This past summer, I was asked to come speak to this vivacious group of young ladies! Because of a tight schedule, I wasn't able to come until this afternoon, but it was definitely worth the wait. The juxtaposition of their outward diversity and yet united heart's desire was inspirational!
During our time, we talked about what contentment really is, why it is so important, how we can adopt a mindset of contentment, and how to apply it - not just to the really difficult trials through which we go, but to our daily lives as well.
I don't think I realized just how important contentment is until I began to take the time to deepen my understanding of this character quality. It really does play a significant and influential role on who we will become and how well we will excel in life!
We came to understand that contentment is both (1.) realizing God has provided everything I need for my present happiness, and (2.) knowing what is most important can never be taken away from me.
What can never be taken away?
- The Word of God (including all of His promises to believers, such as eternal life, eternal joy and eternal fellowship with Jesus Christ)
“Let your conversation be without covetousness;
and be content with such things as ye have:
for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One. Many ordinary treasures may be denied him, or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness. Or if he must see them go, one after one, he will scarcely feel a sense of loss, for having the Source of all things he has in One all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight. Whatever he may lose he has actually lost nothing, for he now has it all in One, and he has it pur ely, legitimately and forever.
One of the biggest lies you will ever here is,
If I only had _________ I would be happy!
Not only is this false, it can easily retard (meaning to delay, or hold back in terms of progress, development or accomplishment) the work God has ordained YOU to do!
Our contentment can determine who we are and how far we excel.
Do what you can with what you have! There is a man named Nick Vuijic who is an incredible example of both realizing God has provided everything he needs for his present happiness AND doing all he can with what he has. Nick was born without arms or legs, and yet leads a vibrant and contented life. He didn't have control over his circumstances, but he did have control over how to respond to them.
It is important to realize, however, that contentment should not be the fruit of comparison. This means that we should not look at a handicap like Nick's and determine that since "we have arms and we have legs, we should be happy"!
II Corinthians 10:12 says,
"...but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. "
If our contentment has a foundation of comparison, all it will take is someone who has MORE than we do to make us discontent.
Also, remember the significance of seasons
in life. One of the best ways to apply contentment is to keep our hearts in the present and not in the future.
We talked about the power of gratitude, and the need to let go of expectations. To illustrate letting go of our expectations, each girl wrote a desire of hers on a balloon ("a horse", "a camera", "a sister", "answers"), blew it up, and then together we let go of our "expectations" and symbolically gave God our desires to deal with as He pleases.
And of course, you can hardly cover contentment without talking about how it applies to physical appearance. My helper, Esther, did a fantastic job with a skit that emphasized true beauty!
A lovely tea party was prepared for after our meeting.
This picture is here to make you believe I only had 2 of those delectable cookies.
I didn't have anything to do with this.
9 years older than some of the bunch, and still put in the front row. Unbelievable!
While reflecting on today, I had to smile . . .
I was kind of surprised to get a flat tire within minutes of driving away, but was quickly reminded that the Christian walk is all about being doers of the Word and not hearers (or teachers!) only. It's nice to talk about godly character, but how will we respond when the rubber *pun . . . intended?* hits the road!
I called Dad.
And then went home and did the dishes.
Labels: CHARACTER, CONTENTMENT, DISCIPLESHIP, SINGLENESS