“If only I could be a size smaller. If only I could find the perfect husband. If only I could earn a promotion. If only I could be less insecure.”
“If only I could truly be content.”
Life is full of “if only’s” that stir from hearts of discontentment; from the comparisons we make, and from the desires we have to be satisfied with life. As a young child, I thought that contentment didn’t apply to me. I thought that contentment would come after achieving career goals, after having a family, after doing everything I could to follow God’s will.
However, I’m learning that contentment is not a future ambition, it’s a present fulfillment. Contentment is not based on what we have or what we’ve accomplished, but rather on how we choose to thank God despite our life circumstances.
The apostle Paul understood what true contentment looks like. In Philippians 4:11-13 (NLT), he says, “11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
Paul’s circumstances didn’t dictate his satisfaction in life. He praised God when he had everything and when he had nothing. He was just as content hungry as he was full. He even wrote this passage while he was in prison! Paul was able to find contentment no matter what life threw at him, because his strength came not from himself, but from Christ.
As Thanksgiving approaches, let’s take some time to be thankful for what God has given us. Let’s also remember to be content right where we are. We may not have the raise we’ve been praying for, maybe healing hasn’t come yet, maybe we feel like our dreams are a million miles from reality- but God’s strength’s is greater than life’s circumstances. When we become truly content, we see beyond what we do or don’t have.
We welcome promotions, good health, and opportunities, but our happiness isn’t dependent upon them. As 1 Timothy 6:6 (NLT) says, “ …True godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.”
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