Philippians 4:11-13 (New International Version)
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. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
The Lord is working on me. I've been trying to think of serious goals I have for 2009. More than the typical "I want to lose weight" (not that losing weight is not a worthy pursuit - that's on my list too.) I'm thinking about deeper things though - character traits I'd like for the Lord to build in me; trying to take something that really is just plain foreign to me and making it an integral part of me. I have two qualities that I know He is leading me to work on this year. One is contentment, the other is friendliness and hospitality. Neither is in my natural makeup. I'll share my friendliness and hospitality struggles in another post, this one is about contentment.
I was talking with a few sweet mamas at choir last night. I left the room to see what Brendan was doing and came back and they were talking about contentment in the season of life in which they find themselves. Funny, I had been thinking about contentment anyway. I know the passage I quoted about well, but one word in it has never really jumped out at me before.
Paul said "I have LEARNED to be content ..."
Did you catch that? Paul had to LEARN how to do it. I'm guessing that means I can extend myself some grace because contentment CLEARLY does not come natural to me. I'm going to have to LEARN how to do it too. And that is OKAY. If Paul had to learn it, then the Lord can teach it to me as well.
I am, by nature, not a content person. I have one thing and it's great, but what I really want is another thing. Or I can be perfectly content in one area, but the discontent in other areas spills over and suddenly I'm unhappy in the areas where previously I was just fine. And this is not only in the area of material things, actually not even mainly in the area of material things. It's more in the area of being content in my stage of life, with the wife I am, with the mom I am, in the struggles I have with life.
Honestly, I'm not even sure what contentment really looks like. As some of you know, I've had some information given to me this week that caused an immediate panic. I'm feeling some peace with that right now, but definitely not contentment. This will cause some changes in my life that I don't want to make. So, I've been struggling with how to be content in this situation. It's going to be HARD, really really hard to deal with this situation. What does contentment look like here? Is it not accepting that this will be hard? Or not being nervous about whether I can do it? Or not being mad and thinking "this is NOT what I signed up for!" I don't know. I know it has something to do with trusting that His grace really is sufficient for me, and trusting that He called me to this point, and that He will provide for me while I'm there.
Okay, I'm getting rambly now. I just wanted to share some of my heart with you guys, and maybe write a post that wasn't just silly fluff. Y'all can pray for me, as a matter of fact, I'd really appreciate it if you did. Not only for this specific situation, but just as I learn to be content in general. Even in the very small areas, it will be a struggle for me because discontentment is so much a part of me, and I don't want it to be anymore!