You ever have a “moment”? Everything is just going along just“fine,” and then something hits you sideways and you have a moment. Maybe you had a Facebook moment when you saw that you weren’t included in a party or conversation or outing. Perhaps you had a home-improvement moment as you watched all the options HGTV had to offer. Could be you had a Pinterest moment when you tried your best to recreate the image on your computer screen and it was an unrecognizable failure.
Maybe you had a moment with your kids, your boss, your husband, your scale, or your mirror . . . and the moment dissolved your contentment.
My moment came at the tax guy’s office. As he looked over all my documents, his mouth tightened into a disapproving grimace. “Robyn, I know this God thing is important to you, but I have to tell you that at your age, you should be thinking about your future. You need to get a real job.”
I explained how faithful God continues to be and how, even though the numbers may not show it, I am experiencing his peace and pleasure as I partner with him to proclaim Jesus’ name and teach the Bible from coast to coast.
He shook his head, seeing that his advice was falling on deaf ears.
What I’d told him was true, but as I left his office, my contentment asked my confidence for a date and they took off for parts unknown. The evil twins, discouragement and dissatisfaction, moved in to take their place.
I saw my world through their viewfinder. My car makes funny sounds. Our furnace is 25 years old. My bank account isn’t multiplying, but my weight and wrinkles sure are!
I had to wrangle my contentment back in place.
The first thing I did was make a list of one hundred things I had to be thankful for. One hundred things! When I consider all I have, the things I don’t have diminish in necessity.
Next, I realized I’d lost my contentment because the tax guy thought I should be doing better, not because I didn’t have what I needed. Many of us lose our contentment not because we aren’t doing well but because others are doing better, and the comparison kills our contentment. I chose not to relinquish my contentment and peace by comparing my situation to what Tax Guy projected as successful or enough.
Finally, I reframed the story in my mind and heart. I looked at what was going right or moderately well or mostly okay and dwelt on that. What you focus on grows! (I should have that tattooed on my forehead so I see it every time I look in the mirror.)
So what if I didn’t speak in arenas or make a million dollars? I get to proclaim the goodness of God at dozens of events annually, encouraging thousands to trust Jesus.
Being content doesn’t mean settling for less than God has for you. It doesn’t mean tolerating sin or abuse toward you. If change for the better is within your grasp, go for it! Contend for more! But if you’re where you’re supposed to be, doing what you’re supposed to do, be content where God has you.
What steals your contentment? What can you do today to get it back?
Verse for today: 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. —Philippines 4:12–13
Prayer: God, teach me the difference between contentment and complacency. Guard my heart against comparisons and remind me to be thankful. Show me when to settle in and when to contend at all cost. Guide me as only you can to your perfect peace. In Jesus’ name, amen.