“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 everything through Christ who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:12-13)
Sitting in my recliner this last week with a Sjogren’s Disease attack, my arms so heavy that I felt like they’d fall off. My brain geared to slow motion and I had a migraine headache. I was in no mood to be content. I’d watched HGTV for several hours and thought of places I’d much rather be.
I decided that maybe it would help to start thanking God for little things–the fire in my fireplace, a friend telling me she loved me, my children calling. I began feeling my attitude improve–not that I wouldn’t rather be at a movie eating buttered popcorn. But there was contentment.
I read the following description of contentment that I keep on a card at my desk, “Contentment is living in the peace of the present moment no matter what changes might come.” To be content in the present moment requires a degree of the highest trust in God, but, oh, how He blesses us as a result.
Contentment doesn’t mean that we roll over and play dead. It means, “My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance and in inverse proportion to my expectations” (Good Housekeeping Magazine, Oct. 2013, Michael J. Fox, pg. 42). Our expectations must be tempered with the reality of our situation. This is critically important for our peace of mind.
It’s a life lesson we face many times, yet in acceptance of our illness comes joy for we experience God’s presence that is a prize above all. How often we must grieve our illness first in order to accept it. Contentment at times comes slowly, but it does come because of the kind of God we have. It’s a gift from Him.
Prayer: Oh Lord, how often we fall short in the contentment category. Help us to be at peace in the moment because our hope and strength are in You. When we wrestle against our situation, let it be a reminder that in You we can be at rest. Amen.
About the author:
Jackie Smith is from Knoxville, TN near the beautiful Smoky Mountains. She struggles with the autoimmune disease Sjogren’s and migraine headaches. Jackie is a breast cancer survivor of 25 years, and just recently had her colon removed, necessitating an ileostomy. She has her masters in Child and Family Studies. While she has never been able to work using her degree, she has great joy using it with her husband of 35 years, 5 children and 13 grandchildren. Jackie loves sharing her love for an awesome God.
Are your expectations keeping you from being content?
We can find contentment in the midst of the deepest pain here on earth and yet don’t emotionally beat yourself up if you still aren’t spiritually content here on this earth. We weren’t meant to be. This is a good reminder from Bill & Gloria Gaither featuring Mitchel Jon and Larnelle Harris singing, “I Don’t Want to Get Adjusted to This World.” It adds a new perspective to “contentment,” doesn’t it. -Lisa