Contentment is the #wholemama word for this week. Some of the words I found that were considered synonyms were happiness and satisfaction, but I'm not sure they cover the full implications of the word.
To me contentment has a lot to do with an inner peace, the kind that is promised by Jesus when he said,
Is it possible to have a sense of contentment when our circumstances aren't the happiest or most satisfying?
Maybe contentment has more to do with our state of mind regardless of the circumstances. It reminds me of what the apostle Paul said.
Obviously Paul had found himself in situations that were less than desirable, but he had learned to practice contentment anyway. How was he able to come to the point where he could be content in any situation? Certainly not in his own strength. He was a human being just we are. There was nothing special about him that he could manufacture contentment.
What was his secret?
The answer is found in verse 13 of Philippians 4:
Paul's strength came from Jesus, who is the only One able to provide the enduring stamina needed to live a life of contentment no matter what. You and I have that same power available to us, if only we would remember to ask. Of course sometimes we are so down we don't even think about the power within us, but Jesus comes anyway to hold us up.
I memorized Philippians 4:13 when I was a child, but I learned it as a stand alone verse. I took it to mean that God would help me with anything I needed to do. While this is true it doesn't cover the full extent of the meaning. In its context the verse shows me this:
God doesn't necessarily change my circumstances, but he does give me the strength I need to go through whatever comes my way.
I'm still learning how to be content. It's a long process, and I have not come to the point where I am always content. Often I complain about circumstances when I know complaining doesn't change a thing. It just makes me miserable and also affects those around me.
What helps is when I look for the good in every day, when I pause to give thanks, when I keep my eyes on my heavenly Father and spend time communing with him. Things don't magically get better, but when my attitude is one of thanksgiving, I am more at peace and can be content even when times are hard.