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Contending for Contentment



"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 

Discontentment is an ever-present temptation, a constant threat. It lurks around the corner of every transition and casts a shadow on every season of motherhood. It follows me through every stage and circumstance, tapping me on the shoulder. "The grass is greener on the other side," it whispers. Discontentment perpetuates this scarcity mindset within me, "There's not enough for me." It convinces me that I am a victim and celebrates with me as I throw yet another pity party.


Discontentment turns my head in the direction of other moms, encouraging me to compare every part of my life to theirs. It lures my eyes away from what is true and present and real, prompting me to imagine what could be or what would've been.


Discontentment is a potent poison and a tactic of the enemy - to steal joy, to kill hope, to destroy abundant life (John 10:10).


We must instead contend for contentment - receiving what He has given instead of refusing to "rejoice always." As much as we'd like to think otherwise, true contentment is not a product of circumstance but rather perspective. Contentment is the only way to circumvent our circumstances - allowing us to experience joy and peace despite what what is going on around us. It is the great secret of the Christian mom - that in spite of hardship, weakness, sleep deprivation, limitations, work schedules or physical pain, we could still, somehow, supernaturally, be content and "count it all joy" (James 1:2).


For this is God's will for you: not a particular career path or life decision, but to "rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances."


The antidote to the poison of discontentment is praise - placing all of our value and worth in Jesus instead of in what this world has to offer. Rejoicing and praying and pressing forward in gratitude despite how we might feel. Praise is the weapon we must wield against the daggers of discontentment.


This is going to take practice - it is not going to come naturally to us. Learning contentment is a process as day by day, hour by hour, we learn to depend on Jesus instead of allowing ourselves to be blown and tossed by the waves of our surroundings. It is as Paul shares in his letter to the Philippians: "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 this through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:12-13). Paul learned contentment through complete dependence on God and His strength. He encountered many difficult circumstances as he followed Jesus - his contentment was not found in comfort or ease. It was in Paul's lack and weakness that he found contentment, discovering God to be strong enough and sufficient for him.


Contentment is something worth contending for - that our children and the world might see the goodness of God through us: our gratitude, our joy, our peace, our contentment in Him. May we find satisfaction in Jesus, even in the struggles that each season of motherhood brings, as we depend fully on Him. And at the end of the day, may be able to say along with Paul: "I can do all this through him who gives me strength."


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