I have two big problems that I cannot ignore and that I have no control over. Problems that have pushed me over the edge, and kick-started this ministry. But we’ll get to that in a moment.
Paul is my hero. “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” Letter to the Philippians, chapter 4, verse 11. “I have learned…” How many of us believers on earth today, especially in American culture, can say that we have learned this? A very few people I have crossed paths with in my journey seem to have come awfully close.
And I want what they have.
A content heart. The capacity to say in any situation or circumstance, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Verse 13. Very popular these days. We like to say it. It fills our hearts with hope, and rightly so.
But have we learned it?
What is a content heart?
2 Problems That Pushed Me Over the Edge
“Sufficiency within.” That is the meaning of the Greek word Paul uses that we translate content. If we have the Holy Spirit within us…which is true if we are believers…then the Source of this sufficiency, this contentment, is already in us.
“…through Christ Who strengthens me.”
I am blowing my own mind, here. Contentment is supposedly such an elusive thing…or is it? But I count myself a believer, a follower of Jesus. And that means…in Christ, I already have what I need to have a content heart.
So why don’t I?
It seems the answer is super simple. “Let go, and let God” kind of stuff. Done. This is the shortest blog ever. Everything you need to know in one post.
But the reality is, this walk with Christ is often messy, and pursuing holy things is often hard.
I have chosen to pursue this holy thing: a content heart.
This blog is my journey. I want to share what God is teaching me—how He is growing a content heart within me.
Now, back to my problems…
2 Problems That Pushed Me Over the Edge
There is a consistent pattern in our life of having earthly things we depend on and hope for taken away.
I consider myself to be a Christian woman. I often say we need to trust God no matter what. Or at least acknowledge my ascent to the concept when my precious husband keeps saying it. But there have been moments in this life that I have wanted to look God in the face and say, “Really? You’re taking that too? But I wanted….” At this point, my heart reverts to a stomping toddler, clenching my dreams in my fists.
Sometimes, I honestly do feel justified in my response. That was a good job we just lost. That was a wonderful relationship with another family that just turned sour. That was a dream we’d been striving for years to accomplish—gone in a moment. We have gradually been led deeper into the valley we are walking, one thing after another taken away or denied.
In this valley, I have learned not to count on earthly blessings. But…isn’t that…a good thing?
Clearly, I have a problem handling what is thrown at me.
What do I do if my circumstances never improve?
This problem would not be as bad without the second problem.
I’ve been living with the persistent pressing of the Holy Spirit against my soul to purge my complaining heart.
Yes. This is a problem.
First of all, I like complaining and worrying! (Wow. Did I just say that out loud? Again with the stomping toddler.) The tears flow as I confess this. My comfort zone is worry and discontent. Which is probably one of the reasons I struggle with anxiety and depression (but that’s another post). If something isn’t going wrong, I worry about when it will.
Tell me I’m not the only one.
Second, and more seriously, I’ve lived long enough and absorbed enough Scripture to know that what comes after conviction is hard. If you take God seriously.
When I calm myself enough to look up from clenched fists and see His face—the Father taking a deep breath waiting for me—that is when it begins. Surrender. Of dreams, of desires, of comfort, of priorities…of complaining and worrying.
Conviction is a problem simply because it hurts. It’s supposed to hurt. Like a parent firmly reminding their child of serious consequences if they disobey. That is uncomfortable. And I have to choose: am I going to surrender and let the Holy Spirit start changing me?
Or am I going to pretend I didn’t hear Him and hunker down in my comfort zone again?
Because letting God change you is not comfortable. Pursuing holy things is often hard.
I have chosen to take God seriously. And He is already taking me seriously. The very fact that I am publicly sharing my journey makes me more accountable for it. God’s not letting me out of this one.
I have to confess, I don’t know what the inside of a content heart looks like. But I have committed to this journey, and God has given me enough glimpses to know that this holy thing is what my heart truly wants. To be able to say with Paul, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.”
Pushed by circumstances and conviction, I step out in faith.
Here we go. Welcome to my blog.
Let’s see what God does.