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Have you ever been on vacation and come home more worn out than when you left? I have. My wife and I have a little inside joke every time we go to Disney World. When we encounter that family that is coming apart at the seams, where the kids are screaming their head’s off with their little Mickey Mouse ears on and the parents look like they could spontaneously combust at any moment we say to each other, “Oh, the magic of Disney.” We’ve been there before so we feel justified laughing at ourselves and others that have fallen into the same trap. What is that? Often times it is our inability to be content with enjoying a few special moments together so we try to cram the 4 park, 30 mile, stroller-derby, ride-fest until we reach the point of exhaustion and want to throw up. Any why? Because we paid for it and we want to get the most for our money. And because it’s supposed to be fun and make us happy. Right? The truth is, we struggle with being content with less because we are afraid we’ll miss out on something or we’ll feel shamed for having not ‘maximized our potential’.
Susana Wesley was the mother of John and Charles Wesley, the founders of the Methodist Church and some of the greatest hymn writers and soul winners in history. She gave birth to 19 children total, raised them to know the Lord and home schooled all of them (boys and girls) teaching them the classics, Latin and Greek in a day where many women still couldn’t even read. She never preached a sermon but is called The Mother of Methodism. Her impact on the world is immense and yet she focused her time and effort at home with her children. Some would look at such an intelligent woman and say, “What a waste of talent. She could have done so much more.” However, she had learned the secret of being content with the opportunity she had in front of her and the place God had planted her. Could she have done more? Maybe. Did she make a significant impact on the world? Without a doubt. So how did she feel about her life and her contributions? Did she feel less than or that she had somehow missed her moment? Susana Wesley is quoted as saying, “I am content to fill a little space if God be glorified.” (Click Here to Read My Post ‘The Strength You Need To Be Content”)
Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places
Contentment is antithetical to pop culture and the Western mindset. When is the last time you watched a movie where the inspiring sports coach or war hero looked his team in the face and said, “Alright guys, let’s all just be thankful for how far we have come and call it good”? That doesn’t sell movie tickets or inspire the masses. No, ours is the culture of push forward, sweat it out, strive, conquer and win. We certainly must be able to work hard and move things forward if we are to accomplish anything in this life but are contentment and hard work mutually exclusive? Is being content just being lazy or is there something we are missing? Ironically, in a world searching for peace and happiness at every turn, we quickly forget that the definition of contentment is a state of happiness and satisfaction. So many people are not content with the job they have, the money they make, the person they’re married to or the house they live in, but everyone wants to be happy! (Click Here To Read “The Illusion of New and Exciting”)
The famous Greek Philosopher, Socrates, said “He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.” So, is it wrong to strive for greater things? Not at all. The key is to reach FROM a place of contentment, not TOWARD a place of contentment. If you cannot be content, live within your means and be at rest in your current situation then you won’t be able to in that thing you’re reaching for either. However, if you know you are loved by a Father who supplies all of your needs and is for you and not against you then you are able to reach for a better job, a nicer house or a more impactful story without searching for significance in those things. This is why it is so important that we recognize the power of God sending His Son, Jesus, to bear our burdens and save us from the death within us. He was raised to life so we too can be raised to true life, free from striving and endless searching for love, acceptance and approval. We receive all of contentment and peace IN HIM. (Click Here to Read My Post “Are You Driven By Gratitude?”)
So, is being content being lazy? It doesn’t have to be. Chances are, you will be much happier than those that are running aimlessly after more. We shouldn’t judge or criticize those in that rat race because we have all been there before. However, let us not fall back into the melee after having been given the peace and contentment that comes from the approval of a loving God. Thank Him for the job you have and the house you live in. At one point, you were begging God to get you into the situation you are currently in. Let us not too quickly forget. And as you reach for more, reach from a place of gratitude – you’ll have a better chance of landing in a place of gratitude as well. God is for you today and so am I.
From the Bible
For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:32-33 NIV
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. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:12-13 NIV
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5 NIV
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