Erin E. McEndree
Three Ways to Master Contentment
As moms we can find so much to fret about. We feel like we have the weight of many responsibilities on our shoulders. We wear so many hats. Some we place on ourselves. Some are placed there by others forcefully because we cannot say no. Some we take on because we think no one else will do it.
Let’s look at a verse that is misquoted and misunderstood often!
Philippians 4:12-13 “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. 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.” Doesn’t that sound good? But attainable?
This verse is about being content in all things. It is about God giving you strength to be content during these troubling times: masks, government overreacting, riots, no contact with elderly in homes or family, schools online, church online or not at all, a mountain of laundry, 17 socks in the living room that no one picks up, crusty dishes and so on!
This verse does NOT mean you can do all things. You cannot dunk a ball if you are 5’’ 2’ if you just practice hard enough. (I’ve tried. Everyone does not have the gift of aerospace engineering like my niece. Everyone cannot speak to a group with ease.
Some people have the gift of writing. Some have the gift of accounting. some have the gift of listening. Some have the gift of teaching. I wish I had more of the gift of technology and organization.
So, applying the verse by looking at its context, with God‘s strength, we can ALL master being content in our life. This is one gift he gave everyone. But, do you tap into it? Do you find contentment or do you marinate in your worry, What Ifs and struggles?
I want you to tap into strategies I have found to be content.
It doesn’t mean everything is fair. It doesn’t mean I get everything I want. It doesn’t mean that justice is served. It doesn’t mean the world is perfect. But I have found how to be content in this turbulent, unpredictable time we live in.
You may not have all gifts, but I will teach you what you already have that can bring you contentment! We have so many choices. I read we make 35,000 decisions and choices a day.
There is ONE big choice you can apply in every situation that lessens stress, anxiety and frustration: GRACE!
Put these strategies into practice to find contentment.
Serve Others with Grace
Philippians 4:18 “I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.”
Serving others can look like so many things. This is a response I made to someone about masks.
“I wear it for the 86 year old (and many other elderly) at church because if I (we) didn’t, she and others would not come. I refuse to be the reason someone does not come to church, whether the mask works or not. Same with the grocery store. There are so many elderly. Way back, before all the hub bub, I came around the corner without a mask, and met an elderly lady with a mask. She backed up so fast and hit a shelf and knocked all the almonds tothe ground. Again, I don’t want to be the reason someone gets hurt or knocks over a display because of their fear. Romans 14 says the strong should not treat the weak with contempt or put a stumbling block in their way. 15:2 we should please our neighbor for their good.
The world is messed up but I will do my part to bring peace to someone who has weaker faith or weaker immune system and wear a mask if I must. Has nothing to do with the government, it has to do with my heart.”
Contentment comes while serving others. There is no struggle in my decision. The opposite must justify with worldly reasons and it battles in their mind. To serve others is not a battle; it is grace in action.
Philippians 2:3-4 “Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
2. WORDS full of grace bring contentment!
1 Timothy 6:6, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”
Right above that are the characteristics to NOT be content.
1 Timothy 6:4-5
“they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.”
Wow! I see these characteristics on social media and news all the time. Almost all have to do with our words. I purposely follow very positive people, watch positive shows (no news) and listen to good music. Do you need tounfriend some people for your contentment to grow? I’m not talking about being uninformed. I am very aware of issues and agendas, but I get that in about 15 minutes a day; not 4 hours of negativity a day.
Do you engage in quarrels? Evil suspicious? Constant friction?
Do these offer contentment? Put no stock in controversy, believe God. Remember, Revelation predicts all this so why be shocked, worried or dismayed?
Words are subjective depending on the user; don’t quarrel. Don’t give anyone a reason to talk maliciously about you.
Colossians 4:6 “Let your conversation be always full of GRACE, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (caps mine)
3. Loose yourself! Be last!
Denying yourself is one of the hardest things to do that brings the most contentment.... with the right heart attitude.
Luke 9:23-25 “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?””
Matthew 20:16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
That also means: LET IT GO! (Jesus did that for me!)
Here lately I have been giving GRACE out loud.
I say, “Give him GRACE!” When I pick up socks out of the living room. Or wash his dry, crusty bowl I reminded him to wash while wet so I don’t have to soak it.
I give GRACE when she forgets to do the cat litter. Or fur balls as big as cats form because she hasn’t swept.
I give him GRACE when he falls asleep every night in his recliner and I go to bed lonely.
I could list 100 more examples.
They have no idea how much I give GRACE around. I don’t want to be the women in Proverbs 21:9.
Proverbs 21:9 “It is better to live on a corner of the roof than to share the house with a nagging wife.”
I really don’t want my family to remember me always nagging, griping and complaining. I know they see that from me already and it saddens me to think that is all they see mom saying.
I wish we were all a team and did our part to help one another out to bear some of the load esp. now that I work,too (and do the shopping, the cooking, cleaning, laundry, bills, make appointments.. but I digress). You see, we all have our responsibilities. Yes, we all have our tasks. Yes, we all have a plan of action around here. Yes, I still remind them. And yes, is mostly does not work.
But, so does Jesus wish his children listened, too. But He gives GRACE when we mess up and I want to have the same heart as Jesus. Jesus took on the whole load! Then he sat at the right hand of God, CONTENT that he made a way to save his co-heirs from their foolishness.
Try giving grace today and everyday. It just might be the key to contentment you have been looking for.
One last thing: Apply! Apply! Apply!