“… For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Philippians 4:11
I was mad. Discouraged. It felt like I'd been hit on every side. To make matters worse, an area I'd poured my heart into for over a decade seemed to be dying. It wasn't fair! I knew God was in control, therefore, He must have allowed this. It felt as if He'd intentionally led me down a painful dead end.
These thoughts can often arise when life sideswipes us, disappointments mount, and nothing seems to be going as planned.
As I focused on the events, which were many, that had knocked me back, I grew increasingly upset and discontent. Entrenched in entitlement, I focused on what I didn't have instead of what I had. With one negative thought after another, I fed the discontent monster until her appetite grew insatiable, overshadowing every good gift that Christ had given.
The next morning, still nursing a negative attitude, I opened my Bible to Philippians 4. The verse on learning to be content, written by a first century church planter named Paul, seemed to jump out at me. Though he was specifically referring to material things, the principle of learned contentment applies to all areas of life.
Why had God allowed me to experience so many setbacks? Likely, because He had something far greater in mind than my momentary comfort or pleasure. He was growing me so that I would be free to serve Him. So that I could learn the secret of contentment. The more I focus on what I don't have, whether it's something material or an opportunity, the more discontent I become. But when I focus on Christ and all He has done, I begin to experience incredible joy and peace.
The next time you feel discontentment begin to rise up, intentionally focus on your Savior and all He has done for you. As you do, your joy and peace will grow, swallowing up your discontentment.
Jennifer Slattery is a writer, editor, speaker, and the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries. She writes for Crosswalk, hosts Life Audio’s Faith Over Fear podcast, is the author of eight contemporary novels including her recently released Building a Family and helped write Wholly Loved’s Bible study based on the life of Sarai (Gen. 12-23) titled Becoming His Princess, available for free (in ebook form) from Wholly Loved Ministries. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall outings with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Visit her online at jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com.
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