Contentment and Joy
These words seem to elude us within our culture and in our time. There is always something out there that we are told we must have.
“You need this to be happy,” the movies and advertisements indiscreetly imply. We fall hook, line and sinker.
Contentment has become a fairy tale notion and joy is a cute word we put on t-shirts and coffee mugs. Looking around I wonder where the joy and contentment has gone. Not just in our culture but in the church as well. Amidst the over-abundance of good we have, why are we able to only see the bad? We are unable to be satisfied. More is better. And enough is never enough. Or so the sayings go.
Sadly, more so now than ever, many people portray themselves as victims of their culture or the victim of others treatment. We have become a society of victimized, discontent babies that would rather have people feel sorry for us than to rise up and have victory. (If you don’t think you victimize yourself, keep track of where your mind goes the next time your husband treats you unfairly or not very loving.) Why do we want people to pity us? Why must we compete on who has it harder in life? Why are we so unhappy?
First and foremost you must ask yourself, “What do I let my mind dwell on?” How is your thinking lately? To be honest with you, mine has been dwelling more on the “woe is me” . And you know what its producing in me? A grumpy, impatient wife and mom. I got angry at my kids tonight because I felt mistreated by my husband. Was my husband cruel? NO! He was just grumpy and dealing with lots of stress. Yet, I still took it way to personal. Rather foolish, I say.
How you think will dictate the rest of your day and the rest of your life.
Debi Pearl put it like this in her book Created to be a help meet http://amzn.to/2xQMsf0
(“Joy begins with thankfulness. Quite often our attitudes hang in the balance; by making a conscious choice, we can tip our souls into dark moods of complaining or into thankfulness and praise…Thankfulness is how you think; joy is the abundance it produces.”)
How do you view life? Can you look everything and be grateful or do you focus on all you don’t have?
I am amazed at how my attitude affects everyone around me. If I greet my husband with smiles and gladness, it can ease the tension and stress he may be experiencing. My children are happier and more compliant as if ready to please me. They feel safe when mommy is content and joyful. I am even happier and enjoy my own presence when I let thankfulness rule over my emotions.
The bible says it like this in Proverbs 17:22, “A joyful heart is good medicine but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”
I don’t know about you but I want to be woman who is like medicine to those she meets. Especially, to those within my home. There is a lot of sickness in this world, physical and spiritual, and I don’t want to make it worse by my horrible, ungrateful attitude.
I know what you are thinking. “Yeah, that sounds great, Shiree. A lot easier said than done.” You would be correct. Is cultivating joy and practicing thankfulness and easy task? No! It requires a lot of practice and self-discipline especially if you have mastered the art of ungratefulness and complaining. I struggle often, still learning how to fight to have joy rather than discontentment. Yet, I know it can be done. The bible says joy is a fruit of the spirit. As people of Christ, and filled with the Holy Spirit, we must be those filled with joy. The world is in desperate need of joyful people. They fill a dark place with light.
I no longer want to be woman who views herself as a victim and wallows in self-pity. I don’t want to be discontent. I feel it drying up my bones. Can you?
Even through hard and difficult circumstances we can be women of joy and therefore women of strength. This life will be full of times that break our hearts and almost defeat us. Yet, it the midst of it may we practice the power of joy and contentment-giving God a wonderful and beautiful sacrifice.
“Most of us fall and collapse at the first grip of pain; we sit down at the thresh-hold of God’s purpose and die away of self-pity, and all so called Christian sympathy will aid us to our death bed. But God will not. He comes with the grip of the pierced hand of His Son, and says-‘Enter into fellowship with Me; arise and shine.’ If through a broken heart God can bring His purposes to pass in the world, than thank Him for breaking your heart.” (Oswald Chambers: My Utmost for His Highest, Nov. 1-Ye are not your own) http://amzn.to/2xQBnL2
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