Contentment

Phillippians 4:11-13 “…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 all this through him who gives me strength.”

I had a friend in college once that told me I would be happy for the rest of my life because I got terribly excited upon discovering double-ply toilet paper backstage at a choir performance. It was very soft on the nether ends, and it was rather a treat. As a small child, I could entertain myself for hours with just my hands – pretending that each was a person running over mountains (my knees), sliding down dangerous slopes (my legs), and generally having adventures. My mom marveled at my ability to entertain myself for so long; I was content. My dear sister likes to remind me that confidence isn’t a waist size but an attitude. I think the same is true for contentment.

I have been content when I had only a chair, a crib, and a mattress on the floor, and now that I have a house full of furniture. I’ve found contentment in the Lord when I had no place to live and now that I own my own home. Contentment is being thankful you have some buttered toast to give your kids for lunch instead of having nothing at all. I’m content even when I have so much food it has spoiled, and I need to throw it out – even if the waste annoys me. Job or no job, fat or thin, contentment is less about what you do or don’t have than about what you know God is capable of doing in your life.

It’s been an interesting experience for me recuperating this past year. When people ask me how I am or see me with my cane, quite frequently they want to hear all of the tough stuff, the struggles. It’s almost as if they can’t wait to listen to tales of agony, anguish, and depression. I can’t give them that. Every time I go to new doctors’ appointments, they want to know if I’m showing signs of depression. I know it’s their job, and they are trying to be proactive, but it seems to baffle them when I’m not. I’m not angry; I don’t blame God, I’m not depressed. Yes, I do get frustrated at times but those times usually don’t last long, and they don’t adversely affect my contentment levels. If I’m a hundred percent honest, I’m a little surprised myself.

Early on, when I was in the throes of this whole thing, and I was unable to move except by crawling on all fours, the world spinning around me, I momentarily forgot that God was in control. In those early days, there were times when I was so dizzy; I was sure I would vomit around the clock; there were times when I was utterly miserable and lay in bed begging for sleep. I can not say I was content during all of those moments, but something happened along the way that reminded me that God was still in control and that I didn’t have to worry about what I was or was not able to do. God would provide a way for me to do what He wanted. In fact, I have come to feel not just content but blessed.

Merely lying securely in their father’s arms makes babies content. Knowing that God will take care of me and that He is walking with me through each stage of my therapy is comforting and strengthening. Resting in the assurance that even when the road is tough, He will give me the strength to persevere, is all I need to be content.

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