Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Art of Contentment

I Timothy 6:6-8
But godliness with contentment is great gain.
For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
But 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 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 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.



Erin said...

Thank you so much for this post! So encouraging to me. Lately my faith has really been tried in the area of contentment and it's always encouraging seeing others also going through it, seeking GOD's guidance!

Praise our Almighty Lord Jesus for His undying faithfulness and strength! There's a song that goes, "When you come to the place where He's all you have, you'll find He's all you need..." How amazing is it, that Jesus is always here with us, even when we're totally faithless and look to the world for pleasures that don't even last!

Thanks again so much for the encouragement! I pray you're lonely moments are few.

Mrs. Hurzeler said...

How amazing is our Lord when he puts things right in our way when we need them the most. Thank you for posting this. I have been struggling with this, really my whole life. My husband and I have been married for 5 years, and still we haven't been able to have children. Something that just rips out my heart at times and yet there is a reason for this season. God has a reason why. I really need to quit trying to control everything and just watch God take care of us. Your post was so honest and I really appreciate that. God Bless You as you walk through this journey with your Heavenly Father at your side. He will always be holding onto you.
Sincerely,Mrs. Hurzeler

Anonymous said...

As echoed above...THANK YOU for this post! I have been discontent as well pretty much umm forever...and now we are in a position of most likely losing our home to foreclosure and it truly puts things in perspective, makes me realize that what I do have is more then I deserve and I ought to be content with it all...

God bless you Heather and thank you always for your transparency!

flowerpot said...

Hard stuff. Good stuff. I am continually amazed at the deep capacity of my selfishness. Thanks for good words to chew on.

the Adams said...

The longer we are on the mission field, the more I become convinced that God's deep desire is for us to be completely dependent on Him, and in whatever state He puts us, to be content. I really appreciate what you wrote here.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you have already discussed this in an older post, but I was wondering....How did you and Eric decide to adopt your children from Liberia, and had you considered any other countries?

thepinktractor said...

I discovered your blog today while bloggin' around from a blog of someone I DO know, clicked on one of her favorite blogs, then on one of their favorites and so on until I came to read yours.

I so relate to what you said about discontentment -- for way, way too many years discontentment was "the theme of my life". I too have been growing up -- maturing in Christ -- God is so good!! He hangs in there with me and gently directs my path. WOW! How Great is our God!!!

Anyway, thank you for the encouragement for my day. Your family is precious. I'm praying for you today.
Gwyn Rosser
the pink tractor

Mrs.VanLoo said...

Thank you Heather for sharing your heart. Your testimony of God's all sufficient grace and His strength in our weakness is so encouraging! God bless you.