This helped me realize the path to true contentment.
I looked at my children as we sat enjoying some under-ripe watermelon and I considered people who have lost their children. I thought of how it would be to never hold my dear babies again, to never kiss their sweet faces and see their smile, or to never hear them randomly say “I love you” again. My heart ached for those people who have lost their loved ones.
Then suddenly it dawned on me. All my life, from the time I was a little girl, all I ever wanted was to get married to an amazing Christian man and have amazing children. I prayed and prayed about my man. I obsessively talked to God often – perhaps a little too much — about what I wanted in a husband. I am sure had God been human He would have complained long ago that I rambled about the subject. I would talk of what I needed in a father for my sweet children. I would talk to God about my desires for spending time with my children. But it suddenly hit me. I thought to myself, “Maggie you are here. You have arrived!”
If all I ever wanted was to have these two things I hold dear and now I have them, why am I not the happiest woman in the world? I fulfilled my life-long dream at the age of twenty-one; few people experience such a feat! Was it because my desires changed? Was it because I was not as prepared for marriage or motherhood as I thought I was? Was it perhaps because my expectations of parenthood and marriage were vastly different than reality? All the above I am sure have affected my view of happiness.
Perhaps, however, it is something deeper? I think the issue is my belief that anything in this life could ever bring me complete satisfaction. I believed if I could get a husband, and get children than I would be happy. Then I would think “if only he would… x… I will be happy,” or “if only my kids would… x… I will be happy.” Then, of course, I would sometimes fall into the silly thinking many American’s struggle with, “If only I had this or that then I will be happy.”
These are all lies that Satan has helped perpetuate in our society. Happiness is fleeting but true joy is to be cherished. It is my experience and understanding that true Joy in the heart only comes from Heaven and the blessings God has given us and this joy is eternal.
Paul said in Phil. that he learned the “secret” to being content. Contentment is defined as: “pleased and/or satisfied; not needing more; free from care or discomfort.”
In Phillipians 4:12-13 Paul says, “12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret to begin content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”
(Philippians 4:13 is often quoted, but when paired with verse 12 and seen in context, it takes on more meaning and is, in my opinion, even more powerful.)
The secret to Paul’s contentment was a choice to believe firmly that he could do all things through Christ who gives him strength. It was a choice. Paul could have easily focused on the thorn in his side, vaguely mentioned a few times. He could have focused on the martyr he had become and his frequent prison stays for no true crime. He could have focused on the fact that Jesus stirred up passion in him and then was not physically present.
But I am certain what Paul focused on, from reading his letters, is though he had a thorn in his side, it reminded him of his humanity and the thorn was a blessing. (See 2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
Though he spent time in prison, they could never take away his salvation or stop him from believing with all his heart.
And I am certain he focused on the fact that even though Jesus was not physically present with him, HE WILL RETURN, and he believed Jesus left earth for Heaven.
You see, Paul truly knew the meaning of “bloom where you are planted” a quote I have chosen to embrace. Paul knew God was with Him in each situation he found himself in.
Today, I choose to “bloom where I am planted” and to embrace the fact that I have all I need to be who I need to be. I may “get” more “stuff,” and God may even bless me with more children or other meaningful events in life. However, NOW is all I can focus on. I can turn my “can’ts into cans and dreams into plans,” but in reality without God, it would be meaningless.
Though I am certain some might not agree, I have found in my life that even my marriage and my motherhood does not bring me inner peace and satisfaction without God being a part of it.
Having God intimately involved in my life brings me peace and true hope which lasts and becomes reality. I find myself giving it all to Him because, I believe, while I can do my best to affect my future, it is God who really has it all figured out.
May you be blessed today and always,
Maggie A. ‘Spoon
(I found this lost in my “blog ideas” folder. It was written on 5/22/2013. So much has changed for me since then, but this all still rings true. Though I edited it a bit and added a little on, this is pretty much what I wrote.)