Gosh, what a dangerous prayer to pray.
And it seems like if you don’t renew your mind in this area of being content with your season then it creeps back up around and you will look up and not even realize that.. you’re discontent.
You may cry out to God and say.. “LORD! But… I thought I passed this test of contentment” and in all honesty, you did pass it at one point. But now you’re experiencing tests, trials & different situations and you may find yourself simply complaining. Guess what, you passing those previous tests was wonderful, but now you’re maturing and growing in Christ. There’s a new level of contentment that you have to pass!
This blog was birthed from my OWN recent struggle. I’m 31 weeks pregnant (about 8 months) and I’m in the middle of finishing off the final edit of my new book coming out in less than a month, I’m planning our 2015 Pinky Promise Conference is next month & negotiating a contract for 2016, then, our statewide baby shower in September, marriage & single retreats, still running our Pinky Promise non-profit, I’m still trying to be a great wife, mother, friend, prepare for a new child and then the list goes on and on! On top of all of that, I started to get a few third trimester pains that really started to slow me down. I started to complain, I thought, “Gosh, Lord- must you pile all of this on me during the busiest time of my life?”
So, as I sat before the Lord in my quiet time yesterday, I started to complain and fuss as I prayed. Sounds crazy, right? Then, the Holy Spirit took me to Philippians 4:4 and I saw Paul write.. “always be full of the joy of the Lord.” Of course, Lord– you would take me to that scripture. But I couldn’t stop reading that same line over and over again. It struck me like a ton of bricks.
First, let’s break down the word always:
1. at all times; on all occasions.
Wait, so at all times, on all occasions, be full of the joy of the Lord?
Does that also include being 8 months pregnant and trying to do a bunch of things? Does that also include when tests and trials hit your life? Does that also include when you feel rejected, hurt, mad, frustrated, lonely, lost? Does that include when you lose your job? Does that include when your boyfriend leaves you and you had plans for marriage? Does that include when a loved one passes away? Does that include when you hate your job? Does that include when you feel ugly? Does that include when you get hurt by a friend or a family member?
Yes. At all times, on all occasions, be full of the joy of the Lord.
Talk about CONVICTION!
And to add to that fun conviction, Paul is in PRISON telling the church to be CONTENT and to find JOY in the midst of their situation. He’s in prison. In a tiny little cell that I’m sure is dirty, with tons of insects, it smells, other prisoners are yelling, screaming and let’s not even talk about the food. He may or may not have had a small window to look outside. He sat in the prison cell, day in and day out. Not even know when he was leaving. And, he’s telling your comfortable self to be content. I cannot imagine what prison is like back in those times. Paul, like the other Apostles, were hated by most of the Jews because they openly and publicly taught that Jesus was the Son of God. The Jews thought this was blasphemy against God and were more than willing to throw someone in jail over the issue. Paul was in jail for about 5 1/2-6 years in total during the time he was on this earth– all over sharing Christ! Paul was shipwrecked, snakebitten, stoned and eventually beheaded all for the gospel of Jesus! And THIS man is telling US to be content and AT all times, on ALL occasions, be FULL of the joy of the Lord!
This slapped me in the face and seriously challenged my heart. Paul detached from earthly things because the only thing that mattered what “CHRIST BEING WITH HIM.” His mindset wasn’t on getting a job promotion, on that next TV show that is debuting, or that concert. It wasn’t on “when he was gonna find a wife (even though he had the gift of singleness, his focus was what mattered), it wasn’t on some fleshly desire. It was on Christ. He knew that he could REALLY do “All things who Christ who strengthens Him” in Philippians 4:13 because Paul was focused not on what he “thought” he should have but on the task that Jesus gave him. Most people totally use that scripture out of context! They scream verse 13 while totally ignoring the scriptures before hand while they operate in their own strength, hoping God will fund their (not His) ideas.
Are you focused on the task that Jesus gave you or are you distracted by what you think you should have?
- Lord, when is it my time for a husband? I’m tired of being single.
- Lord, when is it my time for a job promotion? I hate this stupid job that I prayed for and I want more money for doing what I do. They don’t appreciate my hard word and I have EARNED it Lord!
- Lord, when is it my time to be debt free? I’ve been claiming debt freedom for 15 years and I’m still in debt and broke! (Honey, the same way you get outta debt is the way you got in it. Stop spending)
- Lord, when is it my time to shine?! I want a stage! I want to see my purpose come to pass! My question to you is for what? For you or for Him?
Isaiah 58:11 “..And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”
Ok, so if this scripture says that the Lord will guide and continually satisfy you, it tells me that most of are aren’t giving Him a chance to satisfy our desires. We are too busy using our discontentment as an excuse to continue in our sin. And lets be honest and call it like it is, you just don’t trust God to satisfy you. Trusting Him takes way too long and if Jesus ain’t moving fast enough, then you need to help Him out. I have learned that as the Lord guides us continually and leads us that our desires truly become HIS desires. I always say this and I will say it again, it’s not that there’s a shortage of good men, jobs, whatever else, there’s just a storage of patient women that are willing to be developed by the Lord to actually go through the process of trusting Him.
This also goes for your marriage. Some of you are in your marriage and you are not content. You’re sitting there dumbfounded because you thought that marriage would cure those feelings that you have but nothing your spouse does is good enough for you. You’re just not content with him. Honestly, if you aren’t content with him, you’re not content with you. You are one flesh and you have brought the spirit of discontentment into your marriage. Instead of bashing him for what he’s not doing, why don’t you start appreciating him and thanking him for what he IS doing. Maybe he doesn’t always take out the trash or clean up after himself. But, he goes to work, loves you, is faithful and he at least tries. Maybe, if he sees you taking out the trash, he will feel convicted and help you. For some reason, we have a hard time with 1 Peter 3:4 and that says that “we should win our husbands over with our quiet and gentle spirits.” Let me translate in Heather terms: Shut up and stop nagging him for 10 minutes so the Holy Spirit can speak to him. Your husbands job is not to make you happy. Marriage is ministry and marriage is about serving one another and it’s his job to love you like Christ loved the church. Jesus could care less about your happiness because your happiness is relative. It could make you happy to cheat on your spouse. It could make you happy to overeat. Jesus is much more concerned about your eternal salvation than you being led by your happy flesh feelings on this earth. So, it was on my heart in the midst of this blog to just say, “give your husband a break from all of that complaining.” Build him up and pray for him like crazy. Speak up as the Holy Spirit leads you and be gracious in your tone.
So, how can one be content?
1. It’s time to refocus, spend time with the Lord and really renew our minds concerning the things that are important to us. Search the scriptures on contentment and see what the bible says about it and ask yourself questions like, “have I ever been content? What does contentment mean to me?”
2. Identify open doors. If your void filler is shopping, maybe you need to delete the app that pops up every time there’s a sale. If your void filler is that ex, you need to erase and block his number so you aren’t tempted to reach out. If it’s overworking, you need to set boundaries and go home at a certain time to make sure that Christ is truly in the center of your life.
3. Admit it. It’s time to be totally honest with ourselves and say, “I’m not content with my life and I compare myself to others, Lord help me.” Don’t push it under the rug & say, “no, that’s not me, I’m good. I’m content.” But deep down, you desire this things in the pit of your stomach and you constantly question God about those things. Contentment says, in all season, at all time, on all occasions, I will trust in you Lord.
4. Recognize your problem areas. This goes back to #2. If you know that after a huge test, you want to “go to a bar, drink and get drunk”, then you have to avoid those tempting situations. Don’t just go and tell yourself that you’re getting a “Cranberry drink.” If your issue is sex, it’s not the best idea to go up to his house or apartment if you know what happens when you do so.
5. Communicate daily to the Holy Spirit. Talk to Him throughout the day. Tell Him that you’re not happy, vent, take moments where you just ask Him how He’s doing. He’s real! He’s active and He’s more real than the person sitting next to you.
Bonus: PRACTICE this contentment and remind yourself that God provides for you and that you have what you need. It’s not going to happen overnight, especially if you have 15 years of discontentment.
You’re NOT alone in this walk and satan is after your mindset concerning contentment! He wants you to think that God has forgotten about you and isn’t for you. Instead, recognize that on this earth, we WILL experience tests and trials and these tests will develop things OUT of us that aren’t like Him.
Hang in there.
God loves you like crazy,