I could ask everyone, (including myself) “is there anything you need this week?” After I give them some time, there might be a list, maybe not. Let’s say there was nothing anyone needed. Great. Now, imagine with me that I happen to stop by Target with any one of my children. As we walk through the aisles, suddenly the child in question realizes there are so many things he needs. Desperately. He had no idea until he saw the latest Lego set, that it was a necessary part of his survival. Crazy how this happens in our family. We are satisfied until we see what we don’t have.
Wait. This happens to you too? Seriously?
Actually, this struggle has been around since the Garden. Remember how gracious and good God was to Eve? Life could not have been better, right? Plush garden, handsome husband, peace and quiet, no swim suit models to compare herself to. Good grief! No clothes meant no laundry to do…amazing! If God had made t-shirts for them, he would have made “Life is Perfect” shirts.
Then along came Target, I mean the Tempter. He questioned Eve, put doubt into her mind about what God had done. For a moment, she thought she had been missing out on something. Suddenly, her life was not enough. There was more. She wanted more than what the Creator had given. She believed the lie that God was holding out on her.
Once she swallowed that fruit along with the lie, she would have to learn to be content again. Life was no longer perfect. In her attempt to gain more, she lost everything. Adam didn’t look so great anymore, and the animal skins would need washing.
I saw myself in that story, did you? One day, I’m thanking God for just another day, and the next I need new carpet to make me happy. What’s the deal? What is all this about? Why the struggle, the temptation pulling on us, convincing us that we don’t have enough, that our spouse doesn’t do enough, that we can’t be enough? Why can’t we just be satisfied? Content?
Great question. Is that even possible? Is is possible to be truly content? Are some of us just “half empty” kinda people? After all, this world is messed up and gives us plenty to complain about, right? Traffic, weather, taxes, home repairs, selfish teenagers, crooked politicians…How can I be satisfied living in this world? And what about all of my pain and suffering? You don’t know what I’e been through!
Living in one of the richest countries in the world creates temptations for us right and left. The Christian radio station keeps playing a commercial about replacing my ugly, dull kitchen counters. Really? Everywhere we turn, we are bombarded with a message that we do not have enough, and that more stuff, newer stuff will make us happy.
Our culture tells us that we are not enough as well. Product after product is pushed at us, to help our skin look younger, our hips smaller, our teeth whiter, our hair straighter. Self help books line the shelves to help us be better.
This is what I have to say, “ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!”
I want to tell you that I believe it is possible to find satisfaction, contentment. Just like Eve, we will have to learn how to be content. A guy named Paul wrote about being content. This is what he said,
“…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstance. 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 things through Christ who gives me strength. ” Philippians 4: 11-13
Would you like to make a choice to learn what Paul learned? His contentment was not based on his situation or bank account. It did not depend on his success or his expectations of others. It was not crushed by his pain. In plenty or in need. He shared a secret with us. He learned to trust Christ to be his strength.
When the money is running out, when you don’t have the cute boots like Mrs. Jones, when you just can’t get it right, when your children act like maniacs, and you think life would be better if you just had….
Stop. Remember Paul’s secret.
I am excited about walking this road to contentment this week with you.
Tomorrow, we will dig deeper into this truth that can set us free from frustration, jealousy, disappointment, and anger.