Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Contentment reflections

A prescription for contentment:

~Never allow yourself to complain about anything--not even the weather.

~Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or someplace else.

~Never compare your lot with another's.

~Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.

~Never dwell on tommorow--remember that [tommorow] is God's, not ours.

Can this be done? Is this "prescripton" a true path to finding contentment?

Of course we all know contentment is fleeting. It is never mastered, but a continual lifelong battle of our mind with God's word on how to be content:

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do anything through Him who gives me strength.
~Philippians 4:11-13

Which makes me think: is discontent a type of gift? Could it be so?Because contentment is ever fleeting, what does discontent do? Yep. Drive us to God. (Hopefully!) I've heard many times that "contentment risks complacency". Should I be praising God for my discontent in my circumstances? To an extent, yes. No, I should not wallow in my discontent, but recognize it and continually choose contentment, chose satisfaction in the things that I can not change, all the while, praying for those things I do want to change, yet being fully yielded to His power in my cirmcumstances, whatever they may be. And this causes growth in Christ.

Now I know that my decisions about what is right for my life or my children's life or my husband's life are not neccesarily what is right in God's eyes. I love the image of the tapestry: when you look at the back of a tapestry, it looks jumbled, and not very pretty. But all the workings together weave a beautiful picture on the front.

Or the teacup analogy:

Every cup--whether dainty china or rough-hewn pottery--has a handle. God has placed our portion in our cup. We either choose to grasp it by the handle and lift it to Him, saying, "I accept my portion; I accept this cup," or we choose to smash our cup to pieces, saying, "God, I refuse my portion. This cup is not the right size for me and I don't like what You've put in it. I'll control my life myself." ~Linda Dillow

Ouch. I'm guilty of refusing my portion.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can;and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.Amen.
--Reinhold Niebuhr


Betsy said...

Wow, Andrea. Just great wisdom for me to read this morning. Loved this post!

L.L. Barkat said...

Thanks... I need to swim in my teacup with Philippians 4:13 this morning.

Andrea said...

Thanks, ladies.
I've been struggling with discontent lately myself, so this is for me as well! :)

Kat said...

Oh that's so neat. I hadn't thought of discontenment in terms of being a gift, but yes! And these are all just longings for heaven! I do see my weaknesses as a gift (on a good day, that is :-)

Andrea you are such a sweetheart. Thank you for your offer to help with the Tuesday thang...I think I'm just gonna drop it unless someone wants to take it over...I love reading and gleaning the wisdom, but I guess I don't really have the time to keep it going...I thought that might happen...eek!

You'll have to tell me where you are in NY. I have a friend who just moved to Brooklyn...working on a church plant. I wonder if good churches are scarce there...

Kat said...

Your post brought one of my favorite quotes to mind:

"If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong but too weak. We are halfhearted creatures fooling about with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mudpies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."

— C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

Andrea said...

I love C.S. Lewis.
That quote was awesome, thanks for sharing.

Well, churches are not SCARCE here, but GOOD ones are. (contentment, Andrea, contentment)

I'd love to hear about your friend's church plant.

Katherine@Raising Five said...

Loved this post. Linda Dillow is one of my favorite authors for down-to-earth women-talk. Contentment for me has been accepting my limitations and asking God to get some glory in spite of them.

Thanks for your sweet comment on my blog and your link here. I need to figure out delicious - seems like it could come in handy but I haven't had the gumption to sit and work on it!

Mississippi Girl said...

Wow, what a great post... think I needed to hear that today!! I've enjoyed reading your other posts as well. Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting!
Jennifer R.