The Art of Being Content
You can always think of something that’s not going how you want.
It could be something major, like a family member who’s sick. Or it could be something small, like the test that just bumped down your grade from an A to a B. But there’s always something. And amidst all these possible something’s, I feel like it’s very easy to forget to be content.
I had to learn contentment the hard way.
Where are you learning it right now?
I had to learn it with school stuff. Engineering was even harder than I predicted, and going from all A’s in High School to just the best I could do here was rough. That was just the beginning though. I had to learn it with “real-life” stuff, too. God asked me to do what I begged He wouldn’t—live the military life.
I had told God mentally a long time ago, “God don’t make me do that. I don’t want to do it.” Well as God usually does, He had very different plans for me. He introduced me to my fiancé, Jesse, freshman year. We started dating at the end of it.
But at the end of his senior year. . . he decided he wanted to go into the Marines.
I cried out to God.
What was I supposed to do? How was I supposed to be content?
And amid my crying out, that’s when I felt Him telling me. That was the point.
I alone could never be content with the military life. I alone could never learn to be content even over stupid small situations like a bad grade on a test I’d studied hard for. I alone could do nothing about my contentedness.
But God could.
How content we are, I learned, should never be based off our circumstances, even though that’s what we connect contentedness to the most.
How content we are should always derive from God.
Philippians 4:11–13 says: “11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
No matter what situation we’re in, we are told to be content. And that we can do all things through Christ.
Not through ourselves can we be content. Not through ourselves can we do anything.
It was still hard. I’m not saying it won’t be. But once I realized that submission to God and trust in Him is what God wanted of me, I cried out to Him. I told Him: “God, I cannot do this alone. If this is your will, you are going to have to give me peace and contentedness beyond anything I could ever manage to have on my own. Help me.”
And guess what happened the second I finished that prayer?
Peace. Content. Relief. Washing over me like a flood.
It’s been over a year since Jesse started pursuing the Marines. We prayed the whole way, even after my flood of peace, that God would open the doors continually if this was His will.
And all the doors just kept flying open.
Jesse is now a Marine officer. I never thought I’d be here, but God obviously had a very different plan.
It’s still hard sometimes, but I can honestly say I’m more content where I am now than I’ve ever been in my life.
The art of being content isn’t an art form that any of us know how to do.
So hand the canvas of your life over to Him. Before the painting is finished it may look weird, or not how you thought He would paint it, or even bad sometimes. But just trust Him. Be content with His work.
Because in the end, it will be more wonderful than anything you ever could have made on your own.12