One of the questions I am asked the most is “how do you do it?” referring to my life with three (soon to be four) children in a forty foot fifth wheel. Although I usually only laugh and give a one or two sentence answer about how we enjoy our life together, I really could take an hour explaining how God has brought me to the place that I am content in the life He has given me.
Paul says in Phil 4:11 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content.” Paul expresses that he has “learned… to be content” indicating that it took a process to teach him to be content. It was an encouragement to me the day that I realized that it was not only me that had to be taught to be content.
I have “learned” that contentment is composed of several elements. I could try to put them in a particular order of importance or in the order that I learned them, but I don’t really know if one element is of more value in the lesson than another.
1. Prayer. This is obvious. I can do nothing without God’s help, it isn’t in my fleshly nature to be content.
2. Thankfulness. If I am thankful for what God has given me, no matter how small the surroundings, it is difficult to be discontent. This seems simple, but it takes work to remain thankful. Phil 4:4, 6 says “Rejoice in the Lord alway: [and] again I say, Rejoice…. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” I am so thankful that God has called us into evangelism, and that He has chosen to allow me to serve Him.
3. I must control my thoughts. I think for me this is the biggest key to remaining content. I heard a preacher once say that ones thoughts dictate their emotions. HOW TRUE! If I think about what it is that I don’t have, then I can’t expect to be content with what I do have. In a verse prior to Paul stating that he had learned to be content, he tells us what it is that we should think on. For me I have to dwell on the positives of my life… my husband is home with us most of the time, our family is getting to see much of our beautiful country, I have friends in many different states, I get to see the results of our ministry in the salvation and decisions of others. I could (and have been guilty of) dwelling on the limitations of my life. I can’t even allow myself to think about how small my bedroom is or what decorations I can’t have or how few toys my children can have. I would be miserable and hurt my children and husband in the process.
4. I must realize that God knows and will supply my needs. Phil 4:19 “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” My precious Father knows me, he knows my thoughts, my desires and my needs. He will supply exactly what I need and if I rest in this knowledge, I will be content with what He gives me. The wonderful thing is that he not only supplies my needs, but often supplies my wants as well. God is good.