“Happiness is not a goal…it’s a by-product of a life well lived.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt
Last week, I mentioned my thought process as of late concerning resolutions. With the end of the year approaching, I wondered if I had accomplished nearly everything I had set out to do back in January. That can be frustrating because life gets busy, family members get sick, company comes and disrupts the ‘flow’ of every day living. There are resolutions that can be kept no matter what is going on. The first resolution was mentioned last week. God has a timing for everything and I will trust Him, not rush Him.
Resolution With God #1: I will not hurry through my journey.
This week’s resolution was about contentment, being satisfied with God’s provisions of grace daily, and not letting the restlessness and hurry of the world (even other Christians! yikes) manipulate me into thinking that what I have or who I am isn’t enough. Every thing God gives me is enough for the task at hand that He has for me. I want to look forward to each day with peace and ease knowing that God is aware of my needs and my need for Him. The Bible verse that caught my eye in the beginning of the week was 2 Corinthians 9:8, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”
‘All sufficiency in all things’…I love that.
Resolution With God #2: I will live satisfied with God’s provisions in the here and now.
In my ‘meditations’ and studies on this topic, I began thinking that maybe living life well is a key to contentment. A phrase in Philippians 4:12 grabbed my attention in light of being resolved to be content. “I know how to abound”. Wow. Paul learned to be content (and yes, it’s still a learning process to this day) in all situations, no matter what God allowed in his life. And he knew how to abound (thrive, advance, be alive!) by doing everything through Christ which gave him the strength and grace to live life well. Paul was a good steward with what he’d been given both in flourishing times and in times of need.
Another thought I had was that a lack of contentment is linked to a lack of confidence. I am getting better about not worrying over what I don’t have (in comparison to others) and being more confident that, really, what God gives today is enough and that it is good. Sure, it’s okay to dream about having more things when financially able, but contentment stems from being a good steward with what I already have–living life well. What the world says I need to possess or who I need to be doesn’t line up with what God measures out to me and who He made me to be. So the next time I start comparing and feeling discontent, I will remember that it’s not who I am that holds me back, it’s who I think I’m not. I read somewhere that discontentment with God is like poking Him in the eye. How’s that for a visual? Psalm 118:8, “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.”
Living satisfied with God’s provisions in the here and now is a spiritual lesson in faith. It is to be able to ultimately pray in all situations, “Thy will be done” (Matthew 6:10) –to be confident that He is all wise and does work all things out for our good and for His glory.
“I realized that the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end, but by His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able to honestly pray what He taught His disciples to pray: Thy will be done.” -Elisabeth Elliot
I may not understand where God has me right now. I may not grasp why God has allowed different things to happen in life. I may not know why God created me a certain way. But I do know that when I take my eyes off Him and look to self for answers, I lack wisdom.
James 1:5-7, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.”
God gives wisdom generously and without scolding when we ask for it in full faith. But when I go back and forth between trusting and uncertainty, He knows that I am like a wave in the sea moved easily by winds of doubt. And God does not reward a double minded mindset. Faith in God still has questions. Lots of them. But true faith is confident to take those questions to the throne of Grace and leave them there.
“Faith does not eliminate questions. But faith knows where to take them. ”
Living satisfied with God’s provision is an act of faith. A test of self-will. And Satan uses dissatisfaction in life as a distraction from God working out His purpose in us. Satan is always challenging God by using Christians as test subjects. Am I failing or flourishing in with what God measures out to me? Do I live life well with what I’ve been given no matter what I have? This week’s resolution has me thinking about ‘abounding’ like Paul.
When “Thy will be done” becomes my heart’s desire, it is then that my mind is stable and satisfied with what God is doing and providing in my life.