I was thinking this morning (yes, even before the coffee pot heated up!) about contentedness. Not just in the things that I have, but in the body I’m in, the house that we call “home” for now, and the life I live. How do I look at these things? Do I want for more (notice I said want, not need)? Do I want to significantly change what I have to be like everyone else?
Let me tell you–I’m not above an occasional pity party. You know the kind–why me? Why here? Why can’t I have nice things without the kids/hubby/cats tearing them up/breaking them/destroying them? Why can’t my body lose this weight and keep it off? Why can’t we move to a house that isn’t old and drafty and doesn’t even remotely resemble the ones in Better Homes and Gardens? Why can’t my kids be like normal kids? Face it–you’ve had a thought similar to those at some point in time in your life too–just go ahead and admit it and then ask the Lord to forgive it and let’s go on.
I’ve had my share of those pity parties. As things get a little (or a lot) tighter financially, as the children grow older and have more problems related to autism and adhd, as my own body grows older and has more aches and pains and problems (you’d think I’m old by how I talk–I’m only 34), I tend to slip up and throw a pity party for 1. I have had times of not being content in my skin.
This is a sin.
Paul speaks about contentedness in Phillipians 4:11
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
This comes from the man who started out as a Pharisee, blinded on the Damascus Road, found Salvation in Jesus Christ, and joined the very people he’d been persecuting. He found contentment in being imprisoned for Christ, being nearly killed many times and suffering for Him. He didn’t complain about not having a pretty house, perfect children, a perfect body, food to eat. He counted all his inadequacies as a way to glorify God and serve Him more!
In I Timothy 6:8, Paul writes: And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
Convicting, isn’t it? I know it sure is for me!
This morning, I want to lean the most on Hebrews 13:5, which says:
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
That promise of Jesus being with us no matter what…regardless of what we have, whether the things we have/are/want measure up to the world around us…that means more than having the perfect house, perfectly well behaved children, a size 6 body, or whatever else the world deems as “perfection”.
We as believers have Jesus…THE only Perfection we need.
We as believers don’t need to play “keeping up with the Jones” with the world around us, or even other believers. If Jesus wanted us to be like the Jones family, He’d have made us all Jones (no offense to anyone reading this who has Jones for their name).
He may have put us in a not so fancy house in a lower income neighborhood knowing that the rent and utilities would fit better into a tight budget than that fancier house across town. He could well have foreseen a dramatic loss in income, an illness, something to make the lesser cost of the home a necessity at some point.
He may have given us the children we have with the special needs they have knowing we’d have to lean on Him more than if we’d had life without those special needs. He knew to give us the strengths and experiences ahead of time to handle those individual needs that many normal families find strange….
He may have given us the aches and pains for us to appreciate the pain free days, to appreciate the finer things, like breathing and sitting upright without assistance. Like having extra padding to be able to handle the famine in the feast and famine times in our families. I found that being fatter, when we go through the lean times (like in November when our income was pretty small and nothing to buy groceries with), I can go down to one meal or just a snack and give what I would normally allow myself to the family…I can keep going on my stored energy bank…keep doing the washboard, keep doing the scrubbing, the outside work, without having to fill up with more, and continue to feed my family. Now I wouldn’t mind dropping off some of the storehouse I’ve got built. 🙂
He has given us a life He wants us to live. It’s up to us to find contentment in it.