That’s right, I’m writing about the C Word- Contentment. In America we are known for our lack of contentment. It’s all over our media. We are constantly bombarded by the “next big thing”. We are taught that if we just had that newest phone, or ate this food, or wore this thing then we would be happy. I do this in my own life. I’ll see pictures of my friends in another country doing something exciting and I’ll think to myself “why I am not there?”, even though I know I’m exactly where I need and want to be.
As I was thinking on this I came up with a reason why this seems to be such an easy trap for me to fall into: I’m a visionary. I am able to dream up ideas and creative ways that we can make a positive impact on the world around us. It’s easy for me to live in “planning mode”, where I dream up “what if’s” and things that I would like to do in the future. This isn’t a bad thing until it begins to impact my today. Oftentimes I get so caught up in the potential of the future that I become discontent with where I am now. That’s when I remember verses like Philippians 4:11 which says:
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”
In this passage, Paul was talking about being financially content, but I think that he also learned how to be content and present in the situation, no matter how bleak it appeared to be. Paul was one of the first missionaries, and missionaries are visionaries. They see the potential of a region or group of people and then work to make that happen. Paul travelled around the Mediterranean preaching and planting churches; God had given him a mandate and he was determined to see that happen. It must’ve been hard for him to stay content in prison when Barnabus and Peter were out free and able to minister to people. I imagine it would’ve been equally difficult when Paul had to work for a living, and some of the other apostles were more financially well off. Yet, despite all of these things he was content. He knew his place in life, he knew what “lane” he needed to run in and he faithfully stayed there. Paul had gained a perspective during his years of ministry, that I am now working to achieve.
I want to encourage you to look for something to enjoy in the season that you’re in. Pray and ask God to give you the ability to be present right now, and the self-control to not let that visionary part of you get out of control. Learn to be content because God is with you and will sustain you no matter what stage of life you’re in right now. Make it your personal mission to be able to look at your life one day and say, like Paul, “I have learned to be content.”