Are You Content?

Take a few minutes to ponder on that question…are you content? I can imagine your thoughts wandering and pinging back and forth between yes and no…Maybe settling on one or the other, but pondering the different areas of your life: your health, your relationships, your career, your family, your marriage, your finances…

While I think we’d all like to say yes, we are content, I think the answer for many of us instead sounds like “Well, I am content with some things BUT…” or maybe even for you, the answer is no, you are not content…

If you aren’t familiar with the story of Samuel in the Bible, it begins with talking about a man named Elkanah who has 2 wives. His wives’ names are Hannah and Penninah. Penninah has children, but Hannah has no children at the beginning of the story. We learn a little further into the reading that Penninah actually taunts Hannah for her inability to have children.

Have you ever wanted something so badly that your body has had a physical reaction like crying or being unable to eat because you just feel so sick and sad? As Hannah is crying, Elkanah sees her and this is his response…

When I was reading the story, the words to me seemed to be more from God to Hannah than from Elkanah. I pictured God looking into Hannah’s sad eyes saying, “I know you want children, but Hannah, you have ME!”

It really hit me when I read it and I didn’t realize why until just now as I read back over it…this my personal testimony. I can hear God asking me a similar question, “Am I not enough for you?” I went through a period of many years where like Hannah, I looked for my worth in things of this world. This manifested itself in me desiring relationships. I wanted to be seen as loved and worthy by others, so I pursued relationships to attempt to have that desire met. I realized as I kept reading that Hannah and I have a lot in common. She was finding her worth in her ability to have babies, which was leading her to feel worthless and less than others, like Penninah, who could have babies even though the text itself says in verse 6 that “…the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb.” I find that hard to swallow at first, knowing that God closed her womb and kept her from being able to have babies intentionally even though it was one of her heart’s greatest desires.

I think of the story of Adam and Eve and how many people (including Eve) feel like God was withholding from them by telling them to not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. While to them it felt like withholding, it was truly protection! I always think about the trap they fell into of focusing on what they couldn’t have (eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil) rather than focusing on all that God had given them! How quickly we too fall into the trap of focusing on what we DON’T have, rather than being grateful for what we DO have!

So I pondered my own personal testimony this week and thought back to how grateful I am to this day that God didn’t let me have what I wanted, when I wanted it.

  1. Marriage: If I had gotten married when I wanted to, I don’t know what my marriage would look like right now! I can say with confidence, that now on the other side, I can se how God used my waiting period to grow myself as an individual.
  2. Teaching: How I pictured what teaching would look like and how it ended up being was nothing like I ever imagined. It’s been a challening journey and while it has been very trying, it has brought me so much closer to God and I wouldn’t trade that closeness to God or the valuable lessons I’ve learned for an easier job.

As I looked back over these different areas of my life, I was reminded of a great truth that brought me so much comfort while I sit here now, wanting and waiting for other things I have yet to receive or see come to fruition…I find this story a great reminder to me that if I have God, I have it all and that sometimes, God has different plans for me that the plans that I have created for myself in my mind. Life is less about what I do and what I get and more about WHO I get to live my life for. No matter what happens, I still have God, which is exactly what he was reminding Hannah of as she was mourning being unable to have children at the time she wanted to have them.

Hannah wept and prayed and did end up having a child. She named him Samuel, which means “Because I asked the Lord for Him.” This is the origin of the famous verse you’ve probably seen on many baby blankets 🙂

At church this last Sunday, our pastor gave a great sermon. At the end, he spoke on contentment and gave one of the best definitions I’ve seen of contentment…

Contentment is a sustained inner peace regardless of circumstance. True contentment is being okay with just being. It doesn’t mean that your goals diminish in value, nor does it mean you’re excused from improving your situation. It means that you are at peace with what has been, what is, and what will be.

I love that. A sustained inner peace that cannot be shaken, no matter the circumstance. The only way to have that is with Jesus at the center of your life. Without Him at the center, you will spend your life constantly searching, seeking, waiting, and hoping to find the next “thing” you desire to satisfy you for long enough before you want the next thing.

I’m learning to be content no matter my own circumstances. I try to remind myself that whatever lot God gives me (even if it’s not what I want), it must be the best for me and He has a plan whether or not I can see it or understand it.

So let go, my soul, and trust in Him. May we be at peace, no matter what God has for us. May our souls be well and God be the center of our lives.

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