March 10, 2014

cultivating contentment

The very first thought that I had when I woke up on Saturday was this: Where is my life going? I thought that I would be married or at least in a relationship at age 28 . . . is my life measured by my circumstances and stage of life? Does this mean I've missed the boat or I'm a failure in some sense?

And boom. There is was. Discontentment, anxiety, comparing myself to my peers, trying to measure my life in perceived success/failure, trying to fulfill the timeline or milestones that I dreamed up in my head.

I had to remind myself to look beyond my circumstances, to trust God one day at a time, to go back to His promises. But how easily I forget these things. I feel like life is a constant struggle and fight for contentment.

I know I have posted about this before, but I need reminding of it more often than I'd like to admit.

Beau Hughes preached this sermon on learning contentment a few years ago and I have to go back to it at least once a year.

There were a few quotes that really stood out to me and so I thought I'd throw them on here :)

“Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.”
- Jeremiah Burroughs

 “Contentment is the direct fruit of having no higher ambition than to belong to the Lord at His disposal.” So when we use the word “contentment,” that’s what we mean. One who is content in a gospel-centered way is one who has no higher ambition than to be at the Lord’s disposal. It is one who says, “The aim of my life is for God to do with me whatever He wills. Because He is my Father and I trust Him." - Beau Hughes

“These words show us that contentment 
is not a natural propensity of man. ‘Ill weeds grow apace.’ Covetousness, discontent, and murmuring are as natural to man as thorns are to the soil. We need not sow thistles and brambles; they come up naturally enough, because they
 are indigenous to earth: and so, we need not teach men to complain; they complain fast enough without any education. But the precious things of the earth must be cultivated. If we would have wheat, we must plough and sow; if we want flowers, there must be the garden, and all the gardener’s care. Now, contentment is one of the flowers of heaven, and if we would have it, it must be cultivated; it will not grow in us by nature; it is the new nature alone that can produce it, and even then we must be specially careful and watchful that we maintain and cultivate the grace which God has sown in us.”- Charles Spurgeon 

I also remember J.D. saying, "The biggest thing God is teaching you is to trust Him, so faith usually leads you through difficulty, not around it."

It's comforting to know that contentment is a process. We're not going to master it overnight, and it's normal to struggle with this. I think it's a daily choice, and like Spurgeon says, we must cultivate it.

What does it look like to nurture contentment in our own lives? What disciplines, activities, people, environments help you to grow contentment?

I attended a women's conference where Elyse Fitzpatrick was speaking on contentment. She said that it doesn't matter what season of life you're in, there is always something you feel that you need in order to be happy. I was really tempted not to believe this . . . because, how often do I think that if I was married and had kids, then I would feel like my life was going somewhere?

But her words were really refreshing (once I accepted them) . . . and it was a such a good reminder. That our peace is really found in Christ, not a certain set of circumstances. It frees me from thinking that I need those things in order to be happy or have a meaningful life.


  1. Replies
    1. thank YOU for reading (and commenting!) :)

  2. And even if you had a husband and a'd just have trials over your man's idiosyncracies and the child's tribulations.I am 100% certain that everything that happens,happens right on time for you. *hugs*~Amelia


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