I admit, finding contentment has not come easily for me. I had certain desires and expectations for my life, and when those did not come to pass; I began to struggle with contentment.
If you are a planner or organizer like me, you already have your entire life mapped out with short and long-term goals. However, my life did not follow the route I had envisioned. In fact, I thought my life was way off course; and began to believe the lies of the enemy. I stumbled as I gazed upon other’s lives, and saw them receiving the very things I so desired.
I had faced severe hardships one after another, and they left me bruised emotionally and crushed spiritually. I believed that I was doing something wrong in my Christian walk. I began to sink into a deep depression that lasted for years. I could no longer see any goodness and I lost the ability to find contentment. Yes, I was praying, reading the Word of God, and asking God to save me. I simply could not find my way out of the awful pit I was in. I loved the Lord but I did not understand why so much suffering was happening to me. I truly believed I would live the rest of my life in this dark hole. The enemy had me focused on everything that was wrong in my life. Once I began agreeing with the enemy that everything in my life was bad, the downward spiral of depression followed.
Lessons God taught me on being content:
In the book of Philippians, the Apostle Paul wanted the Philippians to know that they could be full of joy despite his imprisonment and upcoming trial. When Paul was in prison, he faithfully preached the Gospel. Paul used what was happening in his life for good.
“But I want you to know, brethren that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the Gospel.” Philippians 1:1-2
Being imprisoned would cause many people to become bitter or to give up, but Paul saw it as an opportunity to spread the Gospel. Paul realized his current circumstances were not as important as what he did with them. He turned a bad situation into a good one. We may not be in prison like Paul, but we can have many discouragements and hardships such as family conflict, prodigal children, health issues, infertility, and marital issues. These can trap us into bitterness and lead to self-pity. Paul learned how to be content in any situation he was facing.
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state that I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, and how to be abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer.” Philippians 4:11-12
Paul knew how to be content whether he had plenty or whether he was in need. Do you feel discontented because you have a desire that is unmet in your life? Ask God to teach you contentment in every circumstance. Paul was content because he could see life through God’s point of view. He focused on what he was supposed to do, and not on what he should have. Paul was grateful for everything God had given him.
When we go through hard times with a good attitude and faithful, it can encourage others in their walk with God. When we suffer, if we faithfully represent Christ, our message can affect us and others for good. It is important to know that if you are suffering it does not mean that you have done something wrong. In fact, the opposite is often true.
A life of contentment does not focus or dwell on circumstances or problems. Contentment can happen in any situation you are in. If you are having a difficult time with being content in your current situation, I encourage you today to begin reflecting on what is good in your life. Doing this may not come naturally or easily especially if you have endured painful trials, but keep doing it anyways.
If you have been through testing, trials, and hardships I am truly very sorry. I want you to know as someone who has walked through many difficult times as well, you can, through the power of Jesus Christ, be better and not bitter over your circumstances. Contentment is possible in whatever state you are in.
What areas in your life are you struggling with contentment? Please let us know how we can pray for you. May our Lord Jesus bring you His comfort and peace today.