"...for I have 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 want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength." -Philippians 4:11-13
Content, peaceful, thankful. These three words could be described as emotions, adjectives, and gifts. You can't have one without the other. Can you be content and not thankful for ALL the blessings the Lord has given you? Can you be at peace but not be content with the spiritual, emotional, and physical aspects of your life?
One of the great blessings and struggles of living in another culture very far from home is you are removed from the false senses of peacefulness, contentment, and thankfulness. You are forced to seek and find these gifts through pursuing a deeper relationship with Christ who is the key to contentment.
I have learned that even if you have plenty as most of us do or if you have little as is the situation of most of those we live around, learning to be content is a tough journey. I have been on this journey a while now. But in the last month the Lord has really been working on my heart and exposed where I need growth in learning to be content and truly thankful. Philippains 4:13 is quoted often and used when teaching several topics. But I am most encouraged today to think of this verse in the context of contentment.
We can learn to be thankful and at peace with blessings we have been given. Because of the strength our Lord gives us we can choose to be content in EVERY situation. What would our day be like if we were constantly seeking a more grateful heart, looking for situations, events, people, and material blessings, past and present to thank God for? A day like this would leave us feeling content, at peace, and most of all thankful.
Thanksgiving is coming up and I always enjoy the opportunity to dwell specifically on thankfulness for a day (and of course I enjoy the pumpkin pie too). But this year God has put it on my heart that it is time to start a lifetime of seeking to dwell daily on thankfulness. I hope and pray many will be encouraged and inspired to think about daily thankfulness as this wonderful holiday approaches.