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Finding Contentment

One of the dangers of social media is that it can create internal discontentment. What I mean by that is you can spend time looking at what other people are doing, eating or where they’re going and think your life is boring by comparison. You can look at the happy pictures they post and think that they’re always happy and never have trouble. The problem is what people are putting on social media is the life they want to show you. It’s not their whole life. What we end up doing is comparing our whole life to these snippets of their life and that creates discontentment in us and in who God made us to be.

God created you and uses life to sheep you more and more into a person who can have a greater impact on others. When we remove the lens of social media, and look at our life through God’s lens, we can see He has given us a unique ability to reach people who can’t be reached by others. I don’t think social media is bad, but we can’t use it as the lens through which we view our lives. We have to be content with how God created us, the personality He’s given us and where He’s placed us. That kind of contentment is truly trusting in His plan for you, and when we trust Him that much anything is possible.

Here are some Bible verses on being content.

1. You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

Matthew 5:5 MSG

2. I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10 GNT

3. Don’t be obsessed with money but live content with what you have, for you always have God’s presence. For hasn’t he promised you, “I will never leave you alone, never! And I will not loosen my grip on your life!”

Hebrews 13:5 TPT

4. Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.

Philippians 4:11 NLT

5. But godliness actually is a source of great gain when accompanied by contentment [that contentment which comes from a sense of inner confidence based on the sufficiency of God].

1 TIMOTHY 6:6 AMP

Photo by Oleg Sergeichik on Unsplash

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Finding Inner Peace


Have you ever noticed that there are some people who are never happy, no matter what? For whatever reason, something inside of them is keeping them from finding peace and happiness. To me, that’s gotta be a rough way to live. While I was on a mission trip, I saw a kid with a stick and a make shift wheel made out of trash. He was pushing that stick everywhere while he was running. He was grinning ear to ear having a good time. I thought, “I want to be like him. Happy and content with whatever I have, wherever I am.”

I think finding contentment is a big key to life. Whatever situation you’re in, whatever cards you’ve been dealt in life, find your way to contentment. If you’re not happy now, you’re not going to be happy when you’re out of it. They say money can’t buy happiness (contentment) because your inner peace is not dependent on outer things. Through Christ, accept where you are and what you’re going through right now, look for the lesson to learn, and find contentment (inner peace). That’s the secret to a happy life. 

Here are some verses in the Bible on being content. 

1. I know what it is to be in need and what it is to have more than enough. I have learned this secret, so that anywhere, at any time, I am content, whether I am full or hungry, whether I have too much or too little. I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.
Philippians 4:12-13 GNT

2. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5 ESV

3. You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
Matthew 5:5 MSG

4. Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.
1 Timothy 6:6 NLT

5. I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:10 GNT

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Finding Contentment 


Earlier this year, I took an assessment for work. It was designed to show me the reluctances I have at doing part of my job. As we went through the class where they explain the different reluctances, I could see myself in some of them. Then they gave us our results. One of the ones I scored highest in was the Hyper Professional category. It said I have a tendency to want to always look the part – which is true because for years I wore my tie until it was time for bed.

As I began to think about that particular score, I wondered why was I a Hyper Professional. I asked myself hard questions and traced it back to my childhood. I wanted to fit in with the other kids, but my parents lacked the funds to afford the name brand clothes. In my mind, I thought that if I dressed a certain way, wore certain shoes, and did things a certain way, I would gain acceptance. This line of thinking became who I was all the way into my adult life which dictated where I lived, what I drove, and I presented myself.

This test revealed to me that I wasn’t content with who I was and that I was compensating for it in how I presented myself. It was a real eye opener. I realized that I needed to be content with who I am, and that I didn’t need those things to gain acceptance. Once I had that aha moment, I began to let go of desires to have certain things that I thought I needed. I began to see how pervasive this line of thinking had become in my life, and it brought me to the where I realize that I need to be content with who God made me to be. I don’t need the material things to enhance that. 

I tell you this because so many of us struggle with feelings that tell us we are not enough which then compel us to compensate in other ways. In Matthew 5, Jesus gave us the Beatitudes which are declarations of blessings to us. In verse 5, He said, “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought” (MSG). When you and I come to that moment of contentment with who we are by God’s design, we’ll find the happiness and acceptance we’ve been looking for. It’s not found in shoes, cars, watches, or clothes; it’s found in understanding you were designed to be you on purpose and for a purpose.

What ways have you been compensating to find acceptance and happiness? How can you release them in order to find contentment with who you are?

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The Joy Of Contentment 

  
When I travel to New Orleans, there’s a certain homeless person I like to say hello to. He always makes me smile and he never asks me for anything. He’ll say, “It ain’t gonna cost you nothing to come say hello. I ain’t gonna rob you!” I then walk over and say hello and he puts a smile on my face. Except on a recent trip he called me over and said, “You know I never ask for nothing, but could you go in there and buy me an orange juice and sandwich? I’m about to curl up on my cardboard and I’m hungry.”

When I handed him his dinner, he hugged me and thanked me. He then asked, “You know what I’d change about the world?” My mind began to think of any number of answers. No more homelessness. No more hunger. No more devaluing people. No more selfishness. But before I could decide on an answer, he grabbed my shoulder, looked up at the sky, smiled a big toothless grin, and said, “Absolutely nothing!” He laughed, thanked me again and walked away.

I thought about his answer as I walked back to my hotel. Here’s a man, for whatever reason, is sleeping on a cardboard mat on the streets on downtown New Orleans and is exposed to the elements constantly, and he wouldn’t change a thing. Even though he has absolutely nothing to his name, he has found a way to be content. He’s learned to choose joy instead of bitterness over his situation. It’s a lesson we all could learn.

Paul learned that secret and told us about it in Philippians 4:12. He said, “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little” (NLT). That secret is choosing the joy of contentment with where God has you. That joy gives us the strength to endure whatever comes our way. It takes us from being a victim of life to a victor over our situation. Don’t try to change your world. Change your attitude. The next verse tells us we can. “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

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A Tale Of Two Orphans

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One of the best things about going to the orphanages is when you first arrive. As we get out of the trucks, the kids come running up to us. They’re grinning from ear to ear and looking into each face. When they find you, they throw their arms up in order to be picked up and loved on. When you get them in your arms, they wrap their arms around you, lay their head down on you and smile in contentment. As you wrap your arms around them and hug them, that same contentment comes over you. There is completeness in that moment.

On my last trip, I couldn’t help but notice one little boy who didn’t run up to anyone. As I approached him, he took off running with a frightened look in his eye. I squatted down where I was and held my arms open. I motioned for him to come to me. The more I did, the further he got. When any of us got close to him, he began to cry. He was scared and didn’t know how to trust yet. No matter what we tried, he still ran and cried. I wish I could say that by the end of the trip, he was running up to us and hugging us. I wish I could say it got better, but it didn’t. He still ran when we came near.

As I watched the two types of relationships unfold over the week, I saw our relationship with God. So many times in life we face rejection by those we love, a devastating loss or an unexpected life change that takes us out of where we were comfortable. In those moments, God comes near looking to show us love and comfort. Many times we are like those orphans who run to Him with our hands up. We just want to be held and loved on. We want to find contentment when our world has been shattered. God gets that same contentment as He holds us. The same contentment as a father holding his child.

There are sometimes though when we run from God. We’re scared of what coming next. We don’t feel like we can trust Him after all we’ve been through. When He reaches out for us, we run. When He comes near to make things better, we reject His help. We think we’re better off alone. It’ll make us stronger if we do. We won’t have to depend on anyone. We think, “If I can just make it through this, I’ll be all right.” We try to do it in our own strength and in our own way. God patiently waits when we do. He knows that once you let go of the fear and embrace Him, you’ll see that it’s going to be all right.

We each fall into one of these two scenarios. Either we are the type that embraces God when He comes near or we are the type who runs from Him. Where do you see yourself? Are you resting in His embrace with your head on His shoulder? Are you smiling with contentment in any situation because you know He’s there to protect you and help you? Or are you afraid to trust Him? Are you running from His open arms? It’s time to realize you can’t fight every battle on your own. You can’t go through life without trusting. Stop running away and run into His arms. You’ll find the peace and contentment you’re looking for.

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