I was feeling discontent in our 1200 square foot home with four children ages 6 and under. I wanted so desperately for God to move us to the country, to a bigger and better home, but we had just lost a business so moving was not an option. We wouldn’t be able to get another home loan now that our credit rating was ruined.
I, a country girl at heart, was stuck in the middle of a small city with codes that would not allow me to raise even a chicken. Although we had a yard, there were no climbing trees on our property for the children to enjoy. No tadpoles, chicks, bunnies. We had no garage, no shed, no basement, and no attic. In other words, everything the six of us owned had to fit into that 1200-square-foot place. Not easy for Americans!
I was often one discontent mama, living my days in that little house with so many small children around me. My man drove an hour each way to work, taking our only car with him. For 11 hours each day, I was alone with the children, unable to leave the home, wallowing in my discontentment and self-pity.
One day while at a Bible study (my mom invited me to go with her so we crammed the children into her car), someone quoted these words:
- Never allow yourself to complain about anything – not even the weather.
- Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or someplace else.
- Never compare your lot with another’s.
- Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
- Never dwell on tomorrow. Remember that tomorrow is God’s – not ours.
I didn’t hear any other words for the rest of that Bible study hour. I only heard the above words over and over. As soon as the Bible study was over, I grabbed the woman who had quoted the words. She said she got them out of Calm My Anxious Heart and allowed me to borrow her book.
In Philippians 4:11-13, Paul says, “For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret to be content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do anything through him who gives me strength.”
I did not go home and become immediately content. No, my discontent had grown over many years, so it was much too large to release in one day. It did decrease, though, when I focused less on things and more on God. I learned, over time, that contentment will bring peace.
The peace that follows contentment is worth accepting my circumstances.
(Originally published on my 2004-05 Keeping the Home blog)