|by Suzie Johnson|
The dictionary definition of content means being satisfied with what you have, or being satisfied with your circumstances. Contentment is not wanting more than what you have, and not looking at others and wanting what they have. But is it more than that?
I like to think I’m content. I think it’s because I have a fairly easy-going personality, and that makes it easy to adapt even though I don’t like change. I’ve also learned over the years that if you can’t be content, you and everyone around you will be miserable. Therefore, it has been my goal for several years to remain content in all circumstances.
But how did I come to that place, and does it mean I never worry?
I would be a liar to say I'm never dissatisfied or that I never worry. I am. I do. I don’t like that about myself and I wish I could “practice what I preach” always and in all ways. But I’m human and things occur that make me unhappy or worried. I wish I could say the very instant these things cross my mind I turn straight to God and pray. I wish…
Would if I could…again, that human thing comes in to play. Sometimes it’s not easy being human, is it? Especially when we want to live a life that is pleasing to God.
I think that’s where contentment starts – by wanting to please God. We must have that desire because when we want to please Him, we turn to Him. We may not start out turning to Him as often as we should, but it’s a starting point. It takes doing something twenty-one times before it becomes a habit. At least, those are the latest figures I’ve heard.
If a family member is ill, and I start to worry and I don’t turn to God right away, I certainly won’t be able to let go of the worry long enough to be content. If I owe too much debt and I’m unsure if I’ll have a job in a month or two and I don’t pray about it first, I’ll make myself sick before I ever get to the point of finding contentment.
It’s only by turning to God that I can be truly satisfied in all circumstances. Even when I don’t turn to Him right away, I get there eventually. But there are many times when I do turn to Him first and worry is diverted and I feel contented almost immediately. But I can’t stop there. I have to keep praying, keep focusing, keep Him in the forefront of my mind and do everything I can to turn to Him first because that contentment will turn to peace.
It sounds so simple, but even the very “best” Christians know it’s easy for humanity to slip in and steal our focus.
Try to make turning to God first a priority. This is how we build trust that He will take care of all of our needs. This is how we learn to rely on Him first and to rely on worrying less. Don’t beat yourself up if you fail. If your heart is truly seeking, God will find a way to prompt you to turn to Him even if you didn’t seek Him before you began to worry or feel scared or sad.
He promised! In Hebrews 13:5, He said He would never leave us or forsake us. That promise comes right after Paul reminded Philemon and other believers that God said to, “be content with what you have.”
And what, you must wonder, does this have to do with The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and The Beautiful?
Deb told us about this movie a few weeks ago (click here to read her post). Because of her recommendation (even though she hadn’t seen it at the time) I went to see it. I wasn’t disappointed by any means. I absolutely loved it. Based on the book These Foolish Things by Deborah Moggach, the move is about an assortment of people with assorted personalities who all find themselves in the very unwelcome position of not being able to retire on their income unless they do something drastic like moving to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and the Beautiful.
Some of those characters are content and some are not. Those who are, find it easier to adapt to their circumstances. Those who are not…well, let’s just say they have a few lessons to learn along the way.
I love the way these characters were developed – not for ratings or sensationalism, but merely to tell a good story. It became obvious right away who would have a hard time when they got to India – not because they were going to India, but because they wouldn’t be happy in any circumstances. Did they learn? I don’t want to ruin the movie for anyone, so you’ll have to see for yourself.
Contentment isn’t just the ability to be satisfied, it’s also the ability to trust and rely on God in all circumstances.
Pray. Trust God. Turn to Him even if you didn’t turn to Him the instant you became dissatisfied. He’ll still be there and He’ll still fill you with peace and satisfaction. And the payoff will be great (as in Good, Wonderful, Huge). The more you trust Him, the more satisfied you'll become.
And go see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and the Beautiful. (Can you tell I just like to say that over and over?)
Suzie Johnson’s debut novel, No Substitute, a contemporary inspirational novel, will be released by White Rose Press later this year. She is a member of ACFW, RWA, and is the cancer registrar at her local hospital. The mother of a wonderful young man, who makes her proud every day, Suzie lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and naughty little cat. You can visit her blog at: http://suzieswritingplace.blogspot.com