Blog by Jess Newton
I got in the Halloween spirit this morning by riding my broomstick around the house. Ask my husband, my kids and even my dog. I’m so festive I use this costume year round! It comes in handy when my to do list/to-buy list isn’t done and especially when I’m feeling like I’m too much and not enough at the same time. The to do list leaves me feeling undone. Then theres the to buy list! It’s much more exciting and seems to fix that “undone” feeling. The truth is, that doesn’t work either. No matter what gets crossed off my to do list or what is purchased to help me feel better, it seems like something is missing. And it is.
To be contented means feeling or showing satisfaction with one’s possessions, status, or situation. It’s sort of counter-cultural isn’t it? Read any magazine cover. Look at any Instagram or Pinterest feed. They convey the message that we aren’t enough and we don’t have enough but can surely buy it or work hard to achieve it! I don’t know about you, but this leads to a sense of dissatisfaction with my possessions, status and situation and can leave me feeling emotionally unstable and searching for contentment where there is none.
You thought you’d be further along by now too as Mrs. PhD, CEO, or Mom, right? I remember being the girl who thought once I graduated from college, got married, and had babies, I’d finally be happy. Here’s the trick – I’ve been there and done all that and have several t-shirts to prove it yet I’m still that girl waiting on a sense of “arrival”. Something’s gotta give!
Living in plenty yet still wanting costs so much and I don’t only mean money. We pursue things and titles endlessly and people (especially those who might need something from us) get left in the dust! What is this like for those who are closest to us? What kind of pressure does this put on my husband? What example does this set for my three children? What I’ve realized is that living with a constant sense of discontentment in who I am, what I have and what I’ve accomplished is a choice. The choice before us is this: trick or treat? Are we ready to trade the disappointing tricks of acquiring and accomplishing for the treat of contentment? I realize this flies in the face of society’s values, but the Bible has always been counter-cultural. Jesus wasn’t afraid to confront the messages society and marketers were sending in His time and He is still speaking those same messages to us today. If we can only look past our discontentment to open our Bible app instead of Amazon!
I believe contentment is important to God and that’s why the Bible says so much about it. He knows we will face highs and lows during life on Earth but we don’t have to be ruled by what’s happening around us. Contentment sets us free to have a heart at ease whether we’re happy or hurting. And be encouraged if you’re not naturally content – it’s a lesson we have to LEARN as indicated by Philippians 4:11. Paul says, “ I have learned the secret of being content.” Here’s more of what Paul (in addition to Timothy and David) had to say about contentment:
Philipians 4:11-13 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 any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
1 Timothy 6:6-10 But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Psalm 16:5-9 Lord, you assigned me my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure.
Proverbs 14:30 A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
The choice is ours this Halloween season and every day: trick or treat? Whether living in plenty or in need, what would our life look like if we chose to put down the broomstick and pick up contentment?
(All verses are from the NIV)