My wife and I have been through something of a spiritual dry spell - engaging in “holy habits” together like reading Scripture and praying have been a real challenge. I’ve been wanting for some time to make changes, but I know from experience if I try to do too much all at once I’m probably not going to be successful. That led me on a search for a simple 365-day devotional for couples - something that was easy to read, but at the same time solidly Biblical and spiritually rich in content. I’m happy to report the Lord led me to what seems to be the perfect little book - “A Little God Time for Couples - 365 Daily Devotions.”
Last night’s entry titled “Choosing Contentment” really hit home; it seems God keeps bringing up Paul’s words in Philippians 4:11: “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” The author starts out with a great question: “Wouldn’t it be nice if contentment were automatic?” My answer - YES! I can think of many ways life would be so much easier if my heart’s default orientation were contentment instead of restlessness, envy, or selfishness. However, we know the process of sanctification is a journey, filled with daily opportunities to learn, grown, and produce the fruits of the spirit. If Paul had to learn contentment, I’m pretty sure we need to as well!
I loved the way the author summarized the issue at hand:
Contentment is a by-product of accepting what you cannot change. It does not mean you agree with the way things are or that you like the way things are. Rather, it is a statement of faith. You acknowledge your circumstances while trusting God to change what you cannot change, and you accept what he sees fit to change. Then, you can rest, and inner conflicts cease.
When I was fixated on the lie that my life could only be good if my chronic pain were eliminated, I lived in a state of constant unrest, anxiety, fear, and bitterness. All I could see was the bad things I didn’t want and the good things other people had but I lacked. There was no room for any good at all until I faced losing everything and God opened my eyes to just how much good there really was in life - and how good He was!
That shift has changed everything; it doesn’t change the fact that some days are still really hard. It doesn’t change the fact that pain hurts and I don’t like it and wish it would go away. Contentment is the gift that allows me to be present here and now - to be thankful for the blessings and trust God with the rest. That’s a choice worth a hearty AMEN! Trust me - it’s one worth making!!!