Taking Time to Learn Contentment

I love the start of the new year! I always find it interesting when preachers "prophesy" what they believe what the year will be... "The Year of _____". I was telling my friend, no on ever prophesies that it might not be a good year. like, it's always prophesied that the year will be good, but the way life works, it won't always be good. But I guess no one wants to prophesy that lol *shrug*

But anyways... my e-church pastor said it's "The Year of Reward" and another church said "The Year of Radical Results", but I didn't really feel like either of those applied to me lol, but I told myself that whatever my church's theme was would agree with what the other churches said.. but it didn't lol. So I began to rethink this whole concept of determining what God's theme was for me in this new year.

Sometimes, we are so busy awaiting what someone else is speaking over our life, that we neglect that the same access to God that they have is the same access you have to God. So I sat and just  prayed to God for the Holy Spirit to reveal to me where my focus needed to be in this new year, in this particular year. I thought about some of the things that were manifesting themselves and erecting themselves around me in my life recently- lessons that God was teaching me over and over, doors that were closing, relationships that were forming and ceasing, my desires, etc. So as I meditated on it, the Holy Spirit whispered, contentment.

As I thought about it, I was like, "YASSSSSSSS!!" It was like my eyes had been opened. Seriously, if I look back at what's been going on in my life recently, the Holy Spirit has been telling me I need to learn to be content for a long time, but I wasn't listening until that very moment. Philippians 4:12 and 13 says, "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need." There's such power in being content, no matter the situation. Nothing can hold you down when you learn to be content because you know that God has ordained the good and the bad.

You see, sometimes we are so stuck on working towards a certain goal in the future that we miss the NOW. We rush through seasons because we are too focused on what could be or will be in the future. God is showing me that ALL seasons matter, even when I think they don't- even the heartbreak. I can want Winter to pass all I want, but there's still an allotted time that Winter is already assigned to be. Your current season, whether good or bad, has an appointed time and duration that YOU can't change. I can wear summer clothes during winter to have wishful thinking, but Winter will still exist, and I'll just look stupid. See below lol

Seasons come and go (See Surviving Seasonal Changes), and though sometimes they cycle back through or manifest themselves again, oftentimes, we can never go back to the seasons we've already had. God is showing me that this season of singleness has PURPOSE, so does this season of financial struggle. The Bible says, "All things work together for the good of them that are called according to His purpose..." (Romans 8:28). So the NOW that I'm in right now, has purpose. The now you're in, it has purpose. It's been orchestrated by God already. We just have to learn to trust Him for leading, provision, direction, and everything I need.

Too often we say we trust Him, but we really think that trusting God is going to be like this
So we get in the way by manipulating our own situations and causing destruction. God has intentionally allowed and/or orchestrated certain events in our lives. We can't resist them and we shouldn't.

This year, I'm intentionally trusting God for all things in my life, I'm praying for contentment in all things. I'm asking God to get me out of the way and relinquishing all control. You see, there are things that I HAVE to master here in this season, as well as prune issues  out of my life that I've carried over from past seasons. The Year of Contentment is also AKA The Year of "Be Still" and "Sit and Rest, Chil'"

(You know your favorite summer dress that fit you 2 years ago that doesn't fit anymore... but you just won't get rid of it because you think it might fit you again or come back in style? That's exactly what it's like when you carry those fragments from past relationships, insecurities from the past, old habits from the past, etc. Metaphorically speaking, I have like, 23 summer dresses that I still have in my closet that I need to just go'n and get rid of.)

When we're content in God, there are some by-products that we receive as a result. Here are some...
  • Trust in God-  Contentment forces us to realize and understand that we are in the hands of God and whatever happens, He is in control.
  • Peace- Full trust in God breeds peace. What is there to worry about? What is there to necessarily plan? He has it all in control. Just abide in it.
    • Lack of worry
    • Lack of anxiety
  • Appreciation- When you know that God is intentionally working on your behalf in all things, You're so much more appreciative of EVERYTHING because you know that everything going on in your life has NOTHING to do with anything you yourself have done. Do you know how many times I have found myself saying, "WOW! THANK YOU GOD!" in the last week?!
    • Gratefulness
  • Joy- When you're content, you're not focused on where you should be or how you need to obtain certain things; you're just living in what God is leading you in. That creates joy! Do you know how much happier you will be when you know it's not up to YOU to do something, but just trusting in God will grant you access to the BEST of what life can offer?!
  • Humility- Again, when you know that everything going on in your life has NOTHING to do with anything you have done, you know you can't boast. It makes you brag on God and give Him the glory! Contentment creates opportunities to tell others about Him!
It's interesting because contentment breeds many characteristics of the Fruit of the Spirit. That's because contentment makes God the forefront of our life... it allows us to be hid within Him while He illuminates our way. Galations 2:20 says, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." When we are content in all things because we know that God is in control of everything, our reliance allows us to walk in the Spirit, as oppose to the flesh. 

2016 is The Year of Contentment for me, but it may not be for you. I encourage you to sit before the Lord and cry out for God to reveal to you what your theme for 2016 is. Don't allow yourself to just grab someone else's theme for the year; make it personal for you. Commit it to memory. Determine what it takes to accomplish your theme and dwell in it. Above all, rest in it and be content in what God has for you.

Intentionally Seeking Contentment in All Things,

Dear God, Thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for direct access to the throne through your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank you for loving me and leading me. God, contentment and stillness is such a struggle for me, but I know that it's necessary for me to learn in this season. God, I want to be content in my singleness, in my career, in my finances, and every area of my life. Help me to realize that contentment doesn't happen haphazardly, but intentionally. There are steps that I have to elicit in order to be content. There are things that I have to let go of to relinquish the control I have on my life, in exchange for walking in agreement with what You have planned for me. God, I pray for anyone reading this. I pray that this speaks directly to each and every reader, God. Help them seek You and what You have for them in this year. In Jesus' name, I pray, Amen.