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The Secret of Contentment

I was reading one of my favorite books in the Bible this week and had a few conversations with friends about life and work and well I just kept thinking about contentment.

Paul says in Philippians 4:12 “I have learned the secret of being content in every circumstance.” Isn’t that amazing! Just think about it. Any circumstance, whether you’re stuck in a job you hate, have had inadequate sleep, are dealing with emotional traumas, or are depressed or anxious, or bored, or whatever else you can think of. No matter what situation you find yourself in, Paul says there is a secret to being content in it.

Paul goes on to write, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” The secret isn’t spa treatment, or taking deep breaths, or being able to control what happens, it’s Jesus. He can give you His strength in whatever situation you are facing, and as you rely on Him, you find contentment.

I’ve seen this happen over and over in my life. And it’s something I have to be reminded of again and again. When I give my worries, fears, frustrations, concerns, hopes and dreams to Jesus, I find contentment and peace.

Even when the situation doesn’t end, or the problem doesn’t go away, it’s easier to face it with Jesus by my side. And that’s why it’s so important to spend time with Jesus every day. Without His help, my life quickly becomes all about me and what I want. And then I get frustrated and discontent when things don’t go my way.

But when I spend time with Jesus, I get to let go of all those things and trust Him with the circumstances I’m facing. Suddenly it doesn’t matter where I work. or how tired I am, or what I’m dealing with, because I know He is bigger than all those things and able to work in them.

But it’s hard to remember that if I don’t purposefully stop and spend time with Jesus. One of the students I work with shared recently about how he could see such a difference when he spent time with Jesus. It really does change your attitude and perspective.

Another man I spoke with who has been mentoring men in prison told me he tells all the guys he mentors if you have a quiet time (time alone with Jesus to read and pray and be with Him) I guarantee you will never go to prison again. I think what he meant is all the frustrations and temptations and problems lose their power when Jesus is around. They might be too strong for us to handle, but they aren’t too strong for Jesus and He gives us His strength.

So anyway, all that to say, I’ve been reminded this week of how important it is to be with Jesus and rest in His strength and find my contentment in Him. Circumstances may change, but He never will.

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A Lesson in Joy


Girl, Joy, Smiling, Happy, Children, Child

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I’ve been learning a lot about joy recently. Partly because it keeps coming up at church as we read through Philippians, but also because of what I’ve been going through lately. I tend to be a happy person, and look for the positive in each situation. But when circumstances get hard, I feel like I have a right to be angry, upset, hurt, sad, depressed, etc. In essence I can throw myself a little pity party and I want everyone to notice and try to make me feel better.

But that is not right. Even if a lot of other people do the same thing, and there is a time and place to mourn and cry and be sad. At the end of the day, it’s not about me, what I want, what I don’t have, my feelings, or anything related to me. It’s really all about God. His plan for my life is what matters, not my own. And I know if I let go of my self pity, and focus instead on what God is doing, I will have joy. It’s more of a choice than I realized at first. And it’s a hard one to make. There’s something in me, probably in my selfish will that wants attention, wants other’s love, wants to be noticed, but even when I finally do get that attention I crave, it doesn’t make anything better. I’m still stuck feeling sorry for myself. It’s only when I stop looking at me, that joy, life, and peace shine through.

Well it’s a lesson I’ve had to learn again and again, and I’m not done learning it. Each day I have to choose not to focus on me, and instead focus on Jesus. But I know it’s better. And I’d like to ask you to do the same thing with me today.

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