If only I had .........???
In today’s society many would see contentment as a time in their life when all is well with no major worries or concerns. Others may feel contentment comes with a job, a newer car or a new home. Sadly all of those things bring temporary happiness that is not the same as contentment.
We all go through the journey of life with its trials and tribulations; none of us is going to escape the ups and downs of life. If we are trying to hold onto “contentment” by building our own personal kingdom, we are trying to achieve the impossible. If we are living in hope of gaining “contentment” when we have a husband, a new house or a new job, we are putting our hope in something that will only give us temporary satisfaction. Only moments of joy or happiness can be found in material possessions, or positions at work, in the community, or church. Contentment cannot be found through a partner, spouse or children.
Think for a moment about the times you have really felt a sense of joy in your life. The happiness you felt on moving day, when you moved into that bigger house. You know the one that has the bigger garden and the guest room. Remember the joy of planning barbecues in the garden. Isn't that the house you live in now? But now having a spare room is a bit of a pain because relatives keeps coming to stay and the house is never your own! The excitement of barbecues - well they never happened did they? There was never a weekend free or it rained when there was!
And remember the day you walked into that new job, or gained promotion. Can you remember the plans of how to spend that extra money each month? The money is no longer a blessing on payday as it goes with the rest to pay the monthly bills.
And finally remember the day you met your partner or spouse? Oh how the birds were singing in the sky as Mr or Mrs Right walked through the door! They were so spontaneous, so full of life. Several years later and their spontaneity is no longer refreshing and you ask yourself why can't they just sit a while. Why do they always have to be busy doing something or planning to do something?
You see, it's not about anyone or anything. Contentment is about you, it's about your thoughts, your heart despite the circumstances, not because of them.
In the Bible Paul writes to the churches of Philippians telling them:
I know what it is to be in need and what it is to have more than enough.
I have learnt this secret, so that anywhere at any time I am content,
whether I am full or hungry, where I have too much or too little.....
Philippians 12: 4 Good News
At the time of writing this Paul was imprisoned. Prisons in those days were not like they are today. It would have been cold and candlelit sometimes, but often in darkness. Paul would have had little food and water. Yet he said he had contentment, an inner peace that could surely not have been founded in circumstances.
At this time in his life he was sad about the false teaching in the church he had built, he had a lot of opposition from other Christians in his work. Yet, despite all of this Paul had an inner peace that was not dependant on his circumstances.
I thank God (I mean that literally and not flippantly) for the man who told me very boldly and plainly that I needed Jesus. He gently and lovingly held the mirror up to me and showed me myself.
Having Jesus in my life gives me an inner peace, a deep knowing that 'all will be well', despite the current circumstances. I had lived for years on the belief that if I had a husband, a home and my children my life would be complete. It was a lie from the enemy. My life became complete when I met Jesus. I am not saying that I do not still hurt when my family or friends are hurting, or when someone hurts me or things don't go well according to my plan. But no matter how many of my tears flow, I know deep inside my heart that God's promise in Romans 8:28 is:
Everything works together for the good of those who
love God and are called according
to his purpose
That is contentment!