–>Lessons in Contentment<–
So, you prayed and prayed and prayed. Finally, God opened up a door, seemingly miraculously and it seems like He would have you to walk through it. From a distance everything looked great. It seemed to be almost exactly what you needed, however as you started to move closer and closer to it you began to see tons of imperfections that you didn’t notice before. Or worse, you’re like me, and notice every imperfection that could begin to exist in the door before you walk through it and are complaining the whole way and time you walk through it. Thoughts come to your mind that cause you to wonder: ‘Is this really the best that God can do?’ But perhaps you don’t dare utter them out loud, since you know it’s not too good to complain about where God has sent you. As you bite your tongue and decide to settle with the portion God gave you, you still can’t help but think: ‘Lord, I settled with this option.’
Thoughts of I settled with this spouse, I settled with these friends, I settled with this school I go to, I settled with this job, and I feel like a settled with just about everything I can think of! This was the best door God had opened, yet there’s nothing good you can see about it by now. The honey moon phase of your relationship has ended and now you can see all the messed up and annoying imperfections of your spouse. You wanted friends, but when you got them, you found out it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Your job and school just don’t seem to be measuring up to your standards anymore, because maybe you saw someone else’s’ experiences and realized that where you’re at just isn’t as great as it should be. That’s the problem with this complaining and murmuring type of discontentment. You are:
- Keeping your eyes on others
- Having your expectations dashed
- Sent somewhere, on a detour, you didn’t want to go
Looking at others: When people look at others lives and see what they are accomplishing and doing, feelings of discontentment are sparked within them. Social media makes it easy to look at a flicker of other people’s lives and sometimes that small flicker can make others jealous or envious of what others have. Even if the person isn’t falling into jealousy or envy, they may have thoughts wondering why their life isn’t like the other people and what did they do wrong to end up in the spot they currently are in. My advice is to not spend too much time on or around whatever is causing you to feel discontent(unless you have to be around it), pray to God about these feelings, and read scriptures on bitterness, jealousy, and envy.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Dashed hopes: Sometimes your expectations were way too high when you entered in the place that you went to. Sometimes they weren’t really that high, but they still got dashed anyway. You expected to be at a different spot in your life right now, but it just didn’t work out that way. You wish you could redo parts of your life, thinking things would end up differently. Either way, you’re stuck at the current position you’re at and you need to learn how to deal with where God has placed you. I say in this case you should turn your hope to God and His plans, instead of allowing your hope to be in humans, a job, or whatever you’ve been placing it in. This is how Christians should operate anyway. A job, a marriage, a friendship, or anything you ask God for will never solve any problem that you were already going through before these things came along. Since God made us, He is the best one to rely on to know how to solve a problem. As Christians it’s also important that we remain flexible in our plans, knowing that God will sometimes shatter our plans to implement His or cause us to take a detour.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Detours: Sometimes God sends us on what I call detours in our life. They are usually places that are the best option or place for you to be in, but you might not have understanding of why they are the best option. When you or others look on your situation, it’s as clear as day you being or staying there does not make much sense at all. However, deep down, you know God wants you to stay and probably is making it very hard or impossible to escape.
To be honest, for me, detours are probably the only thing that would make me want to run in the opposite direction because they are the best place for God to implement discipline and training. Even the author of Hebrews agrees those things are not always pleasant (Hebrews 12), however they are necessary in our walk with God. It’s good for us to go and endure situations like these so God can equip us to do what He has called us to do and mold us into what He needs us to be. Two people in the Bible who had major detours in their life and were successful at enduring through them are Joseph and King David.
Joseph is by far my favorite to talk about. He was told he had a great future in a dream from God. Then he got thrown into a pit by his own brothers, sold into slavery by them, got a decent job but the boss’ wife accused him of attempted rape, and got sent to jail as a result of that accusation, where he helped some people, but his helpful deed was forgotten for a while, which caused him to stay in jail longer than he should have. Sooo, if you thought you had some crazy detours in your life; Joseph probably would be your best buddy. You should read about him in Genesis 37-45.
Paul speaks about learning the secret to contentment and I have to say that it is pretty obvious when you read around in Philippians and that’s to forget the past, look forward, and press onward.
NOTE: Hey all! The Lord has been leading me to work more on other things aside from just the blog posts here ( more emphasis on game development and other goodies). So, blog posts here will be changed from once a week, to once a month. I have a lot of post ideas, but I realize I’ve not been paying much attention to other writings I need to work on. I’ve made it where you can subscribe and get updates on this blog by email, if you don’t have a WordPress account(in the sidebar on the right). Be blessed everyone! 😀