Contentment 1. The state of being happy enough with what one has or is; not desiring something more or different; satisfied.
Complacency 1. self-satisfaction; smugness.
Phil. 4:11-14 "I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and i know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me."
1 Tim. 6:6-7 "There is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content."
Is there something about your life you wish were different? Do you wish you had a different house, a different husband, a different child....? If you're human than I'm sure you won't have to think long and hard to find something you wish were different about your life. I'm seeing it very clearly in people around me and I just realized that I've got the same issue....contentment. Being a first born, task-oriented person I never want to become complacent. In fact, it's impossible for me to be complacent. I have this inner drive to always do better and not settle for middle ground. This can be a good quality if you don't run over people in the process. I realize though that I also must experience a restfulness that comes from knowing I'm in the center of where God wants me. Paul encourages us to both strive and strain towards the goal to which God has called us heavenward as well as to be content in every situation. This is a challenging balance to strike without being yoked to Jesus.
This week in Bible Study Fellowship we are studying Matthew Chapter 11 and at the end of it Jesus speaks of taking his yoke upon our necks and learning from him. But his yoke is supposed to be easy and light, not burdensome and heavy. I am to find rest for my soul while I am in the center of God's will. So, if I'm not experiencing rest in my soul or if my life feels very burdensome than I am not yoked to Jesus.
I talked with a friend this week who is struggling to live in a bad neighborhood where she hears her neighbor beating his girlfriend and there are meth houses all around them. She longs to live in the country like me. I, long to live in Africa like my friends the Allens and right now the Allens would love to be back in America and go to Red Robin for dinner and not have poverty always staring them in the face! Maybe we should all play "musical houses" and switch for a few months! (Just kidding.) The answer is not in changing our circumstances, but in loving and trusting Jesus to be all-sufficient for us. I think of Martha who was so busy in the kitchen working to impress Jesus with a great meal that she missed out on being with him!
So, what I think God is trying to tell me through his word, through friends and experiences, is that THIS is where he wants me and THIS is what he wants me doing. It is always going to be tempting to jump over the season of life I'm in to get to a more exciting season "where the action is". But as a wise woman from our church said to me today, "if you skip a season you will spend the next one regretting it". It does take the strength of Christ to be content. Let us lean on him and let him pull the weight until we can walk in a satifying peace knowing he knows best.