Saturday, November 15, 2008

Contentment

Marva at Blessed Frugalness posed the question, "What is contentment to you." Go over and add your answer in her comment section. Here is my answer:

After 20 years of marriage and 5 kids I can tell you that Paul's words are becomming more and more real to me. He said he had learned to be content whether rich or poor and in whatever circumstance he was in. I feel that I have grown so much in that area and God has allowed things to come to strengthen my faith in Him. When we were using over 50% of our income and paying 2 house payments for 15 months when we moved I was truly stretched. Having $300 a month for food to feed 7+(two teens plus extra friends)- IF I STAYED VERY FRUGAL IN ALL OTHER AREAS and not having a back up really showed me just how much(or not) I was trusting God to provide. Contentment is not having everything in order. It is not having well behaved kids. It is not having money for everything. I don't think all of those things will ever fall in place at one time. If so, is God working in your life? We are constantly being trained and grown through our experiences to be more like Jesus. Every time something happens pray about it but also keep in rememberance that God uses each thing for a purpose of either training us or for others to see us and be drawn to Him- things may be for the benefit of others.

So, contentment for me is to be able to accept the struggles, to experience the pain while still believing, not allowing my thoughts to feel defeat. Contentment is enjoying the good with the bad. Not expecting perfection. Am I always "happy" to struggle? NO! But it is allowing yourself to walk in areas where you do not see God working or feel God's love and holding on to your faith of what His word says. Many times I don't feel truth at the moment but can just make the decision to believe anyway. You have to know God's word and hide it in your heart. When you are lied to and your thoughts go astray, you cannot rely on what you feel. You go back and remember what God's word says or dig into it for more. God never changes, you can count Him acting upon His promises. Contentment is knowing He is your saviour, your protector,and your provider.

She mentioned about contentment being knowing that your are raising your kids in the abmonition of the Lord. It reminds me that there is a contentment that comes when you realize that you can only guide and help to train your kids but ultimately God is the one that draws them and pricks their heart when they have done wrong or need to step up. I have struggled with feeling so much weight over my children. I am learning that I can only do my part and have to be able to let go enough for God to work in them. Not to blame myself for their decisions. To be content when they are not doing what I want them to do. To trust their lives to God. How many hours have we all spent worrying over mistakes we make when we see them struggle to live right and make wise decisions?

The tighter we hold to schedules and rules and expectations the less content we seem to be. It is when we learn to let go of the ropes that we can breathe again. If feels as if we are jumping off a cliff to let the ropes go, but when we begin to fall we feel the arms of God reach out and catch us. He gently whispers, "I have you. I am going to take care of this. Don't worry anymore."

5 comments:

Marva said...

Ouch! You hit the nail on the head and my feet! LOL!

I needed that......to see that not just hear it. You are a wise, wise woman.

So, thank you dear friend!

Blessings!!!

Michelle said...

So true and well said.

Take Care
Michells

Julie @ blessedwithfive said...

Really great post today! Thanks for sharing it! My list was not nearly as wise as yours.

Anonymous said...

I did appreciate your remarks about contentment, but it is easier to be contented with frugality when you have enough for basic needs. What do people like we do, Christians for many years, when the husband has been out of work for 2 of the last 3 years? We are now penniless, $56,000 in debt and facing foreclosure. Right before all this happened, I went through surgery and treatment for breast cancer. I have to admit that I have been knocked back on my heels about this. We have faithfully tithed and given all our lives, probably close to $250,000. And like you, we have always been frugal and lived within our means. What this has demonstrated to me is that we live completely by grace. We can do all that we can, but the will of God will be done. If this can happen to us, it can happen to anyone

Southerner said...

Anonymous- Wow, what a tough road you have been walking! I am so sorry for all you have been going through. My point is that contentment is not a "feeling" because we have to learn to be content when everything is not perfect. In everything I go to the Bible for definition and the best is Paul's example to be content in all circumstances. He experienced being beaten, shipwrecked, inprisioned, and whatever his thorn in his side was. I was stating that I am learning to follow that example and learn that when we are broke and when we are facing trials that I can still turn it over and just choose to trust God and be content in the fact that He is in control not me. Anonymous, I did not mean to touch any sore spot and hurt anyone's feelings. I truly care for your hurts. Being content in the situations does not take away all the hurt and pain- the Bible says we will have sorrows and pains. I assume yours feels as if it goes on forever rather than for a night! I was there when we waited 15 months for our home to sell. After paying two house payments, our electricity, water, and phone we had $600 for gas, auto insurance, life insurance, and other required bills which left $300 for food. I have seven kids and two were teens and constantly had friends over to eat. It was a true struggle. If electriciy was more that month it came out of food even further. Yes, it is easier to be content when all basics are met- but my point is that God promises those basics if we trust in him and how I was stretched and am learning to be content as I wait on Him when it looks as if He will not show up. I have not gotten to the point of not really having the basics- if you looked on paper I could see it coming and would tell my husband that we did not have enough to last- we had to call and borrow money from his mom once at the end. The other times we ate as cheaply as we could and somehow made it. I had to put off paying our tithe twice so that we could make the month- I did go back and pay it later. I have never faced a major illness or foreclosure so I am not making light of your situation- I was only trying to explain what I have experienced and learned so far. I am praying that you will find relief and God will provide and give you that peace as you wait. I hope that I would be able to feel the same if I was experiencing illness or financial turmoil, but cannot testify to that. Please do not feel offended with my remarks- I truly do not wish to make you feel judged. I am sure that you are worn and at the end of what you feel you can take. God bless you!