“The state of being contented; satisfaction, ease of mind”
Ease of mind, can I be truthful making this statement. No. My mind is not as ease, my heart is also in a state of unrest. Since starting this blog, God has been stretching me in all sorts of directions. I have grown in my faith these past few months more than I have for the past year. God has shown me the errors of my ways and has corrected me back onto his path. I am learning to let go of control, to trust, and allow God to be completely in charge. I have been given the opportunity to learn patience. I have felt God’s presence, his peace, his embrace, his hand in the world that surrounds me and where I am called to be. The state of being content fits right into the ways God has been teaching and stretching me and is just one more hurdle in my way of a closer relationship with him.
The fact is I can honestly say contentment has not been part of my life the past two weeks, I am feeling the proverbial walls closing in on me. I am not content being jobless, living with my parents, and relying on them to help me with my bills. It is more frustrating that I am doing all that I can to change these circumstances. I have been looking for jobs where I have felt God calling me to serve. I have put out at least two applications a week to job postings I diligently look for on a daily basis. I am not content with my state of employment and the process it takes to achieve that step.
Most of my friends I talk to and see while I am home in Iowa are either married or in the process of getting married. Some have even progressed to the step of expanding their family with children. I cherish the time I have with my friends and their children. I love being with them, laughing and having a good time, but I also desire to be where they are in their lives. I am not content in singleness, but I am still very content on waiting to have children as stated in a previous blog.
There are many places in the bible that talks about contentment. The one that really hit hard and somewhat out of left field comes from Paul’s letter to the Philippians. In chapter four Paul writes,
“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.” Philippians 4:11-12
I have been mediating on those words since I read them. How does one learn to be content in every circumstance? How does this look like in daily life? How can I apply it to my life? Do I really understand what Paul was saying? The obvious first answer was Paul relied on God, focused on him, let God be his contentment. As a learner I pursued for more understanding. Surprisingly enough, I stumbled across a few sermons on the World Wide Web focusing on Christian contentment. Each delved into this passage and made some applications. One in particular really made me stop and really focus on the heart on my ability not to be content.
It’s funny how God really opens our eyes. It once again pushed and stretched me to understand him. My non-contentment boils back down to the lessons I have been learning. It is all rooted in letting go of control, trusting and letting God.
“Contentment is the confidence of faith in the sufficiency of God’s provision for my needs and it is the confidence of the sufficiency of God’s grace for every circumstance.” Rev Carl Haak
God has a perfect plan, he has a perfect timing. I may not understand the hows, whens, or whys, but God does. That is the beauty of having my God. He has made sure that his timing for me, the plan he has made for me is unique, special, and is exactly what he desires for me to have. This plan he has for me gives me the ability to glorify him all that I do. When I choose to look at my circumstances differently, I can see that contentment can be achieved because all I need to do is focus on God. I need to learn to be content in all circumstances like Paul because God is in control.
So if I take a step back and look at this time I have had since graduating with a new perception I see – quality time to spend with my parents and siblings because in the not so distant future I will not live as close as I do now. Quality time spent with my grandparents, especially my grandfather. Quality time spent with close family friends who need a smile in their day due to their circumstances. Quality time spent with close friends and their children. Time spent relaxing and taking time for myself after seven hard years of school to get me to this point in my life, achieving a huge goal I set for myself. Time spent on activities I love to do and haven’t had a chance to do. Most importantly it has been a time for me to work on letting go, trusting and letting God be in charge. It has been a period of tremendous growth, learning and relying on God.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.”