"Contentment is not about our circumstances - it is about our heart." I'm currently doing a Bible study by Linda Dillow on the subject of anxiety and contentment. When I picked up the study, the idea of being calm no matter the circumstances appealed to me. Over the past several years, I have struggled with anxiety quite a bit.
Some of it is my personality - all the what if's that crowd in to my head, regularly make mountains out of molehills. But I recently found out that a lot of it had to do with some medication I'd been taking - who knew?
But regardless, my natural state is not calmness. My natural state tends toward worry and what ifs. I thought it interesting that in the very first chapter, the author tied peace and calmness in to contentment. Hmmm, interesting. I had not tied those two together in my quest for peace and calmness. I saw them as two seperate things - apparently not.
The verses she focused on were Philippians 4:11-13 where Paul talks about being content in whatever state he finds himself in - needy or prosperous. Strangely enough, just last week I found a blog (marlataviano.com)where a woman was talking about how God was working in her life to live more for Him and serving others than working on her savings portfolio. She specifically mentioned Dave Ramsey and how she wasn't going to be following his steps to savings.
Whoo- boy, did a "discussion" evolve from that. I mean, people were definitely taking sides and some were even taking cheap shots at the blogger, as well as, other posters. I felt badly for the poor woman since she was just wanting to share what God was doing in HER life - how He had turned her thinking upside down! Yes, it did come across a little bit like everyone should do what she was doing, but sometimes, it's hard to not get carried away in our enthusiasm and come across that way even if that is NOT the intent.
And let's face it, there are far more Christians who don't seem to even be aware there IS suffering or any different realities than their own present one than ones who shed tears over the persecuted, the hungry and the oppressed. But I digress...
After reading her blog, I was convicted to look up and out more often, to look for opportunities to share the blessings God has given me. This in turn made me so much more aware of all that God HAS blessed me with. I was also left with a couple questions from all those comments. Is it a sin to save for the future and have an emergency fund? I don't think so. Is it a sin NOT to save for the future and have an emergency fund? Again, I don't believe so. I was left with this answer: What IS a sin is to NOT do whatever God is telling you to do. The Bible DOES specifically say that if we know we are to do something and then don't do it, that is sin.
Anyway, the reason the verses and that blog collided in my mind was because as I read that Paul was content not just in humble circumstances but also when he was prosperous, it hit me like a 2 x 4 that God isn't in the business of blessing us to then guilt us because we ARE blessed. I think we all need to open our eyes to how richly we are blessed in this country and also to the needs around the world, but it isn't supposed to be another cause of anxiety.
Instead, it's another opportunity to trust God and follow Him. It is a chance to once again come face to face with the fact that "The Lord has established His thrones in heaven and His sovereignty rules over all." Psalms 103:19
Coming to God and realizing that everything we have is really His gives you a different perspective on what to do with "your" money - whether that is saving or giving. God tells us in James that if we ask for wisdom, He will give it to us, so I don't think God is up there trying to leave us in the dark about this subject. What a burden lifter to know that I don't have to figure it all out. I can ask for God's guidance in all things, including my blessings, and He will give it! And that is just anoher thing to be thankful for and a thankful, gratitude-filled heart is one way to find some contentment!
~ Blessings, Bronte