So what is this thing called Contentment?
Contentment in the advertising world could be lying snuggled on the sofa, in front of a roaring fire, eating your favourite chocolate. Or actually owning that sleek, all singing and dancing car. Or even spending time with family, all be it at an expensive adventure park or cabins in the woods with all mod cons. But all these things are transient, the chocolate soon gone, the car looses it's shine and, with the best will in the world, families are not always the ideal of a happy place to be.
The last couple of months have been a struggle for me. When I first fractured my leg I felt it was an opportunity to slow down, re-evalualte and spend more time with Father. He certainly has been using this time to speak to my heart, to heal areas of deep pain, to talk to me about letting go of things, and for me to learn how to be to be content in His presence. Or so I thought! Once the plaster was off (despite advise from others) I believed I could resume life as before. I ended up in more pain than pre plaster, feeling extremely sorry for myself, and almost depressed.
Just before Paul says in Philippians 4:11 that he has learned to be content in all circumstances he says in verse 4 "Rejoice in the Lord always..........The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus". As soon as I lifted my eyes from my circumstances and lifted them towards the Father and praised Him for all He has already done the weight of depression was lifted and I felt His peace once more. He is SO much BIGGER than my circumstances. That doesn't take anything away from people who suffer from real depression, I realise that is a much more complex medical thing. But Paul, who nearly drowned several times, was beaten, flogged and imprisoned many times never took his eyes off the Father. And that's where his strength and contentment came from. So it is not some temporary experience like the chocolate bar or car, it is an ongoing experience and relationship with our Father, it's taking our eyes off ourselves and turning them towards Him, praising & recognising Him for all He has done in our lives and not looking for the "quick fix". It is much more fulfilling and life enhancing and all part of the enriching journey that we are on.
So, it is
ironic that I have been organising a conference, which six months ago I felt needed a title. I came across a James Jordan video which was titled "Finding Contentment" and because last years conference was based on "Hope" I felt it would be a natural step to ask the speakers to talk about contentment. Little did I know that Father would teach me so much about contentment before the conference ever happened! But that is what He is like. Some people call Him "Jehovah Sneaky" but I just see Him as my Father gently putting His arms around me and guiding me in the right direction. All be it when I least expect it!