Photo by Peggy Sue Zinn
I am not saying this because I am in need, for 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 every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.Philippians 4:12 NIV
I had been going through this season for what seemed like forever. I had moved back to my parents’ house for just a few weeks. I remember telling a friend on the phone, “ I will just be here for 3 weeks then I will return to my life. “
Before this, I had a job; was serving in a church, leading a young people’s prayer group( we were in revival). I was also serving as a worship leader. One night while in prayer I felt like God was asking me to lay it down- the prayer group, the worship, the friends- and move back to my parents’ house.
It didn’t make sense; I had felt like God was planting me here. Yet here I was leaving. I told myself it was going to be only for a while. Three weeks passed, and another three weeks, I was still in my parents’ house, without a church, friends, or a job.
In this season, God seemed silent.
I struggled with discontentment. I thought I would have a flourishing career by now, but here I was waiting for another seasonal job contract. I thought I would be planning a wedding by now; here I was still single and living with my parents. I thought I would be in ministry by now, but here I was without a ministry.
For the next 4 months, I spent every waking moment trying to get God to return me to my previous life. I prayed, fasted, declared, and decreed but nothing changed.
It became my place called “there”.
I had built a life in my head around this place and I was now discontented in a season I felt unprepared for. I believed that if I could just get there, all the things I wanted would fall into place.
God being the good father He is; knew if I didn’t deal with the discontentment. It would follow me into the next phase of my life, and no matter what I had or where I went, I would still be discontented.
Sis, it’s easy to feel like it’s only when we get “there” that we’ll be truly happy.
Where is your “there”? Is it a relationship? Is it a change of location? Is it career? A different job?
Discontentment creates a lie in our head that joy and satisfaction can only be found “there”. We are convinced we will be happy when a man puts a ring on our finger. We believe if we had a better job and more money to buy all those things then we will be happy and contented. We believe if only we could have different circumstances we will be happy and want for nothing.
Discontentment tells us that our present circumstance is the problem. But discontentment is a heart problem. It’s a problem of a heart that will not be satisfied no matter what it has or where it goes. If we don’t deal with it, we will go through life, season after season discontented with everything that God gives us.
How do we tackle discontentment?
We acknowledge it’s there. I had to come to a place of acknowledging, “God I’m discontented help me”. It’s only when I got to this place that God began to give me the tools to overcome the discontentment. Psalm 51: 6 Behold you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. When we acknowledge that it’s there we allow God to help us.
Find the good. It’s easy to complain and grumble about everything when we are discontented. Instead of looking at what you don’t have, change your focus and really look to see what you do have. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 ESV Small insignificant things become great when we do it for the Lord.
Guard your heart. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23 NIV It’s our job to guard what is accessing our hearts. We guard what we are looking at, and who is accessing us. Sis, your discontentment could be growing because of what your eyes are seeing. Social media is great but I have learned to unfollow some people because I want to guard my heart.
Often, discontentment comes in because we are busy looking at other people’s lives instead of our lives. When we choose to be occupied with what God has for us in this season instead of what He has for others. We will find contentment no matter in our situation.
Learn how to be content. Paul says, “For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstance.” Philippians 4:12 Contentment is learned. It’s a choice we have to make in every circumstance. We get to decide whether we will choose contentment or discontentment. He also says, “contentment came because he realized he could do all things through him who strengthens him.”(vs. 13). We can be content in hard situations because we have Christ strengthening us to do all things.
Sis, my three weeks turned into five very long years. And in the next five years, I learned how to be content in a season where nothing much was happening.
I took my focus off “there” and received grace for “now”. I decided I was going to enjoy my life as I wait for the seasons to change. I also made a choice; if God wouldn’t change one more thing in my life I was still going to have a full and contented life.
Father, I bring you my discontented heart, and I ask you to heal me. Help me to find joy in this situation, even when it’s hard. Let me find the good, and by your grace get to a place where even if you don’t give me what I desire I will still be happy and contented. My contentment comes from you. Only you can fill my heart and satisfy me in every season and in every way. Your blessings are good but they will not fill my heart. You alone are my joy and satisfaction. In Jesus name Amen!