Finding Contentment During Lent
- Jennifer Heeren Crosswalk Contributing Writer
- 2014 12 Mar
When I give something up for Lent, I want it to come from a heart that truly wants to glorify God. I want it to be something that magnifies my view of the resurrection season at the end of the forty days. This year, I want the Lenten season to be a time of meditating on who God designed me to be and then taking steps to live like that person more often. I want to give up some of my behaviors that serve to emphasize the boundaries of my comfort zone instead of expanding them. I tend to hide my true self by simply going along with the flow of what other people are doing and saying. I do not want to rock any boats by bringing up opposing viewpoints. On the surface, it may seem like I am keeping the peace but really, most of the time, I am just too afraid to stand out. Fitting in is more comfortable. The result of this behavior is lukewarm living and God does not like lukewarm attitudes and behaviors (Revelation 3:16).
One reason that it is more comfortable to fit in is my habit of comparing myself with other people. When I compare myself with others, I find myself lacking, and then I am fearful of sharing anything because I do not feel worthy. Therefore, meditating on who God designed me to be should help. Psalm 139:13-16 says that he made all of the intricate details of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. His workmanship is wonderful and he made me. He knew everything that I would do—good, bad, or indifferent—before I took my first breath. Yet, he chose me anyway. Like a lonely child in an orphanage on the day of a long awaited adoption, God chose me to be one of his own.
These truths should make me perfectly content and secure but I do not always live as if they do. Often I live as if people’s opinions are the epitome and God’s opinion is hard to grasp. Therefore, for forty days I will meditate on God’s love for me. I will think about how he designed me for a good purpose and he wants me to live within that purpose. It is okay to do and say things that I believe wholeheartedly in my soul even when rejection comes back to me. After all, if God is for me, who can be against me?
For forty days, I will concentrate on being truly content with the way God made me. Godliness with contentment is of great worth (1 Timothy 6:6). I can be content with who I am, even though I am flawed because I know that God is with me and he will not leave me no matter what. He will always help me to learn and grow.
I pray that out of God’s glorious riches he may strengthen me with power through his Spirit in my inner being, so that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith. And, I pray that I, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know his love that surpasses knowledge and that I may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:16-19).
When I am afraid of others' opinions, it shows that I am not remembering God’s truth that he loves me with a perfect love and perfect love expels fear (1 John 4:18). Jesus went to great lengths to show me the love of God and that is the perfect love that drives away fear.
I have been chosen for obedience to Christ. That is a get-to, not a should. I get to live for him. That is an unbelievable, undeserved privilege. As I obey, grace and peace will multiple in my life (1 Peter 1:2). It is a process though and as I learn, God will provide everything I need to grow. I cannot make a mistake that is so big that I will be beyond God’s immense mercy and grace. I will never be perfect but that should not stop me from being who God designed me to be. Other people’s opinions will always be out there but those opinions should never interfere with my obedience to the Lord.
Focusing on contentment with who God designed me for forty days should help me to relish the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection more because he died so that I could have a full and abundant life. He did not die so that I could hide and cower.
When Easter morning arrives, I pray that I realize more than I do now that Jesus is in the Father, I am in Christ, and Christ is in me (John 14:20).
For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory (Colossians 1:27).
Jennifer Heeren has always loved to write. For more than a decade, she has enjoyed writing encouraging blog messages. She loves to write things that bring people hope and encouragement. Her cup is always at least half-full. She regularly contributes to Crosswalk.com and has also been published on ChristianDevotions.us. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband. Visit her at www.jenniferheeren.com.
Publication date: March 12, 2014