I Dream of Simple Things

SimpleThings

 

Simplicity.

What picture pops in your mind when you hear that word?

Slowing down, catching up with those you love most, taking time to breathe, read, watch nature and have time to think. While these are simple joys, I think the better definition of the above would be relaxation.

Simplicity is not a circumstance, but a heart-stance. Too often we can be swept up in drama, drama, drama in our lives in the form of work or familial busyness, stress, and all the voices clamoring for our attention. The voices with the faces of yes, those we love most, but more often than not, much of social media and keeping up with so many people and everyone’s activities can take a toll and complicate our daily lives.

How often do we unwittingly complicate our daily lives by focusing more on the things happening all around us-yes, even the great things-but not the Author of our lives? Let go and let God is a popular catchphrase and it’s easy to think that it’s a one-time deal. We have got to continually let go and let God be God and leave it at that. He is the giver of all good things, and the bearer of our daily burdens if we but pause and be still before Him.

I believe it is crucial that we share everything, all our little and big messes, with the Lord, but then step back and leave the working out of our worries and drama and stress to the One who is sovereign over all. I’ll be real here with ya’ll; some days, it’s hard for me to let go and let God. It’s difficult for me, at times, to be fully transparent in communication with the One who knows my heart better than even I do. This is my very human pride muddling everything up, but I’m thru beating myself up over it. I am a work in progress sinner saved by the grace of God thru Christ Jesus. I admit, I sometimes miss when life was simpler like when I was younger, but when are we to ever depend upon our ever-changing circumstances for our happiness?

The Lord is so good to grant me moments of simple peace when I need it most and least expect it. I watched a sunset last night and just breathed. The moments are gifts to be cherished. But more than that, I am to cling to my Lord who works all things out together for good, and takes all my complications and stress and simplifies them with His perfect plan.

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Oh Taste & See

MOHL2-16So Valentines Day has come & gone. Winter is still very much here, seemingly to stay … but God’s promises are yes & amen! Spring always follows winter {Genesis 8:22} He will grant us the desires of our hearts {Psalm 37:4}. 

As we look with great hope towards the near & far future, I know at least for me it’s easy to forget all that the Lord has done. Great & small. In our lives & in the lives surrounding us. I think this is part of the “secret” to joyful contentment. Trust me when I say I do not have it figured out.

Recounting the many moments of God’s sovereignty, answered prayers, mighty provision even in the eleventh hour … entrusting our present cares & burdens to His all-mighty hand takes faith, yes. But look back at the times when you have tasted & seen in those many moments, where God provided!

God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good. When I find myself particularly anxious about an upcoming change, or decision-or a blank page, “What on earth am I to do now?” I write down & physically make my requests known to God. I slip these lined pieces of paper hastily scribbled on into my Bible near verses underlined in pink, notes in the margins. So when I open my Bible, the burdens laying on my heart, I can see them written out-but also see God’s promises right beside them.

Even after the Lord comes through-which He always does, sisters! I leave those prayer requests in my Bible & if I remember, I jot down how, specifically, God answered those prayers. Last month I went on a young adult’s retreat with a great, long time friend. And I brought some burdens with me. Anxiety about my job & a temporary increase in hours I was anxious about keeping up with. I just didn’t know what to do; it is my job. How could I tactfully go to my office manager & present my concerns about some days I’d be working more, that would be 10+ hour days?

On that retreat, I wrote two full pages about my worry & anxiety about work. About my pain level {from my hip disabilityduring the 2-4 weeks I’d be needed to work more hours. I stuck that prayer request in Isaiah 43: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you…Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes I have made him. Is. 43:1-2&7

Just last week, suffice it enough to say God blew my mind at my office manager’s response to my question about the hours I’d be working. As always, my Father God embraced me & whispered, You worried for nothing, My girl. 

This month’s Scripture here at MOHL is Psalm 34:

I will bless the Lord at all times;

His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;

The humble shall hear of it & be glad.

Oh, magnify the Lord with me,

And let us exalt His name together…

Read the rest here

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Joy in the Journey

joyinthejourney

Finding joy and being content in where the Lord has me has been somewhat of a struggle for me at different times through my life.  I wrote a little bit earlier about struggling last year with a lot of things, and through that time, one of the things the Lord was teaching me through those struggles was that I was to find joy in the very journey of life. He wanted me to find joy in the little things, in the blessings we often ignore or don’t slow down enough to see and appreciate. 

He was reminding me anew of just how much the little things matter.

Each day is truly a gift. We are not promised tomorrow, or even the next hour or minute.

One of the things that I began doing last year was keeping a written record of the blessings the Lord was giving me each and every day. By stopping to physically write the blessings down, I became increasingly aware of how many blessings the Lord had given to me.

Number 11 in my blessings book: Having the opportunity to sit and hold my great-grandmother’s hand.

I realize I am one of very few people who still have a great-grandparent living. What a gift, and yet, how many times had I done the same thing before without stopping to realize what a gift it was? Sometimes, the smallest blessings are the ones that mean the most to us as years pass. They are a special reminder of a God who pays attention to the smallest details in our lives and orchestrates them perfectly before we are even born.

As I was counting those blessings and writing them down one-by-one, I realized that the Lord was restoring my joy in living as He led me along the everyday road of life. He began to teach me that finding contentment in my life is only possible if I am seeking to find my contentment in Him, and that the more I seek Him, the more He will open my eyes to the joy in simply living each day.

Psalm 51:12 - “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.”

Some days are hard. Some days I wake up, and I can feel the struggle within my spirit of restlessness in where the Lord has me. I find myself questioning why He has opened some doors and closed others, and wondering why difficult circumstances and situations are the way they are. The Lord has not promised us a life without struggle and difficult hardships here on earth. When I begin to feel discouraged, the Lord is faithful to pick me back up, dust me off, and place me once more on the path He has set before me. He continues to shower His blessings in both the large ways and the small alike; and is faithful to give me joy as I seek Him.

Psalm 16:11 - “You will show me the path of life;  In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

There is joy to be found in the journey, and what a *blessed* journey it is to walk alongside a heavenly Father who loves us *so* very much. <3 Count your blessings, one by one…

Habakkuk 3:18 - “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”

My dear sisters, will you join me in counting the many blessings the Lord has given us?

~Miss Court

{Romans 15:13 - “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”}

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Happiness Vs. Joy, Contentment Vs. Abiding

Hey Darling,

I want to explain the differences of words and how we use them, and importance of these differences to you.

 

Happiness Vs. Joy

When I started to think about writing about joy, I wasn’t happy about it. Honestly, I actually had a good cry not very long ago at all about this very idea. Yet, it was my happiness that was gone, but not my joy.

Happiness is the product of situations and what I perceive about what’s going on around my life. If “good” things are happening, then I’m more prone to being happy. If “bad” things are happening, then I’m prone to being unhappy. Happiness is an emotion, a feeling, and a product of our sinful hearts. We are not promised happiness all the days of our lives, nor are we promised that we’ll get our way (which often makes us feel happy).

Joy is the product of having peace in Jesus Christ. Peace is the confident assurance that God will keep His promises. This is why we have the ability to remain calm even in trials. Our Joy comes from knowing that Jesus is King, and nothing can ever dethrone the Son of God. We have joy when we realize God has allowed everything that happens, and that God is still in control. He will never lose control, thus we can be confident and joyful in Him.

When you have Joy, sometimes you will have happiness too! God gives us GOOD gifts! It’s okay to laugh and play and enjoy life. When troubles come, it’s acceptable (and good, healthy, and healing) to cry and mourn.

The world can steal your happiness, but it cannot steal your Joy.

 

 

Contentment Vs. Abiding In Christ

Contentment: “a state of happiness and satisfaction”, or as Wikipedia puts it, “Contentment is the acknowledgement and satisfaction of reaching capacity. The level of capacity reached may be sought after, expected, desired, or simply predetermined as the level in which provides contentment.” ”

So, contentment is the fulfillment of a predetermined desired endpoint. The desire is completed and satisfied. The action has ceased, and now there is no movement or continued motion.

To be content, makes me think of Thanksgiving, when you eat so much, you go take a nap. To be so satisfied you’re chilled out.

But while God has called us to be resting in His peace, that doesn’t mean we get to lie around digesting because we stuffed ourselves of “good things”. We are called to action. We are called overcomers, that we are more than conquerors! If we wear armor then why does our culture suggest that we become content with a status quo of our Christianity? Is this what we were called to? Is it the end of the journey here? To merely be content and sedated that we no longer yearn and fight on in faith?

 

John 15:4-5

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

 

Here we see that Jesus commands us to abide in Himself. What does that even mean? No one talks like that anymore. It comes from an old English word that means to both wait and go onward! Abide means to act in accordance with that which you are abiding in. You see, it’s both a condition and an action. When you abide in Jesus Christ, you have peace, rest, and you are able to have that gentle state in your soul, yet at the exact same time you are acting and going onward. It’s a movement. To continue the growth of our faith, you move forward. Just because you can’t see the place your foot will land, doesn’t mean that God hasn’t prepared that step for you. Keep going.


Stay in Christ, move onward in faith.

 

To tie both Joy and Abiding together, look at another verse a bit further down the page.

 

John 15:9-11

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy maybe in you, and that your joy may be full.”

 

 

 

Love,

Jessie Bear

 

P.S.

Bonus Notes:

It never ceases to amaze me how much Jesus loves me. Here is what I mean.

 

John 15:9
“As the Father has loved me, so I loved you. Abide in my love.”

 

That’s wonderful! Jesus just stated that just as much as God loved Him, that’s how much He loves us!

To try explaining this, when we say that God is holy, that means that 100% of God is 100% holy, such that every part of God is constantly exuding the most holiest holiness possible. Same when we talk about God being pure, that there is no blemish in Him. We mean that God’s purity is so undefiled that there is no way for Him to be more pure than He is.

Here is the crazy part.

When Scripture talks about God being love, and loving us, it’s the same deal!!!!

When God loves me, there is no way He could love me more than He does, because He is loving me with His entire infinite being!

Now, for the kicker.

 

John 13:34-35

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

God loves Jesus with all He is.
Jesus loves His Bride with all He is.
We are commanded to love with all we are.

God does not command us to that which we are unable, for, He makes us able.

 

(Another side note, verse 35 says that the world shall know that we are Jesus’ disciples for our love for one another. Not how smart we are, nor how many people we are a witness too, Scripture says they will know us by how we love each other. Remember that, you represent Him, are you being a good representative? Have you loved your brother and sister lately?)

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God’s Will

 

The phrase “God’s will” is an elusive one, at best. How do we find it? How do we walk in it? It’s not like the Lord gives us a detailed blueprint or map for every second of our lives. I don’t know about you, but some days, I think that would be easier. But if He did do that-there would be no room for blind faith in Him, & we’d run screaming in the other direction.

I think in every season of life, there is a struggle with contentment. For me, it’s contentment with where I’m at, rather than striving for the next big thing. For those that are married, it may be a forever home, a baby, moving closer to family, or any number of things. Contentment is not a switch we can flip on & off at will, however I will say this-we pray for a stronger faith, & I believe the Lord tests that prayer.

Laugh if you want, but I feel that God lovingly tests my heart with my own words. There have been more blog posts than not where, after I hit “Publish”, my heart is tested by the gentlest, yet pointed whisper of His still, small voice. Contentment is a big one, for me. Another elusive phrase-but it actually goes hand in hand with God’s will. 

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NKJV

How often do we breeze by this verse, reminded to count our blessings, keep an active prayer life & be happy? It’s so much more than that-one mere facet of the mystery of God’s character & love for us. My word for 2014 is Abide; I pray for those qualities in the above verse to be cultivated … & sure enough, life knocks me on my behind at times right after I say “Amen”.

But God is faithful. Unchanging. Ever constant. My rock & my salvation. Nothing comes to me-even the things that knock me on my rear-except through God’s sovereign will.

How are you striving to grow in contentment-& joy in the journey-this year?
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Six days of Contentment

I learned a lot from the Contentment challenge  I learned some of my weakness as well as some of my strengths  Today, I would like to share with you the journal I kept during my six day challenge to be content. Don’t worry, they are very short entries.

Day 1 ~ Sunday

11:00AM - I thought I was doing very well with this challenge, and then my brother and I had a fight.  After that, I really wished I had those perfect siblings I asked God for.

3:00PM – Wishing we didn’t have the rule that we don’t turn on computers on Sunday. Really wishing to play on a computer game.

7:00PM – So thankful for all the books I have. I started to read one to keep me entertained until bedtime.

11:00PM -  Seriously, is it that late? I got caught up in the book. I am so thankful for our rule of not turning on computers on Sunday.


Day 2 ~ Monday

I woke up and I just wanted to be lazy. God arranged for our internet to be down so I got to spend the morning reading, such a blessing

11:00AM – the internet is back up and I have to work. I really wish I could be lazy today and not have so much work to do.

1:30PM – how come talking about cell phones always make me discontent with mine? Even though my phone serves my needs well (and cheaply I might add), I often wish I had a fancier phone.

2:30PM – I got a text message and realized my phone doesn’t show the date revived. Discontent with my phone again. Ummm, I am starting to see one of my weakest areas. To think that I was happy just to have a phone that texted a few months ago. I am a piece of work.

10:00PM – I got to take my sister to class and it ran late. I got my wish to read for several hours straight.


Day 3 ~ Tuesday

5:30AM – Seriously, I am thankful that I do not have to drive, but I really don’t like getting up so early.

3:33PM – Love my job. No complaints here.

5:00 – Co-worker showed me pictures on her smart phone, discontent with my phone sprung up again. Discontent and envy go hand in hand I’m finding.






Day 4 ~ Wednesday

Wonderful day enjoyed all of it. Even was happy with my cell phone.


Day 5 ~ Thursday

7:00AM Even though I had to get up early, I was happy. A good start to the day.

3:00PM I just want to be home. I am ready for a nap. Silly job!

4:00PM how come the new intern is now the darling of the office? I have worked hard for the last two years people!

9:00PM now that I am curled up in my bed. I thank God for my day full of ups and downs.


Day 6 ~ Friday

8:00AM I got to sleep in and woke up from a nice dream. *Happy sigh*

9:30AM I got to spend my morning reading blog posts and writing one. *Another happy sigh*

11:00AM Sometimes I feel like a child. If I don’t get my way, I sometimes become as discontent and as upset as one. This is one of those days.

                Meditation for the day..
 God uses both our failures and success for his glory. Don’t give up trying to live out your faith.


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It’s Not What I Wanted

Written by Miss Rachel

I was talking to a friend one day, and we discussed that a topic on contentment was the one thing almost all courtship books had in common. Yet for all their talk, we’re not any better at being content than before. In fact, if asked, quite a few single young women would agree that contentment is their greatest struggle in their singleness. Why is that?

I’m a wordsmith at heart, at least when it comes to the Bible that is. I want to know exactly what each word means so that I know just what God expects and how to apply it in my life. Contentment is to be satisfied, to be at rest and at peace, and without envy.

The opposite of contentment is discontentment. And discontentment is complaining, when it comes down to it. It’s being ungrateful and unsatisfied. It’s jealousy. (Ouch.)


I’ve been there. I’ve struggled too. And I do still, at times. Recently, three of my good friends (and one of their brothers) have announced they are entering into courtships. My initial reaction was of rejoicing with them and this new path God will take them on. Of course I’m excited and thrilled for them!!! But then, gradually, I felt myself echoing some of the same feelings Cynthia spoke of in her post from a few weeks ago…

Contentment and I are old “friends”.  
I’m no model for a spirit of contentment. Here I am battling it again
It’s a matter of where my focus is that needs to be adjusted.

Singleness was not what I had wanted. From girlhood I’ve wanted to be a wife and mother. I’d play with my dolls and hugged little ones dreaming of one day holding children of my own to guide and love. With my 27th birthday in another month’s time I find I’ve not shown as much progress in being content as I’d like to see. But that’s what this challenge is about right - living what we “preach”? And I know I’m not the only one who struggles at times when it comes to singleness…

Though singleness is not what I wanted and certainly not what I would choose, God is still good and I can see His hand is still on my life. He has chosen the better thing for me in this season of my life.

I’ve laid aside one dream, at least for a time, only to pick up dozens of others: writing my first book (Eek!), mentoring younger girls and fellowshipping with my sisters in Christ - growing right along side them; gaining a closer relationship with my siblings and enjoying the little moments of life, and not the least of all is growing in my faith as a young women in Christ. My time as a single gal is not being wasted! These are new adventures I hadn’t imagined and I am happy and content.

It’s when that giant of envy

and that spirit of complaining creep in

that I’m unhappy.

~*~
To Ponder:
How can we refocus our hearts and minds when discontentment gains control over us in our single years?
 (image via pinterest)

*Remember that God is Sovereign and always has a plan for your life that will be beautiful and good. If you are still single, then that’s right where God wants you to be…for now at least. Believe that He has your best interests at heart and trust that this is for your good and His glory. (Proverbs 3:5-6; Jeremiah 29:11)

*PRAY! Pray for the Lord to rid you of these discouraging feelings when they come. Pray for girls you know taking steps in marriage. Pray for your single friends that God would encourage them as well in His great love for them. Even pray for your prince charming - as Miss Rachelle suggests…he has lot’s of dragon’s to face too, you know.

I’ve discovered that prayer is one thing that helps me to stop focusing on myself and comforts me that God is at work in my life even now in my single years. He’s a very good listener you know. (1 Thessalonians 5:7; Romans 1:9b)

(image via pinterest)
*Be Thankful. Instead of dwelling on all that isn’t happening in your life at present, ponder on all that is happening! I guarantee that there is at least one thing you can find to be thankful for in this season of your life. Enjoy this time as a young woman…those special moments with your family…and the time you have to grow in your character as a daughter of the King! (Psalm 16:11)

*Use this time! Don’t sit around moping because prince charming hasn’t dropped on your doorstep yet, take this as an opportunity to grow in your relationship with the Lord, that way, if and when prince charming comes along, he’ll find a beautiful young lady inside and out. :) And what if prince charming never comes along? Well then, you’ll still be enjoying a close relationship with your true Beloved, and that is something quite special indeed. (1 Timothy 6:6; Colossians 3:2)

“For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, 
therewith to be content.” 
~ Philippians 4:11b

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Contentment: Maybe He doesn’t need your accomplishments.

By Cynthia

Contentment is a category that seems a bit like Pandora’s box. For me, it comes in at a different door every day. When I heard that the challenge this time was “contentment” I figured I would end up writing about the contentment of being single…I mean, isn’t that one of the things I have to focus most on sometimes when I see everyone (rather literally) but myself finding love and life partners and all of that beautiful jazz?

But for several days I put off writing this post because…well…truth be told, everyone struggles with contentment and it seemed silly to choose the especially-obvious-in-February category of Relationship Status. So I kinda just hung back a while and waited to see what God (other otherwise the devil) might throw in my path to (on one hand) teach me about contentment or (on the other) tempt me with dissatisfaction. And the longer I waited, the more I realized how deeply ingrained it is in our sin-nature to be discontent.

I have always laughed and rolled my eyes and mentally back-kicked the Israelites for being stupid enough to start cursing God the day after He delivered them through the Red Sea ordeal. I mean, really. Hundreds of years of back-busting captivity in Egypt and then, just cuz you’re a little thirsty, you start railing at God for saving you and say you’d rather go back than go forward? In my modern-era pride, I always thought: “Sheesh. Losers.”

Snap back to this past week, and I started noticing a trend that has me marveling at the wiles of the evil one. Because most of the discontentment I have struggled with in the last week and even the last few months has come under the guise of inspiration. I get a good idea, and because it is a good thing and looks perfectly harmless, and is even a thing I feel God has been calling me to do, I pursue it.

The pursuit is not where I sin. No. That comes when…

……I’ve been exercising and eating clean for at least a month and I’m not trimming down like I want.

……I have finished the one book and am ready to write another but a plot won’t come.

……I am reading three books at once and frantically trying to finish them (forgetting to enjoy the sweetness of a good read) because my Books Read in 2013 list is looking really short and skimpy.

…..My winter clothes are tired and blah-looking and I’m out of ideas for putting together the same old clothes I’ve worn all year, and there’s no money for more.

My attitude starts to get weaker and uglier and more despairing over these facts of life, and my spirit turns Israelite-ish and starts complaining against God:

  • “Lord, why do I have to be fat?”
  • “Why can’t I get a story? If I don’t keep writing I’ll never be published, and I can’t think of any story that anyone will want to publish anyway!”
  • “Lord, why on earth do we have to be poor?!”

Notice that the more self-pitying I become, the more exaggerated my view of my lot in life is. Instead of plump and could-lose-a-deal I’ve classified myself a “fat”. Instead of being grateful for the accomplishment of finishing one great novel and having 4 different plot ideas simmering in the back of my head, I capitulate to a severe case of hypothetical writer’s block. Instead of admitting that times are tight for everyone but God has always pulled us through, I start griping about our “poverty.”

The exercising and eating well are two goals God gave me this year to pursue. The writing is one talent and calling I feel God has placed on my life. Reading is awesome and being a good steward of the brains God has given me.  But the key to how I get into my Israelite-esqu kefuffle is when I take my eyes off the fact that God has instructed me in these ways, and I start focusing on the pacing or the details or the things that aren’t done yet. Instead of being excited that I’m on an accountable, vibrant exercise plan, I fret over the fact that I’ve still got a muffin-top (or two) and flabby arms. I fret over the fact that I am not yet published and my Microsoft Word program is locked up. This week I momentarily fretted over the fact that a friend was beginning a courtship with a man while another friend will probably be engaged by April or May (I’m guessing.) I sat down with my Bible and flipped to the Psalms (because David always knew how I am feeling. ;) and immediately found this verse:

“The Lord will perfect that which concerns me…” Ps. 138:8

He has promised, and He will do it.

I am still flabbergasted over a show of God’s hand in my life just to day, literally as I’m writing this post on contentment. I applied to work at two of three camps with Generation Joshua this summer. This was really exciting because I’ve been wanting to work at these camps for years, and this summer it was becoming a reality, and I am looking forward to the busy spring and summer it looks like I’ll be having. I figured that I would be accepted for two, or even asked to do three if they really needed all or nothing. Perhaps I relied a bit too smugly on the fact that my older brother is leading worship at all three, and of course they’d want the sister too.

I opened my inbox and this post simultaneously and saw in my inbox an email from Gen-J. They only needed me for one camp.

Only one. 

I tried not to feel disappointment. I mean, one is better than none, certainly. “All right, Lord,” I conceded mentally. “I see what You’re doing here! An object lesson, eh? Okay. I trust You.”
I clicked back over to this screen and worked on the body of this post, and a moment later got another message in my inbox.

Someone was unavailable and Gen-J needed my help for all three.

All three.

Girls, God has definitely got a sense of humor. Especially when it comes to writing about things like everyday contentment. :) Let’s always remember to look for His working in a given situation. Maybe He doesn’t need an accomplishment from you. Maybe all He wants is a process, and the chance to teach us to enjoy the ride.

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They have stolen our contentment

I must confess, the subject of contentment isn’t something I really think about very much. In truth, the word has often baffled me. Content? How in the world is someone supposed to be content when their life is a mess? How are we supposed to demonstrate such a word when we don’t feel that way?

There have been times in my life where I’ve succeeded to live out this word and then other times when I’ve failed. But truly, even to this day, I don’t really feel like I understand what it means to be content. So, when it came to writing this post, I really struggled. With so many writers, it seemed like all the good post ideas were taken. Up until just a few days ago, I had no idea’s of what to write about.

So I prayed.

It’s amazing how God works when we can no longer do something in our own strength.

Recently, I’ve been reading the book “Loving God With All Your Mind” by: Elizabeth George. In it, she talks about the verse in Philippians 4:8 and how it can help us to focus on God. So far, I have only read the first five chapters, all of which have focused on the first part of the verse, thinking on “whatsoever things are true.” I have been amazed at how many lies we, as sinners, actually believe and even more surprised that those wrong thoughts have an affect on if we feel content or not.

Think about it.

We focus a lot on mistakes we’ve made, words we regret saying, things we wish we had done differently or dreams we wish we had gone after. Our thoughts are consumed with fears about the future (even if it’s something happening in a few hours). Will the doctor have bad news? Will our dreams come true? What if prince charming never shows up? What if, when we grow up, our lives don’t turn out the way we wanted? We focus on things more current like the fight we had this morning or the dishes that need to be washed. If only we could be reading a book or watching a movie instead of having to do someone else’s chore.

Do you see it? 

“What If.”

“If Only.”

There is no trust. There is no joy. There is no contentment.

When we focus on our regrets and fears instead of on Christ, it steals our contentment.

Every day, our thoughts are filled with anxiety and doubt and disappointment. Sometimes, it’s just little instances between taking out the trash and reading a new book. Sometimes, it’s an entire, no good, very bad day of discontentment.

Maybe focusing on Christ and on “things that are true” about our lives won’t completely fix our struggle with discontentment. But, I have noticed, as I have begun to shoot down those lies and fearful thoughts about my past, present life, and future, that my heart feels lighter. I have more joy because I’m not consumed by thoughts about events and actions that are no longer in my control or that haven’t happened yet. By focusing on “what is true” right now, in this moment, I can feel a bit more content than I had before. Because now, I can be satisfied with where God has me and what he is doing in my life.

Thoughts to ponder today: God love’s you unconditionally. Don’t let your thoughts be so consumed with dissatisfaction that you fail to have joy and contentment in your life. Does God feel far away? Maybe it’s because you are focusing on the circumstances instead of on HIM.

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My Contentment Week

By Rose H.

This week taught me so much. I thought I was a pretty content person, but this challenge unearthed all the ways I can be discontent. But it also helped me to remember what to be grateful for all I have.

Okay Here we go …

Day 1

Someone mentioned a big name theater company on Facebook and I swoon. They are known for lavish sets, amazing dances, and their Christian plays. “you would be great in one.” Someone mentions to me. Suddenly my life seems dull. All I want is to be on that stage. To bring those stories to life. My head spins with dreams.
Then I come back down to earth and remember the challenge that I just took. It hit me that I was wanting things that I didn’t have and longing for things that weren’t within my reach. I was discontent with the life I was living.
Slowly I released that faulty daydream. As I did I started thanking God for everything that I have here. It felt good.

Day 2

Is my follower count really that small? Is anyone really listening to my blog posts? These were question I struggled with this morning. Except for MOHL, all of my other blogs are below the 30 follower count marker. While I enjoy blogging, I do like to know that someone is … Ah, but here I go again. Does the number matter? I’m doing what God has called me to do. Blogging is a part of me. No matter who follows or doesn’t follow my blog, I’m doing it for God. I can be content in that.
I breath easier and now when I open my dashboard, I thank God for the friends (however many they are) that choose to follow me.

Source : Mikayla H.

Day 3

Sometimes I struggle with liking myself. Being content in who I am. I mean, I’m not anything special or amazing. And I have issues like anyone else, but sometimes I think I should be different. I should change. Today was one of “those days”. And it was today that I remembered to be thankful for the person I am. I was created for this moment in time. And I can rejoice in who I am. Issues and all.

I also wonder if wanting more books is a form of discontentment? I’ll  have to mole over that one.

Day 4

There were some things I was waiting for. ASL class to get going, a potential  movie deal to get going, some people to come through. Life just seems to be going at a halting pace.
But even as I wanted things to get going I could also see a time of rest. A time when I didn’t have to plan my life down to the second. A time when I can take a breath.
And so for now I’m  content to rest and wait.

Day 5

Man, it seems like everyday God reveals another area that I struggle with contentment in.
Today was relationships. I’m  a big people person. My mom calls me a social butterfly. I like having friends and I enjoy friendships with many, young and old.
But with one relationship I wanted more. I wanted to get closer to this girl. But she has a life and relationships are built slowly. Can I be content with the pace of life?
Yes I can. As I take what is given and rejoice in that, my life is enriched. I find contentment when I let go of my (supposed) needs and accept whatever is given. When I did this, I was fuller than I could have ever imagined.

Source: Mikayla H.

Day 6

Okay I think I’ve got the answer to the question on day 3. Is wanting the same thing as discontentment? I say no. At least for me, discontentment is wanting other things so much that I’m thankful for what I have.
If I’m content I can even want other things, just so that I don’t forget what I have.

Day 7

Sunday. A day of rest. Yet even sometimes I can let work and pressures slip in.
One of the biggest things I struggle with is being content with the work I have gotten done. It seems like there is always things that I could be doing, always things on the to-do list, and more appointments to put on the calendar. Being content in what I have already done can be a challenge.
But I’m trying. As I go to bed, as I look at my “to do list”, sticky notes, and calendar I try to think of all that God has provided. Rest in what He’s allowed me to do and not worry about it. Be content in what I’ve already done with God’s help. It makes a big difference.

I learned so much from this week. And I’m going to try to incorporate more of the lessons that God taught me this week into my daily life.

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