March 14, 2012

Three Secrets to Being Content


On Monday, I told you a story about contentment…one that involved an eyepatch.

Today, I want to talk more about being content.

Apostle Paul learned the “secret of being content” whether in need or want. Whether happy or sad. Whether starving or well fed.

Despite whatever circumstances he faced.

How can we also be content in our circumstances? Here are three ways I’ve discovered—and rediscovered—over the years.

Laughter
The ability to laugh in the midst of trial is a glorious thing. Seriously. Have you ever felt like crying, and the only other option was to laugh? Then you know this is truth I speak.

When you’ve got a physical ailment, nothing about it seems funny. But if you can joke about it and laugh at yourself, you’ll be that much closer to getting through it.

And when you’ve got an emotional trauma, ask God to give you some joy. Even if it’s just something silly that seems so insignificant, but that makes you giggle. In the midst of your trial, God will give you joy. And again, you’ll be that much closer to getting through it.

When life doesn’t go the way we want, it’s so easy to get caught up, to become frustrated and bitter. Instead, laugh in the devil’s face. Tell him he can’t have this day. He can’t steal what God’s given. Don’t let anything on this earth steal your joy.

Perspective
Another secret to being content is to remember that there is always someone worse off than you. That shouldn’t make you feel better; it should make you feel grateful. Yes, you may be going through the worst thing imaginable, but be grateful of what you still have (and I don’t say this to chide, but to remind…I need this reminder over and over again too!).

Remember that God gives, and in his infinite wisdom, he might take away. Some of that is to teach us and some is the consequence of living in this sinful world. Either way, try to see the glass half full. And if you just can’t, give of your time to a homeless shelter or some other place full of hurting people. Ask God to grant you perspective.

Trusting in His Strength
Finally, I believe the most powerful secret to being content is to secure a spot in God’s arms and hunker down right there…forever. Remember that it’s in Christ that we are strong. Remember that God protects and loves us fiercely. Remember that he is trustworthy.

And ultimately, remember that you can do ALL THINGS—even be content—through Him who gives you strength.

Your Turn: What secrets have you found to being content?

*Photo by Evgeni Dinev

24 comments:

  1. It always, always comes down to trust, doesn't it! I love how just when I think I've learned to truly trust God, really, totally hand over the reins, He shows me another area where I've held on too tight...been a little too close-fisted...tried to control things myself. But I know I'll never be content when I'm the one attempting to call all the shots.

    I love how you included laughter, too. Laughter is so healthy...and so fun. I know there are dark times when we just can't dredge up a sense of humor and that's all right. But I'm guessing a pretty good indicator of healing and hope is when we're able to start laughing again...

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    1. Yes, it's interesting how God reminds us control freaks over and over again that He's got this one, isn't it? :P

      And yes, laughter truly is some of the best medicine.

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  2. These sure are the biggies. I'm always surprised how triggering a laugh during a stressful moment can turn the whole thing on its head.
    ~ Wendy

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    1. Yes, totally, Wendy! I'll bet you have a lot of laughter in your life. You just seem so joy-filled. :)

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  3. Another vote for laughter. I was just telling a friend of mine yesterday how thankful I am that God has given me much laughter in my household, even during some rough parenting moments with my teenager. Lovely & well thought-out post, Lindsay!

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    1. I know my marriage wouldn't be what it is without laughter. My husband and I love to laugh together. I'm sure there are lots of laughter moments ahead once we have kids too!

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  4. For me, thankfulness. Knowing what I DO have, etc, makes other things not seem so big and I'm able to be content. Great tips, Lindsay!

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    1. Yes, yes, and yes, Jessica. Completely and totally agree with you. I am so blessed, and yet so often, I don't appreciate what I have.

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  5. This is a fabulous post and so encouraging, Linds!
    Daily Worship. When I spend intimate time with God, I find I'm more content than any other. I want less of "things", less of me...

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    1. Thanks, Jess! And yeah, worship with the King...it's pretty amazing what that will do to your heart, isn't it?

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  6. What a great reminder. Thanks Lindsay. I also appreciate the comments and I think Melissa had a good point about Trust. When I am feeling overwhelmed and like God has forgotten about me in my troubles - I don't want to laugh or think of other people. Even though I know those things help.
    It is when I get alone with God and He reminds my soul that He is in control and all things will work out for my good because He loves me that I rest (AND TRUST) in Him. Then I can laugh and serve.
    Blessings to you Lindsay! Thanks.

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    1. I totally get this, Jodi. Sometimes, laughter doesn't help. Sometimes, we need to cry over our troubles. And that's OK too. But ultimately, we need to remember whose arms we are in, and who holds our future. Thanks for your comment. :)

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  7. I just mentioned this in our staff meeting the other day! For me, serving the Lord helps me get over my circumstances.

    I advised our teen girls at church to take a look at all the silver haired ladies in our congregation. These are the ladies who have endured much, yet they serve the Lord. I told them to maybe ask some of these ladies about their life story...I am sure they will gain much wisdom from these ladies!

    Serving the Lord in any capacity helps me stay content with what I have.

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    1. Oh, love this one, Ruth! Serving others really does give us a different perspective on our own lives, doesn't it?

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  8. "This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalms 118:24

    Good days and bad days- God makes them both!

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    1. Love that verse, TC. God allows bad days, but in those times, he's still there, holding our hand. Isn't that amazing?

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  9. Thankfulness, here, too! You know the Pollyanna "Glad Game"? Yeah. That, and fleeing to scripture for a good dose of truth and comfort.

    Thanks for the wonderful post!

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    1. Great ideas, Amanda! Thanks so much for visiting. :)

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  10. Perspective is a HUGE one for me, and one for me to teach my daughter as well. I can't tell you how many times I've had to remind her (and myself) to "look at the doughnut and not the hole!"

    Great post!

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    1. The doughnut, not the hole! Love it! Thanks so much for stopping by, Melissa.

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  11. Laughter is a great one. Nothing beats the cry-laugh. :)

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    1. Yes, you've totally named it! The cry-laugh. Yep.

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  12. Two things have helped me become more content. One is focusing on what I have rather than on what I don't. The other is letting go of expectations. Instead I do my best to let the Lord lead. When I succeed, I'm happier and far more content than when I'm trying to run the show.

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    1. I love what you said about expectations. So wise!

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