Something I've been learning recently is how to be fully content where I am, as I am. It's something I struggle with because I'm a constant dreamer. I'm always dreaming of the future...what could be...what I want to do next...where life will take me and what life will be like when I reach (insert the blank). But the problem with that, while dreaming is good, is that I struggle with enjoying the present. As I began to realize this issue I had, I realized it all had to do with fulfillment and contentment. I wasn't allowing myself to be fully content in God or fully fulfilled by God. I was looking for something to do that for me and those things were short lived. I thought if I could live in a certain city or had a boyfriend or had a certain job then I would be completely happy and fulfilled. You name it. We've all been there at some point probably.
I knew I should want to be fully satisfied by God and I prayed that I would be, but I didn't understand how to be fulfilled that way. As I was studying and searching for the answer to this in my life, I came across the verse in Philippians where Paul talks about contentment. In Philippians 4:11-12 Paul says, "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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." This is the precursor verse to one of the most well known bible verses Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Realizing the context around this verse, I began to understand the secret to becoming fully content.
In order to be fully content, we have to take a daily challenge to correct our thinking and focus on God. If you study through Philippians 4:4-13 you will begin to see all the steps to contentment which leads to being strengthened by God. Here are a few of the nuggets I pulled out of these verses as steps to contentment:
- Rejoice- Philippians 4:4, When we rejoice in God, we see the blessings we have
- Trust and Don't be anxious- Philippians 4:5-6, When we trust God's plan and stop worrying we can focus better
- Pray- Philippians 4:6-7, We need to pray about everything
- Thought Control- Philippians 4:8, We have to train ourselves to think on the good things listed here
- Practice- Philippians 4:9, After we have learned all these steps we must practice them daily.
By doing all of these things, we will begin to learn contentment no matter our situation. We will also prepare our hearts for God to move in us and give us the strength mentioned in Philippians 4:13. We can be content, fulfilled, positive, you name it because when we are focused on God he gives the strength we need to withstand all things. When you are feeling discontent remember to come back to this chapter in Philippians and follow it's instruction to rejoice, thank, think positive, practice it, and trust God to give you the strength to make it through. When we are living in contentment, we can see how God is using us in our current moment to fulfill His plan for our lives.
Father God, thank you for always leading us to you when our minds are moving fast. Thank you for showing us how to focus back on you. I pray that you would help me to be content in all things and be fully satisfied and fulfilled by you. Help me, Lord, to think on only good things and to control my thoughts. I rejoice in you and I'm thankful for all you have given me and how you always provide. Thank you God for today and help me to be present in the here and now. Amen.