In the Rearview Mirror is a reposting of blogs I wrote 5 years ago, during a particularly challenging season of my life.
It was not an uncommon Sunday night, when I tend to struggle more than any other time. This particular night seemed worse than other ones, though. My temper was flaring and my will was losing the battle against this depression threatening to overtake me.
The next morning, true to my routine, I fought my “Monday morning blues” and got my coffee at 5:30 and opened the Bible. For some reason, I felt steered toward a familiar passage in Philippians that always intrigued me. It talks about how Paul had learned the “secret” of being content no matter the circumstances. In the past I could never really wrap my mind around the kind of contentment that Paul talked about. But this morning was different.
As I read over this passage, I began to consider the source of my discontent. It was in a particular area of my life that I wanted to be changed. It would be a change that would glorify God; I was simply waiting for his timing. Surely, I thought, once God brings about this change, I will be content. I will have peace and joy.
That’s when it hit me. The source of my contentment can’t lie in my circumstances, even if my ideal circumstances involve something that would be glorifying to God. The source of my contentment must lie in God and God alone.
My “ideal” circumstance still doesn’t promise contentment. Likely, I would struggle with some of the same things I struggle with now. That’s why I realized the true state of my heart must be content in God alone. In Jesus’ sacrifice that paid my debt. In his overwhelming love for me. In his forgiveness. In the fact that he does have a plan for my life.
But even that perfect plan doesn’t promise the peace and joy I long for.
Only God and my heart fully committed to resting in him will bring true joy and peace.
“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” (Philippians 4:12).
Thoughts from today: The season during which this was written, I was working a 50-hour-per-week job while juggling a toddler and family. It was a particularly difficult time in my job, as I worked at a new car dealership during the peak of the automobile sales recession. I also longed to write. Even though I’m much closer to that which I longed for then, I’ve learned that the true source of contentment doesn’t change. If we believe that contentment is found in circumstances, we will constantly be chasing the next thing. But if we understand that lasting contentment is found in Christ alone, circumstances cannot change the incomparable satisfaction he provides.
Are you longing for change and struggling with contentment?