By Lisa Scarrow
Life and ministry can often bring a sense of discontentment. Things don’t go as we planned. We invest deeply in someone and they choose not to grow. We invest in a friendship and they betray our trust. We pour ourselves into a ministry and see very few results. Perhaps like me, you have felt as though at times you were hitting your head repeatedly against a brick wall. As I reflect back over the last 10 years of the joys and struggles of life, I realize God has been planting seeds of contentment in my heart. I’m not referring to contentment as complacency but rather contentment that is found in the midst of difficulty. What does real contentment look like? Do I need people and places and things to be content? This past year I was blessed to be able to go through a bible study by Melissa Spoelstra that focused on contentment. It seemed to share the same thoughts and ideas that God has been teaching me. Perhaps you will find a few of these lesson helpful to your own journey toward contentment.
- Contentment comes as we learn to listen for God’s instructions and follow them, believing He has our best interest in mind.
- Contentment starts when you redirect your attention from the current challenge to God’s character and love for you.
- Contentment comes when we remind ourselves of the times God has previously shown up in amazing ways and we praise Him for it. One of the many benefits of journaling is that it provides rich evidence of God working on our behalf as the years pass.
- Contentment comes when we recognize that the Lord will fight for us, we have only to be silent. (Ex. 14:14) We gain nothing by whining or complaining.
- Organization, with flexibility, leads to greater contentment. It is our attachment to our plan that often causes much or our internal stress.
- Contentment comes when you count your present blessings, naming them, and celebrating what God is doing.
- Contentment is learned: we must be intentional learners (seek it, study it, talk about it, implement it).
- Contentment comes when we focus on God’s provision, not the hurdles before us.
- Contentment comes when we remember God’s commands and act upon them, diligently listening and doing what we know is right.
Sometimes the greatest lessons of life are difficult to learn and so I’ve written each of these concepts in my Bible, drawing pictures of each concept to help them settle into my mind and soul. I can’t say I have mastered any of these ideas, but I do know I want to be a person who is content in all things, knowing that God my Savior is more than enough! I hope that these thoughts on contentment serve to challenge you as much as they have me. God is not done with any of us and for that I am so thankful.