So here I am, a few days short of 5 years with Christ and less than 3 weeks into the year that I labeled as the year of contentment, and I am absolutely losing my mind. In a hot mess of tears and disappointments I put on myself, I trudge into work feeling glued to a desk doing the mundane. Except I’m not. I’m exactly where God needs me to be, learning to grow in the path I need to grow in.
As I’m brought into perspective by those around me and reminding me that I’m supposed to be content this year, I start to hate that word. By the end of the day, I’m pleading with God that maybe I’m not meant to be content. That my word should’ve been prosperity or promise to give me a sense that I’ve achieved something or will achieve something this year.
After I finish my temper tantrum, God begins to remind me why this was my word. I chose it from Philippians 4:12, where Paul writes that he knows what it’s like to be wealthy and what it’s like to be in poverty, yet he learned the secret to being content. And coming from a year, 2021 which took me from nothing and despair to such hope, blessings and life that I didn’t want to forget that. I also knew I had significant accomplishments coming up and I thought I wanted to be content no matter the outcome.
But I had completely ignored the following verse, Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ.” The last 18 days, I was being intentional by pausing everything else in my life to focus on the next exam, studying every minute I wasn’t stressing about studying. I focused so much in trying to be humble and set achievable goals for myself meanwhile I was crippling myself and belittling God. By trying to focus so hard on what I could do to control my life, I was losing the opportunity to see God work. Furthermore, I was trying to reach the status of contentment by working as hard as I could like it was a medal or something to earn.
But, the word contentment is a status of mind of satisfaction and accepting where you are.
In my strive everyday to seek contentment, I forgot the entire point of the word and the year. I was trying to be everything for myself, achieving it for myself, and planning it for myself when the answer isn’t about what I can do, but what God can do through me. The verse that had led me to choosing contentment is immediately followed with relying on God for strength. This isn’t something we can do on our own. But finding success in what the Lord will do.
So I’ve decided to surrender again. To surrender the ideas I had about this year. Instead of focusing on actively achieving contentment like a status, I will watch what God does, rely on Him for strength, and learn contentment however God plans to teach it.
“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.” -Philippians 4:12-13
“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-9