Monday, October 25, 2010

Contentment - Was it possible?

My first memories of being discontent are from my single days.  I don’t remember the specific issues, but I clearly remember thinking the marriage would solve my discontentment – wrong!  I brought my discontentment with me into our marriage.  Ugh!

Scriptures like I Timothy 6:6, “Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment” and Hebrews 13:5, “…and be content with what you have …” were a source of great frustration for me.  I wanted to experience the truth of those verses but it eluded me. 

The source of my discontentment was not things.  I was well cared for in that arena.  My brand of discontentment came from my frustration that I thought I was not as godly as some of my friends.  I didn’t get the opportunities others had.  I was seldom asked to speak.  I thought those public-type things were the key to significance, the sign that I had something to offer.  Because those were seldom my contributions, I was frustrated and discontent.  To make matters worse my discontentment came from comparing!  Now, I was feeling doubly bad.  I’m not only discontent, I’m also comparing.

But I had hope, I thought.  Thinking I knew the keys to growing as a believer, I memorized verses on contentment; I did Bible studies on contentment; I even prepared and presented devotionals on contentment.  But my discontentment continued.  All those good and right things didn’t touch my issue.  I was adding the good things to the top of my bad issues.  I was treating the symptoms and not the disease.  My hope was leaking.

The bottom fell out in the fall of 1997.  I was sitting in a large group meeting and another woman was on the platform.  I was mad!!! Why didn’t I have the opportunities she had?  I made a significant decision that night.  I GAVE UP!  My plan was from then on I would put on a happy-looking mask and pretend that all was ok; that I didn’t care.  In one way, it was the wrong decision. It was like taking the good desires God had created me to have and freezing them.  But it also was my first step in the right direction – although I didn’t realize it at the time.  By my giving up, I was admitting I could do NOTHING about this issue.

I lived with my mask for over 2 years.  I thought my happy mask was protecting me and fooling others.  Neither was happening and I continued to hurt. 

Because the mask didn’t allow me to see clearly, my hearing was sharpened.  I began to hear God’s voice. That was the beginning of my second significant step.

With the help of a godly counselor, I began to hear God’s personal message to me.  It spoke of how much God loved me and of the purpose He had for me.  As I meditated on those truths over the years, my contentment issue (or lack thereof) began to disappear!  One day I realized I hadn’t even thought about contentment in a long time.  Transformation was happening.  It felt so good.

“God not only loves you very much, He has His hand on you for something special … something happened IN you, your life is echoing The Masters words”.  
I Thessalonians 1, The Message.  

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