The Christian battle with contentment

“For I have learned in every situation to be content” Philippians 4:11.

This was the verse I stated over and over again in my head throughout 2021. I had chosen the word “Content” as my word for the year and Philippians 4:11 as my banner verse. I prayed that verse over my year, my school work, my friends, and any situation the Lord would set before me. I spent the entire year laser-focused on being content IN my circumstances, forcing myself to see the silver lining and bright side of every test grade, awkward date party, and bad day. Don’t get me wrong, I love a silver lining, I am 100% a make lemonade out of lemons girl. But in this case, It needed to be more than that. What our gracious Heavenly Father was trying to teach me that year was way more than the earthly desire to see the good in every situation. You see, something that I consistently struggle with is trying to “fix” or “change” my behaviors to reflect God when the truth of the Christian walk is learning an intimate dependence on God and allowing HIM to change and refine us into someone who looks more like Christ.

The first problem with my {Journey to contentment} was that I took one verse out of a beautifully, tragically, and personally written book by Paul and tried to apply it to my situation with absolutely no context. At the time of its writing, Paul was in prison, being persecuted for following christ and writing a letter about the goodness of God and the uniqueness and intricacy of Christian Living, and here I am applying this single verse to my 21st century first world problems. Not that I am trying to discount todays society’s issues, however knowing the context of a script changes the game when it comes to the bible!! If I had diven deeper into this passage I would have noticed the difference in my contentment (or lack there of) and Paul’s contentment. A little further down in the text Paul says:

“In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content – whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Christ who strenghtens me.

Paul is not content IN his circumstances, He is content through God alone. Therefore his circumstances lack the ability to change his emotions or diminish his joy.

Okay, read that again. Because it is a POWERFUL statement.

I recently went back and read my prayer journal entries from the past two years. I am always in awe of Gods goodness to me and my selfish impatience and doubt, yet his abounding mercy. It took me almost two years to truly understand what God was saying to me through that verse in January of 2021. I want to take a minute to acknowledge the beauty of the way God laid the foundation of godly contentment 22 months prior to when I would need it most.

It is not lost on me that its probably because He knew it would take me that long to understand it, lol.

22 months ago I had no idea what this season of my life would look like, but God did. He saw it all, every blessing and every struggle and He knew exactly what I needed to prepare me for it. If you take anything from this post I hope its that EVERY Season, whether mundane, stressful, hopeless or exciting, God is using this moment to prepare and equip you for the next. He is not a random or forgetful God and He is NOT a God of abandon. He is sovereign and good and He is writing your story every day to be a reflection of His goodness in you. We are so unworthy yet his provision is abounding! And because of this truth, we can be content in every season. We have been gifted the blessing to live each day in a state of steady confidence in the Lord, because no matter what the day holds, Our God is unchanging. The story He is writing over your life was always supposed to hold this moment, don’t waste it, glorify Him through it.

Scriptures that inspired Bailee’s Thoughts

“So God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work. ” 2 Corinthians 9:8

“We know that all thigns work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to His purpose” Romans 8:28

“My heart rejoices in the Lord; My horn is lifted up by the Lord. My mouth boasts over my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation. There is no one holy like the Lord. There is no one beside you! And there is no rock like our God.” 1 Samuel 2: 1-2