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Learning to be content

March 29, 2009

“How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.”
Philippians 4:10-12 (New Living Translation)

This scripture has been a huge revelation to me and continues to be time and time again through the various seasons of motherhood.

We live in such a consumer culture where everyone wants what everyone else has got and they want it now! We see it from an early age in our children if we’re not careful; they express their ‘need’ for a particular item just because little Jonny has got one! It’s that intrinsic ‘need’ for ‘stuff’ that the advertising industry is built upon and tapping into day after day, moment after moment, one comercial break after another!

This ‘need’ doesn’t stop in childhood; we recognise it with every ‘Next’ sale, and new IKEA store that opens or the fact that you haven’t checked in on ebay for a few days!! Everytime we cook in our 10 year old kitchen with broken handles or chipped paint it pulls on our consumeristic desire to start ‘shopping’ for that new kitchen, flicking through the magazines and taking extra special note of every B&Q sale.

I long to live a simple life where all is well with my soul; despite the challenging national economic state, despite my lack of a Dyson hoover or ‘Benefit’ makeup, whilst living in my three bedroomed, one bathroomed English terraced house.

I long for my confession to be the same as the Apostle Paul: “I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything”; Paul didn’t learn this through reading good books, going to the right conferences, reading the right blogs (!) or talking to the right people; he learnt this because there were times in his life where he had NOTHING and times in his life where he had EVERYTHING but yet he praised God.

Of course I have dreams of my farmhouse kitchen filled with Boden offspring working at the table whist I bake bread and look onto a prolific garden overflowing with fruit trees but everyday I am grateful for what God has given me today; I am blessed to have a home, a husband and beautiful children.

I am challenged by Pauls words in 1 Thessalonians (ch 4:11) where he urges us to make it our goal to live a ‘quiet life’, minding our business and working with our hands; what a contrast to the hectic, hedonistic, self gratifying, consumeristinc society we live in today. I long to make this my goal and set this as the standard for my children.

So here’s to a simple, ‘quiet’ day remembering all that our Father has blessed us with.

Learning to be content…
Leah

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 30, 2009 3:59 pm

    Brilliant stuff Leah. Contentment has been a constant goal of mine for many years – I started off a while back when I realised I was actually *envious* of my friends for having more ‘stuff’ than me. I prayed and prayed that God would help me to change and He told me “look after what you DO have better” (really!) which is an ongoing challenge! Now we are materially much better off but still I struggle to be content (although the *envy* stems from non-material areas now). My habit now – when feeling discontented – is to mentally list ten things I am really grateful for. I NEVER get beyond 4 or 5 before falling (figuratively!) to my knees!

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