Monday, January 5, 2015

Choosing an attitude of Contentment

Sunday was a blowy day here in the Upper Peninsula with a cold, brutal wind doing all it could to rip away warmth.  The wind was so strong it even blew in under our TWO front doors!  Earlier that morning, there was a small pile of cold white stuff on the floor in front of the inside door when I went to get a coat to wear to church.

But, I said to myself, how nice it is, in spite of it all, to feel safe and content.  After all, I have warm coats, a warm car, a warm house, etc.....why wouldn't I be content?  Well, I have given this word some thought today and am beginning to see areas of my life where I, perhaps, have fooled myself a bit.  Am I truly content with God's overflowing provision in my life?

I looked up the word, "content", on my iPhone (don't you love the information we have right at our fingertips?!) and it said, "in a state of peaceful happiness, satisfied, pleased, gratified, fulfilled, happy, cheerful, unworried, untroubled, tranquil, serene....(I think you get the picture.)

Does that describe me today?  Well, maybe not.  If not, why not?  I do have all those wonderful blessings described above...and much more.  Why would I not be experiencing total contentment?

I believe the answer to that question hinges not on the things I own or the circumstances of my day to day life, but on my attitude; what is going on in my heart?  Is there something I focus on with a negative spirit that I allow to steal my contentment?  Paul says in the book of Philippians, "Not that I am speaking of being in need for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content." (Italics are mine for emphasis.) And he, Paul, was a man that suffered so much!

In Lysa Terkeurst's book, the Best Yes, she says, "Refusing to release often means refusing to have peace.  I trade my peace for a weight of regret.  And it's a bad trade."  The word "release" is an interesting word.  What do I need to release to have peace?  To have contentment and joy? etc.  It's not always "what do I need to DO" but what bad habit, thought or attitude needs to leave my mind and my heart?  I envision one of those balloons filled with helium and all I have to do to see it vanish is let go of the string tied to it.  Release.  Let go.  Open up my fingers.  This week my personal challenge is to release and let go of anything standing in the way of embracing the contentment God desires for me.

What about you?

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