to catch your breath and gather your thoughts?

I don't know about you, but it always seems I want the opposite of what I have. When holidays or summer vacation are near, I crave the freedom of not having to be a slave to our schedules. The renewed sound of lively laughter in our home is music to my ears when my kids are all home. Yet, when school is out, I long for a return to routine and just some small amount of quiet where someone is not shouting, "Moooooom!"  I look forward to no longer being required to give near constant rides everywhere, or spending a whole day with clinic appointments.

Discontent poisons my life.

The sad fact is that the pace of life in today's culture can be continuously frenetic. There is always some demand on my time. Too little margin seems to exist in each day. And not many things live up to the expectations rallying and scheming in my subconscious.

When I hang so much hope on my own expectations, discontent bubbles up when those expectations are not met. The constant noise of life presses in and draws my attention to hyper-focus on my circumstances. That is not how God intends for me to live.

In this broken world, my Maker is shaping me to be content in every season and circumstance of life. He wants me to look more like Paul, who was following hard after Jesus:
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 all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:12-13, NIV)
Paul reveals the secret of that contentment. His reliance was fully on the strength of God. He wasn't depending on his own ability to deal with disappointed expectations. He knew he didn't have stamina of his own to deal with all the needs of those to whom he was preaching the Good News. Life's demands, cruelties, and noise were surely more than he felt equipped to handle on his own.

If you read Paul's letters, you don't hear much personal discontent. Yes, he was disappointed in the misbehavior of deceivers and of Christians who should know better. He addressed that disappointment with admonition and instruction for godly living. 

However, Paul's personal circumstances were never bemoaned in his letters. You don't find him striving for better, faster, newer. Despite unjust flogging, nearly drowning, grueling conditions as he moved through his travels, and constant persecution, Paul didn't whine.

God expects no less of me or of you. But that contentment, no matter the circumstances, only comes by drawing closer to Jesus and giving him full attention.

This morning I was convicted as I was spending my quiet time reading from the Book of Isaiah:
People of Jacob, why do you complain?
    People of Israel, why do you say,
“The Lord does not see what happens to me;
    he does not care if I am treated fairly”?
(Isaiah 40:27, NCV) 
Although I may feel hard pressed by the demands of motherhood with 3 children who require extra care, I have no right to nurse a discontent, complaining spirit. I am foolish when I allow doubts or disappointment to masquerade as truth. The same God who spoke the planets into existence cares intimately for me. He has proven Himself faithful again and again. He's numbered every hair on my head! I haven't even done that for myself. Resting secure in this knowledge should fill me with an unshakable joy that's present whether it's summer vacation or school is in session. 

Pray with me...

Lifter of my head, keep my eyes on You and not on my circumstances. Remind me to have a grateful heart for every blessing big or small in each new day. Contentment can't help but follow.

~ Barb Dittrich

*For further reading: The Crazy Way Complaining Alters Your Brain

2 comments:

  1. Wonderful article. Truth. As a 24 year veteran of now adult kids that require extra care, I am still learning the very lessons you mention here. I am grateful that He chose to give me these children to teach me more of Who He is and make me more like Him. He knows that we all need "extra" care and He is faithful to give it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful. Peace of mind comes from contentment and I think it's from a grateful heart that satisfaction happens.

    ReplyDelete