Hello. Are you happy?
This next Blog Roll topic finally, is Contentment. “To be, or not to be” – content? Hamlet posed a question of life. In this Blog Roll topic, we pose a question of a highly desired aim in life – to be content.
Paul told the Philippians that he’d learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Phil 4:11-13)
Not quite sure how to expand on this beyond what Paul says there so simply, I decided to have fun with this, and break down the word.
Humans are never always content. We were made to be content, but we aren’t anymore. Jesus’s death & resurrection has saved us from, among other things, despair at the twisted version of life that we know now, but all the reparation attempts the world makes, without drawing on the Truth from the scriptures, can only ever be a Con. And so promises of contentment all around us are simply that – Cons.
What do you say when someone asks “how are you?” “Good,” as you know, is so often used to hide a more real, often non-good state. We’re so often not good. We’re so often discontent. But for what ever reason, we’ve built our Tent around ourselves, and we’re hiding. All of us sometimes just reach a place where all we want to do is be alone, sick of the state of the world, people, ourselves. Or, we pick up the Tent and carry it out with us into the world, speaking and interacting from inside it (it sounds awkward – but there you go!) Some people hide by withdrawing – some people hide by immersing. Sometimes a part of us doesn’t want people to know when we’re discontent – sometimes it’s just that we don’t want to face that we’re discontent.
I know this isn’t the same spelling, but I do believe we were Ment to be content, if we’ve been saved by Jesus. I don’t mean to make this a point to feel guilty on, at all – we’ll all have times when we aren’t content; none of us are Super Christians!
I can think of times in my life when I’ve been content. Things weren’t perfect (they never are) but I was at peace anyway. I can say that I “knew the secret of being content in any and every situation”. And this was not so long ago. More recently, being in a season where nothing was quite right, enough or satisfying, I wouldn’t have said I was content. When someone asked how I was, I could never honestly say “good”, because I wasn’t. (I’d sometimes say “fine” or “okay” instead, which to me meant something less than good.) I had to choose to keep my spirits up, trusting that God knew what He was doing and that the season wouldn’t last forever. And God was good to me during that time – things weren’t fixed with my life, but whenever I came to Him in tears or questions or just wanting to be near Him, I could still know that He was God, and that could, if I let it, be enough. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7), Do not let me be put to shame, or let my enemies triumph over me (Psalm 25) – I drank of verses like these thirstily, and there was a measure of peace in that season too.
But we are Ment, I still assert, to know contentment. No one can deny the broken, very broken state of the world, and I’m definitely not saying we should choose apathy or blindness and call it contentment! But a life lived in awareness of and submission to the Prince of Peace can be one where our hearts are still, and our lives still abundant, whatever that may look like for us.
Learn this secret. It will sustain you.