April 3, 2014 by Kara Nichols
Laying down comparisons and picking up contentment. That’s the goal but it seems better fit for a line on a chalkboard in hipster’s kitchen, not a reality.
My reality might be like yours: nothing turned out the way I planned. For example, as a little girl I wanted to have babies and be a part-time teacher so that I could always be home when my kids were home from school. And all of them were named Crystal. Things didn’t work out that way.
That was the first time I learned that life is all about editing. This is something my dad taught me. He would tell me that I should have the strength and fearlessness to make a decision but also have the wisdom to edit the plan along the way, because something will come up. It always does. I don’t have a brood of Crystals running around or papers to grade and I’m better for it.
When I catch myself stacking my life up against someone else’s (which happens more than I care to admit) I remember that God’s plan for my life is perfection. I’m not saying it’s perfect in the sense that I’ve not had hardship. Perfect in the sense that He brought me through each heartache for a purpose – to grow me and honor him.
To entirely disprove my point I am going to admit that I was complaining to my friend the other day that things just weren’t happening fast enough. I wondered what I was doing wrong, and what God was withholding and why. I was angry and depressed with a side of bitter. Not a pretty sight and not a fun way to live. So I brought all of this up to God and what I heard was: contentment. And like I’m prone to do I started digging in the Bible for verses on contentment and this one jumped out at me:
Philippians 4:11-12 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
Reading it was less of a punch to the gut and more like an Oprah “Ah-ha” moment. I thanked God for pointing out this verse because it’s exactly what I needed to be reminded of. I know I’ll never be perfectly content until heaven but I see now that contentment is less about buying more or having prestige and more about letting go of control — a control that is just an illusion to begin with. God is the one in control and it is only through Him that I can experience the gift of true contentment.