6But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
Probably one of the most profound lessons that I will have learned here on earth is being content. Discontentment has ruled much of my life. I was discontent while in college. I was discontent while I was first married. I was discontent with how many children we were given. I was discontent with the house He gave us, the wage He gave Eric, the clothes in my closet...you name it, I was not happy.
Basically, I wanted everything my way or no way. I was like the child who stomps her foot and says that she doesn't want any ice cream if she can't have the flavor she wants. That discontentment would rear its ugly head as jealousy and bitterness. I would covet those that had things that were better than I. I would covet those who were given the spotlight more than I. I grew bitter everytime a friend got pregnant and I didn't.
I write this and just can't believe how far the Lord has taken me. There has been some serious growing up being done around here. The proof is that in a year that I could have had some major issues with discontentment I have found my heart satisfied with where God has me. I have surrendered to His will for my life and it feels so good to obey.
There are moments though. Some I have already admitted...like not being keen on my status as a single, let alone a single mom. I had one of those moments this afternoon. As I was waking up from a nice Sunday nap I found myself incredibly lonely. I was wishing for the closeness of a man's arm around me. Just to hear someone next to me breathing deeply would be so nice. My heart cry turned into a literal cry to God to help me be satisfied with the position that He has me in right now. He answered...He always does when His children ask for help with something that He desires of them.
My journey to contentment started when we began the adoption process. There has been no other time in my life where I had to sacrifice so much. We sacrificed our time, money, energy, resources, and hearts to bring home Brown Sugar and Lil' Cowboy. During the year it took us to bring them home we became very content with what God has given us. There are few things more humbling then to see how people live in a third world country. It changes your perspective. What is truly necessary for our well-being here on earth? The passage above says food and clothing. A roof over your head or a comfortable bed to sleep in at night is not even mentioned.
Of course, there is nothing like death to remind us of where we came from and where we are going. We came into this world with not even a stitch of clothing and we will leave it as dust in the ground. Kind of humbling don't you think?
All of these worldly goods are of no value if they are not used for His glory. He gave it to us anyway and He can easily take it away. Practically speaking you have to set your mind on the fact that He is in control of all things. If He is in control of everything and He asks us to be content then the obvious is to obey. But, words and actions sometimes do not come together as easily as writing those words on paper (or typing on a computer!).
Recently I asked myself the question "If I were to lose the house, my children, or my income would I be as content?". I had a moment of panic because I realized how easy it is for me to feel secure because these things are taken care of right now. But, what if? I just have to "trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding". In the same way that you have to trust when you worry about what you would do if you were in my situation.
I guess if you were to ask me how I can be content through all this I would say that it is the giving up, the surrendering your will to His. Speaking your requests out loud when you know you are struggling with being satisified with your lot in life. And, ultimately it is the power of the Holy Spirit that enables you to continue to submit and obey whatever He asks.