I often hear people ask me questions that allude to the fact that I have a “perfect” life. People assume that because of His grace that they see evident in my life I must have always made the best of decisions. They judge what I’ll think of their food choices, parenting choices and home; they typically judge wrong. I can not count the people that tell me “their surprised.” Surprised to learn I’m not critical of others, surprised to learn that I’ve made HUGE mistakes, surprised to learn that I don’t have time nor the energy to judge others, surprised to learn that my toilets actually get dirty or that I have trash to take out to the curb! You may think I’m being dramatic but in all honesty I have been told these exact statements more than just a time or two. Which leads me to this subject…. contentment! Now, you may be asking what in the world contentment has to do with any of the above so let me share. (maybe you’ve already connected the dots. It took me much prayer and conversation with God to ever figure this one out.)
The world defines contentment as “happiness with one’s state.” This is not an accurate description of such a vital character as contentment! It gives us this idea that we have to be happy where we are so we look for other places to be where we think we might be happy. The Word tell us that Godliness with contentment is great gain. That word contentment used in this verse is actually the word “autarkeia” meaning competence and sufficiency. Contentment is an acceptance of His Sufficiency; it is a complete trust in His competence! Contentment is the character produced when we accept His unique purpose and plan for our lives as perfect! We don’t covet what He’s doing in others lives; we embrace what He’s doing in ours. We don’t make excuses to grow where He’s leading us because we willingly go with the knowledge that “we’ve been bought with a price.”
My life may appear “perfect” because I am perfectly content! I have truly learned like Paul how to be content no matter where He takes me. Remember dear friends, there was a time that I lived in a tent high in the Sierra’s. Don’t forget, I use to believe the best thing about camping was going home! At that time, my husband wanted to live his dream of being off the grid so he sold our beautiful home and gave me an outhouse, showers under the oak tree, cooking over fire and washing my clothes in a creek. The Lord has taught me so much through the years. He’s taught me to appreciate the small moments, to ignore the things that aren’t important and not neglect the things that are! He’s taught me to not be lazy and also taught me not to be so consumed with the work of the day that I didn’t first have time to fellowship with Him. He’s taught me to live each moment as if it was my last, because I never know when it will be! I like what Matthew Henry says, “Where there is great godliness we will also find great contentment.” As I grew closer to the Lord my contentment grew, without me even knowing it. Oh, I remember the days of surrendering. I remember the tears of letting go of all my dreams. I remember how He gently lead me, chastised me and forgave me. I an convinced that as we grow in our personal relationship with God our contentment increases. No longer do we live vicariously through others, no longer do we see others as having the “perfect” life. No longer do we make excuses why we can’t (don’t) bear fruit… instead we find ourselves living the “perfect” life. The life that lives freely, victoriously, PERFECTLY right where He has us!
So tell me, Who else choses to live the PERFECT life?
With much love,
Mrs. Joseph Wood