Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Learning Contentment




I love this picture. It is from my wedding day. When I look at it it brings me a sense of peace and joy. We have the ability as followers of Christ to always experience peace and joy by drinking from the water that flows from Him, the living water. (John 4:13-14: Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.")


I recently sent this email out to some girlfriends:

"Good morning ladies,
I wanted to share with you this morning how the Lord ministered to me through His LIVING Word. I say living because I feel it comes alive to me when I read it with an open heart and brings me that life and living water that only the Lord can give.

I woke up with some stinkin' thinkin' this morning. I am a selfish creature. The Word has a way of revealing the ugliness of our hearts and guiding us away from stinkin' thinkin' :0) Our minds are powerful. They have the ability to make us joyful or make us bitter. Happy or sad. I love the saying: "your day is only as good as your attitude". As Christians we must take our thoughts captive and give them to Christ... not the enemy or our flesh.

Psalm 90:12- Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." That is awesome. If we learn to number our days... make each one COUNT then we shall gain a heart of wisdom. Our lives are fleeting and we must be seeking ways to redeem our time and make the most of our moments. We can do this by choosing to be the opposite of what we feel (unless the feelings we have are positive). This morning (with the Spirit's help and guidance) I am CHOOSING joy. I am choosing to make today count for the better. I hope you do the same :0)"

I continue to think about choosing joy after sending that email...

I don't feel it would be honoring to my husband to share with you things that I want to change about him (lets face it ladies, no matter who we are married to we find things we want to "fix") but I can tell you of other areas where discontentment creeps in and "steals my joy".

I don't like where I live because of the wretched air quality.

I wish that my family lived closer by.

I never get to sleep as much as I want.

Why do I have to be SO sick when I am pregnant?

I could go on and on (because I am just that selfish). The morning that I sent this email I had gone to bed the night before at 8:30 because I had not been sleeping well and I was so excited to get a good nights sleep. At 9:30 (when I was sound asleep) the phone rang in our room and woke me up. I didn't go back to sleep until 2 a.m. or so and then Ricky woke up at 5 min to 5 ready to start the day. I was exhausted and immediately began repeating in my head why I was so miserable and tired. poor me.

There are ALWAYS things to complain about, no matter who you are. Contentment is truly a choice. There are many woman who would look at you and think, "what does she have to be unhappy about?" Not to mention the starving people in Africa or even in our country that would probably view most of us as spoiled brats anytime we mutter a complaint. Do you see what I am saying? It is ALL in perspective. Continually rejoicing and giving thanksgiving takes practice (we are what we practice!). Reactions define us. Anyone can have joy when things are good but it takes a woman of God, whose joy is found in the Lord, to have joy regardless. I want to be that woman.

I have gotten many of my desires for contentment from a book called: "Created to Be His Helpmeet" have you read it yet? If not I highly recommend it (check out cheapbooks.com). I love one story she tells of a joyful woman who Debi (the author) went to visit. The woman couldn't wait to show off her home and especially this neat little shelf her husband made. The thing is, her house was a shack. It had dirt floors. And yet, she was joyful and thankful (which usually go hand in hand). Debi has so many good examples in this book about being a miserable wife that sounds like a dripping faucet to our husbands or a fountain bubbling over with happiness. The bible says that we, as women, have the ability to build up or tear down our homes.

I was listening to a message by a woman on being a good wife. She said that when her husband spoke to the men he asked them what they wanted most from their wives. One of the very top things was "for her to just be happy". The enemy would have us waste our lives away (and our husbands for that matter) thinking about everything we don't have or thinking about how things never go our way.

blah, blah, blah... I could go on and on because contentment is something I struggle with. I think we all struggle with it to some extent. I long to be like Paul who said: "But if we have food and clothing, with these we shall be content (satisfied)." (1 Tim. 6:8)

There are many verses on contentment. Here are a couple more:

And God's peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.(phil. 4:7)

and my favorite: "Not that I am implying that I was in any personal want, for I have learned how to be content(satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am. "(phil. 4:11)

I like how Paul said contentment is something he LEARNED. We are naturally bent to be discontent. we have to deny ourselves (in the amplified version it says: forget, ignore, disown ourselves-Mark 8:34) if we want to be content.

I know this is going to be a life long process for me and I am so grateful to serve a God who is long-suffering. As I continue to drink the water Jesus offers I will continue to learn contentment.