#1 It's a long lesson learned.
#2 It's actually a long lesson being learned!
Try this: Lie in bed and think about contentment.
That's what I was doing. I was lying in bed, thinking about contentment...thinking about the path we've come down...about how being content has been gently pounded into me...remembering all the times of discontent...and how God has always brought me out. He's always given me little glimpses of hope to keep me going. He's a good God.
You can try this, but I don't recommend it: Go broke.
I remember some low times from the past two years...When our bank account was in the negatives, and I worried, but then we received an unexpected check, and I praised God. I felt relieved. I felt happy, and this was good. I felt content then, but why had I worried??
When I spent our last $50 on medicine for our kid, but I was able to have a true peace that even I didn't understand. I felt content. I was just happy to be God's child...just satisfied that He supplied our need right then...not worried about how we were going to afford gas to get home, or where our next paycheck was going to come from, or even fighting against the worry...just content. It was supernatural, and it's possible for all God's children.
You should try this: Put it in perspective.
As I continued lying there, thinking, I thought of the limited space in our home, which is a common trap for discontent with me. On days when it feels like I'm slowly being buried in kids and stuff, and I just want to bust out a wall (or two!), I've given in to discontent. In reality I should be "on-my-face" grateful. We didn't even have a home a little less than two years ago. Why do I complain? Perspective. My mind wondered to a lady with her children in an alley somewhere. They find the box from your commercial size refrigerator thrown on the curb, and they rejoice. A shelter for their heads. I should be content. I pray for it.
Try to be prepared: "...The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26:41)
It's at this point in my line of thinking when there's an interruption...I all of a sudden realize that I left my double stroller in our hotel room in Florida! "How did I do that? Oh no! I need that stroller! What am I going to do? We can't afford another stroller right now!"
Yes...I did. That's how quickly I forget. We'd been home from Florida for almost a week, but for some reason I hadn't thought of that stroller until the very moment when I'm deep in thought about being content. When I realized the cliff my mind had just fallen off I laughed at myself. I prayed that God would forgive my silly worry over a dumb stroller and help me to trust Him with every little thing.
Definitely try this: Pray for it.
I pray that I'll be content no matter what. I have been content at times, but I wonder how far I could go. Would I be content if I were the lady in the alley? What if I were the lady in the alley and I didn't find the box, if I had no shelter, no food, no hope for any physical comfort. Could I be content when there seems to be no hope? Because there's always Hope.
Try to remember this: You NEED God.
IV came home from work the other day and shared this lesson with us, which God had been showing to him. He'd been reading about Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:21-34). Esau stumbled in after a long hunt, starving, without hope. What did he do? Read it yourself. He sold out...he gave in. He lost. God hated him (Mal. 1:2-3). Why? How could God hate someone? God saw his heart. Esau did not trust, did not hope, he was "godless" (Heb. 12:15-17). He didn't need God. I don't want to be Esau. I need God. God's in control. God always provides. AND...He brings all things together for His purpose.
It's like Dr. Charles Stanley said in his devotional last week:
Either you believe Romans 8:28 or you don't. And if you do, you can entrust yourself to the Lord, knowing that He has your best interest at heart, will take care of you, and won't ever leave your side. When you embrace these truths, you'll have no reason to be anxious.Now I'll tell myself...TRY TO REMEMBER THAT!