What comes to mind when you hear the word contentment? Does it bring about thoughts of complacency, an easy-going personality, or a smile that says, "I am fine?"
If that is your view of contentment, keep reading.
According to the Miriam Webster's dictionary, contentment means "happiness with one's situation in life or having satisfied a need or desire." In the context of Scripture, contentment means being "full."
God created each one of us with a desire to be satisfied and happy with life; to be full. Let's call this desire in us a "God hole." God made this hole in each of us to be satisfied by Him alone.
What would you do with a hole in your yard? You would view it as a problem to be fixed and filled. We often use the same approach with holes in our lives.
At times, we view this God shaped hole as something to be fixed and filled. Rather than ask God to fill it, we often experiment with other "fillers." We fill this space with food, control, work, busyness, or relationships. We hope that if we fill this hole with enough "stuff" that eventually we will be satisfied, happy and filled up. When we fill our God hole with these substitutes, we often feel depressed, anxious, lonely, or angry. Filling this hole with anything other than God will always result in discontentment because our need for God is unsatisfied.
But what if we filled that hole with God? Sit with that thought for a moment and consider what that would feel like. The deepest yearning in your heart, that hole inside of you is now being filled with God. God designed you to long and yearn for Him. He desperately wants to occupy this space in your life. When He resides there, the overflow in your life will be peace and joy. Filling this hole with God will always result in contentment because our need for God is satisfied.
Contentment is saying that you TRUST God has the power to meet every single one of your needs. Contentment is saying that you have FAITH that you are in God's hands, even when you can't see or feel Him.
It's when we trust in God, through faith, that we can embrace the blessings and the brokenness in our lives.
From the beginning of time, God blessed man with an identity in Him. Genesis 1:27 states, "God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them." We can go further and know that what God made was good. He says in Genesis 1:31 that "God saw all that he made and it was very good." God liked what He saw and He was pleased.
God says that we are made like Him in His image. We are not like Him in physical body because God is not a body, but a spirit. If we are not like him in body, then we are like him in character. From Scripture we know that God's character is beautiful, merciful, patient, kind, holy, and peaceful. If that is God's character, ours is too.
God also cares about our physical bodies. In Psalm 139:13-14 it says, "You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."
When God knits every detail of our being together, He revels at the work of His hands. Every detail of you is a planned, deliberate action. There is nothing about you that is a mistake. When God was done forming you in your mother's womb, He viewed you as a beautiful masterpiece. You are very good.
The physical bodies, feelings, and attitudes we have been given are special blessings from God. Think of 5 ways that you are thankful for the unique way that God created you!
Along with the blessings in our lives, we experience brokenness. In John 16:33 we are told, "in this world you will have trouble." We all experience trouble and brokenness. Yet, even in brokenness we can embrace contentment.
Listen to the words of this Casting Crowns song called Praise You In This Storm…
In what ways are you thankful for the brokenness in your life?
What are the blessings?
How can you see God's hand at work in the midst of your storms?
Prayer is meant to be our posture towards life, whether we are experiencing blessing or brokenness.
What is your response to the word, prayer? How do you feel about prayer? Is it easy, hard or scary for you? Why? Do you feel comfortable being honest with God? Do you tell friends and family what you're feeling, but not God? Why or why not?
In class, we watched a Nooma video by Rob Bell entitled, Open. In the video, we explored these very questions.
This is what Rob Bell has to say about prayer…
God's desire is that the divine energy that made the world would flow between us and in the process darwa us closer together. Prayer is tapping into the same energy that formed the universe. That's why people say that they can feel prayer. It's because we can. Praying connects us to the people and things we're praying for. Prayer enlarges our perspective. Praying gives us a bigger heart. Praying makes us feel things. Praying changes things but prayer changes us. May your whole life be a prayer. And may you be honest with God as you become more and more open to your role in the ongoing creation of the world.
DO YOU NEED HELP PRAYING?
Do you find yourself asking questions like, "Why should I pray?" or "How should I pray?"
Here are some answers to those questions…
Why pray? Read these 4 Purposes of Prayer
How do I pray? There are many different ways to pray. But if you need some guidance to get started, try following the ACTS model of prayer. The ACTS model is explained here – ACTS Prayer Guide. As you feel comfortable with the aspects of adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication, begin journaling your prayers with this Prayer journal. Journaling your thoughts and prayers to God can help keep you focused during your prayer time and will allow you to see God's work in your life.
How can I hear from God? In our every day lives, we hear many voices. God does not very often choose to yell or scream at us. Instead he typically speaks through a gentle, quiet whisper to our soul. If you want to know what God's voice sounds like, download this page – God's Gentle Voice
How can I hear from God in Scripture? Meditation is a wonderful way to soak in God's truth for your life. The purpose of meditation is to know God more and to invite Him to transform your life. If you have never meditated before, read Savoring God's Word by Jan Johnson. If you need assistance meditating, try using this Meditation Guide
PRACTICAL STEPS TO EMBRACE CONTENTMENT