Friday, January 04, 2008

Making contentness work

The other day, Taylor, my oldest, comes up to me and says, "Mom, I need to talk to you about something." Not wanting to rush through those kind of statements, I slowed down and said, "Ok, what is it?". She goes on to tell me how she feels left out with her friends because she has no extra activities going on in her life like gymnastics, dance or a sport this year. My heart sank when she said this because as a mom the last thing you want your child to feel is "left-out" because of finances. But quickly I sat Taylor down and once again explained to her that her "extra" activity allowance goes to pay for a Christian school. That this is where God has us right now and when He provides extra, she will be able to do more.

But this short conversation really got me thinking.......What makes you content? Having a clean home? Having a big home? Having a new car? Having children? Vacations? Nice clothes? A Happy husband? I want us to be real here.......let's take off the masks and get real! Seriously.......what makes you content?

I will be totally honest for a moment......I really believe that being content is a huge struggle for so many of us....myself included. I think about the couple that owned and built our house for 54 years! How content they were in life to stay put in this home and never leave! Even as the world around them changed, bigger houses were built, areas changed and neighbors moved away.....they stayed put! It's very hard to imagine myself in ANY house longer than two years since let alone 54!!! But I think this contentment thing goes much further than any "material" thing on this earth.

But what if God asked us to "stay put" for 54 years? What if He said that after that amount of time we would have what our hearts longed for......perhaps it's that husband or wife or child or dream come to reality. Are we willing to wait and stay put for "54 years", a have something come into play?

Now this is a serious heart issue, wouldn't you agree? Not being content with what God gives us, isn't a good place to be! But, I guess my question for the Lord this morning do I change this, FOR GOOD? If I can't change my circumstances, then Lord, what do I do? And although you may not struggle in the same way I do with being content, I'm sure there are ways you do as well, we all have things or situations that we are not content with. And if you are completely content with your life, the PRAISE THE LORD, but I guess this entry will do you no good! =) So SPIRIT LEAD the way as I dig through some scriptures about this!!!

First of all, let's define this "content" anyways,

From this is what "content" is:

1. satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.

That definition alone....whew, it speaks volumes! To not want more or anything else.....that means that right here, right now, my heart would not long for anyone or heart would be completely full that nothing else would be needed to fill it up! But, I guess my next question is.......what is the difference in being content and "longing".

Well, I guess I just found my verse for this one! There really is no difference in "longing" and "wanting" Ecc 6:9:
"It is better to be content with what the eyes can see than for one’s heart always to crave more. This continual longing is futile – like chasing the wind."

I think how this verse says it couldn't be more correct......we are always going to "long" for something. There are many things in my life I long for.....heaven, children to trust in the Lord, going on a mission trip again, speaking, teaching and so much more! I don't think these are "bad" things to long for either.......but, I guess there has to be a balance in what we long for and just being perfectly content with where we are. If the Lord never opens the door for me to speak would I be content? If the Lord never allowed me to go on a mission trip again would I be content? If the Lord said, "Not one more day"...would I be content? Would I feel "left out" from my other brother's and sister's in Christ who are actively serving?

These are tough questions to answer....tough situations to look closely at my heart with. And this isn't the type of teaching that so many churches are saying now.....we continually hear these "Just believe and receive" sermons....but what if God says, "No."? What if we have to change all of "our" plans that we just "KNOW" God told us, suck up our pride to admit we were wrong and truly say, "Lord, whatever you will......" God has said "No" to me many times......MANY. And they weren't even selfish desires I was praying, they were good causes....but am I willing to even say that in the midst of a fervent prayer that if YOU God say, "No." Then I will be content?

This isn't a "feel good" topic is it? But, I think it's a reality that we as Christian women need to face.

"Therefore I am content with weaknesses, with insults, with troubles, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Cor 12:10

Here again I see that even in our struggles, the Lord wants us to be perfectly happy in Him. WOW, that's hard Lord. That's hard to have a bad day, a rude person says something mean behind our back, an unexpected bill, cranky children or an illness and say, "Ok Father, I know that because you are allowing me to be weak, I am strong." But that's exactly what this verse is saying!

When we are not content, we are weak.....but to know that THROUGH our weakness, our heart's pains and "longings" we will be made strong in Christ! What a concept to grasp! Knowing that whatever God's reality for our lives is going to be, we are truly going to be happier, peaceful and all things will come into play JUST the way He plans it, life is going to be much better! I don't know about you, but as many times as I've felt "left out" in life.....nothing will compare to the greatness of never being left out of God's plans!

Well, time has really ran over today! Lord, you are speaking and I needed to grasp all this today!!! Thank you!! Although this is rushed writing and it may not all make sense, make it make sense Lord! Impound this in my heart.....make it real, make it alive! I love you Father and I can honestly say that I will be content with my day........even though it involves a lot of cleaning. =)


Sharon said...

There have been times I have been content. It is a peaceful place.
And I think for me the secret of learning to be content-is learning to trust.
If I trust that He has a plan and He is in control--then I can be content.
Of course when my relationship is not where it should be--NO CONTENTMENT.
Striving, stressing, ruled by aggravation becomes the norm.

Learning to be content I would guess grows with our relationship.
There are worldly things that no longer lure me the way they used to.
My relationship has put some things in perspective.

Kellan said...

I feel fortunate in that I have often felt that I am content - truly content. I don't know why exactly, but I know that my parents brought us kids up to be thankful for what we have - that has always stuck with me and how I believe I have lived my life. They also taught us (as did the church) that "God giveth and he taketh away" - and I have also lived by this lesson. God has given me much in my life and he has even sometimes taken away - I have tried to live my life accepting that and it seems to work for me. I am trying hard to teach my children these lessons - always be content with what you have and thank God daily for your blessings.

Thank you for this very moving post - have a good day. Kellan

Leigh Gray said...

oh girl - just when i think i am content there is a pot stirred and I realize another thing to wrok on!!! in that area of course!!

thanks for the htoughts on my blog as well!!

Ministry - you too have it!!!

Love, Leigh

Kim said...

I equate Taylor's conversation with you to our conversation with Sam about a new car all the time. He wants a cooler car but I am sooooo content with older cars that don't cost too much to drive. Someday, they will both understand all to well. :)

Sasha @ Cherished Moments said...

Nikki - this is a great post, and has set me to thinking about what makes me content, in so many ways. Thanks also for stopping by my blog a while back (I am just catching up on return visits from December!).

Kim said...

Let's just wait...right now one of us has something Tues, Wed. and Thurs. nights. As soon as Kris wraps his class up though, Monday nights are for you. :) I am looking forward to it!

I saw Taylor in SS this morning - she looked sooo cute. :)

Sharon said...

I have a little something for you over on my site.