Learning to be content:
Have you ever thought, “Is it ever going to get any better than this?!”
It can be hard to be content. Have you ever looked hard at your life and thought, “How’d I end up here?” only to be followed by a gut wrenching feeling of despair, frustration and fear of the “What if never gets any better than this?” Or, “What if this circumstance never changes?” It’s a terrible and scary feeling when the unexplained, unanswered and unsure sets in because it always leaves a feeling of “discontentment”. I look at my own life, and I see God’s provision so clearly; I’ve been provided a good husband, a good job, a good family, a good etc… There are things in my life today that were prayerful pleas not long ago. How blessed, right?! Yet, I still fight fierce feelings of discontentment where I wish for a different life story than the one I’m living right here and now.
It’s something everyone faces at some point
Truth be told, I feel like so many of us live with these feelings, some maybe more prevalent than others. Maybe we wish for “stay at home mom” status, or heck, just “mom” status; Maybe we wish for a different job, a different job title, maybe just a job at all; a different home life, a different marriage, a different this or better that or more of whatever…all followed by saddening feelings of guilt. Guilt over not being grateful for what we DO have; guilt over not being content as if we should know better than to complain. Are any of you out there feeling any of these ways? If you are, you’re not alone. Just because we can know in our minds that we should be content doesn’t mean we always feel content.
“Count your blessings name them one by one…”
It’s really been on my heart lately to write this post and I feel like the Lord has great plans to use it to encourage some of you, even myself. When it comes to discontentment, one thing I’ve heard from pastors, counselors, and even my mom over the years is to count your blessings (and then there’s the song “Count your blessing name them one by one, count your blessings see what God has done…”) I know y’all are all singing this in your head now, haha- Sorry- not really sorry. But, this message is such wonderful advice! Legitimately NAME your blessings and you’re spirits will be lifted in no time! It doesn’t mean it’ll stop your pouting for good; we’re human and we get sad from time to time, but knowing (or being reminded through advice or song) of something that we can do IN those times, to lift our spirits, is a blessing in itself. Try naming your blessings out to God in thanks to Him; I’ve tried it and can attest to the fact that it really works very well. You can actually get quite caught up in just praising him and saying “Lord, thank you for this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and that and that” (you can see where I’m going with this!).
Does this really work?
One time I did this and ended up thanking Him for so much that I got caught up in joyful praise and even shouted out a “thank you” for my ceiling fan above my head! It may sound funny or even a little ridiculous to some, but seriously a fan to keep you cool IS a blessing to have and something that some don’t even have access to. And lets not be vague here, in times of deep despair, the devil can get ahold of your mind and put despairing thoughts to the point where you feel like there is nothing to be thankful for (at this point, I’d encourage you to read the Bible, read it more often and also seek some loving, Spirit lead counsel). At this level of discontentment, some may even say, “Well, I’ve worked for the ability to pay for that fan to run”…Yes, but that God blessed you with the ability to do so is a blessing. Thank Him for the abilities you’ve been given and stop letting your joy be stolen from you! You can get out of the discontentment and despair rut. It will take some practice though… that’s why people refer to it as “learning to be content”. So, practice saying, “Lord, thank you for this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and that and that”.
Thankfulness and praise are the key to keeping your spirits lifted. Go ahead and take just a minute to try it…see if you don’t start to feel the burden of despair and discontentment lifted!
God actually tells us in His word to be content. Here are some encouraging verses to help remind you to be content:
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
A sound heart is life to the body, But envy is rottenness to the bones. Proverbs 14:30
Luke 12:15 – And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
Philippians 4:19 – But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; Nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity. Ecclesiastes 5;10
A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones. Proverbs 17:22
If you’ve benefited from this post, take some time to read some of my other ones:
How to overcome stress and be grateful
How I’ve found joy in our struggles
She just has it all together