For 29 years, I had blindly believed that in order to be “happy”, content, and satisfied I would need to have whatever the object of my satisfaction was. I never understood why I was always so unhappy, always feeling like there was something more to life, something else that I needed to make me content. This is a priceless lesson that I am just beginning to know and experience and learn as the Lord is writing it on my heart!
WHAT IS CONTENTMENT?
What I mean when I talk about being content, being satisfied, being happy, I am talking about:
- the state of your mind, in your heart, when you have peace that surpasses all understanding
- a feeling of true joy that grows from the Holy Spirit being resident in our spirit
- it is a sense of complete rest in your innerman
- it is a sense of being thankful in your heart for what you do have
The opposite of contentment, being satisfied, and being happy is:
- a feeling of emptiness inside of you
- when you feel like nothing is good enough
- when you are never truly happy in your heart
- you are unthankful for what you have already, because you are constantly looking at the next best thing to make you happy
- it’s that feeling you get when you look in the cabinets or fridge and there’s nothing you really want in them
- You don’t know what you want
- any negative emotion of anger, wrath, rage, restlessness, jealousy, envy, etc.
This is not to say that we will NEVER find joy or happiness or satisfaction in eating a good meal, spending time with our families, or doing something we enjoy doing.
I am talking about the times when we are expecting to find fulfillment from a person/object/place/idea/thing.
I am talking about an attitude that we have in our minds and hearts. I’m talking about what we are trusting in to bring our hearts satisfaction and contentment.
WHAT DOES TRUST HAVE TO DO WITH IT?
One of the things the Lord pointed out to me when He was showing me this, is that all of the things I thought I “needed” or “wanted” in order to make me content, satisfied, and happy were the very things I was trusting in to satisfy my heart.
What I was trusting in:
- Getting my own way
- Having control
- Being treated “right”
- Husband’s attention/affection
- Being loved unconditionally by husband
- Having emotional connection with husband
How I felt when I couldn’t have what I was trusting in:
- Resentment, Unwanted
When I put my trust in these things instead of trusting in Christ Jesus to satisfy my heart, to create in me contentment and peace, and rest and joy—- I am setting myself up for misery, confusion, loneliness, and despair!
You may ask, but why?
Why is Christ Jesus the only One who could ever bring such heart satisfaction?
Why can’t we find satisfaction from anything else?
The answer that the Lord has been writing on my heart is that the only way to true peace, rest, and joy in our hearts is from having the presence of the Lord!
We can’t have the presence of God in our hearts through the Holy Spirit if we are not utterly, wholeheartedly, and completely surrendered to Him in every single area of our lives.
Total surrender of all things is the way to true heart rest because now, instead of trusting in those things, you have placed your complete trust in the Lord for ALL things!
- We surrender our self-effort and replace it with trusting in the LORD for forgiveness of sins and the free gift of eternal life
- We surrender our self and replace it with trusting in the LORD’s provision of our new life in Christ- our old self is dead
- We surrender our own will and replace it with trusting in the LORD’S will in the form of the people and situations that come to us each day
- We surrender our marriage to the Lord and give up trying to change ourselves and our husbands in order to have the marriage we want and we replace it with trusting in the LORD to work in ours and our husband’s hearts for us to will and to do of His good pleasure
- We surrender our child to the Lord and trust in Him to bring about His will in their lives
- We surrender “control” (really we don’t have control it’s only an illusion) and we acknowledge and believe that God alone is the only One who is truly in Control and He will work ALL things for the good of those who love God
- We surrender our hearts, minds, and bodies to the Lord and ask Him to work in us His will for His glory
In my own experience, I truly believed that I was surrendering to God every morning and placing all of my life and trust in Him.
But then, as the day would go on, and things would not turn out quite as I had planned, or if I did not have what I wanted, or if I did not attain the thing I thought I could not be content without, I would storm into self-protection mode and try to manipulate and control everything in my life to produce the desired ends.
- If my son did not eat breakfast I would become very upset in my heart and feel resentment that he would not do what I wanted-I was placing my trust in his behavior to bring me contentment. I couldn’t be content unless he ate breakfast.
- If I went grocery shopping and the store was out of something I needed I would bicker about it to myself and feel mad that the store couldn’t provide the things I needed- I was placing my trust in the store having what I needed to bring me contentment. I couldn’t be content unless the store had everything I needed.
- If my husband came home from work and did not talk to me very much, I would become very upset and lash out in anger because he was not talking to me the way I wanted him to-I was placing my trust in emotionally connecting with him to bring me peace and contentment. I couldn’t be content unless he talked to me.
- When my husband left and I thought our marriage was over I completely lost control of myself and acted so completely desperate, as if my life was over- I placed my entire trust in our marriage to bring me peace, joy, rest, and contentment. I couldn’t be content unless my husband came back home.
When we are trusting in anything else other than Jesus, we will only be content if we have what we want/expect.
I have learned that expectations are premeditated resentment!!!!!
AN UNDIVIDED HEART FOR GOD
There is the test of the heart that each of us have faced, will face, and continue to face in this lifetime.
The heart is tested when the things we think are our “everything” are taken away, and it is as though we have nothing left.
God draws us out into a spiritual wilderness, where HE only is to be the recourse and resource! These are the times in our life when it seems like all the comforts we had are being taken away one by one.
-Our marriage falls apart and our husband keeps away from us
-We have to move for a job or husband has to travel alone for months on end
-We have no close friends near by
-We can’t seem to find the right church body
-Our husband loses his job and our money starts declining very fast
-We get the flu and can’t even stand up with no one there to help us
-Our phone breaks and we have to wait a week for a new one
-The internet isn’t working right and there’s no other source of entertainment
-Our car breaks down and we can’t afford to fix it
These are the times when God is leading us out into the wilderness, where He wants us to take our eyes off of our hopeless situation, and turn them onto Him. He wants to reveal Himself to us in these times, to give us a revelation of Jesus Christ in our hearts. He wants to teach us a lesson, and grow us spiritually. He wants us to put our entire trust in Him and hope in His mercy against all odds. He wants us to learn how to be content in every situation. He is testing us and revealing to us what is TRULY in our hearts—and whether our hearts are all for God, or for our SELF.
When we come into the wilderness, we will come to know whether we are walking in the flesh or in the spirit by the way we react.
If we are walking in the flesh, we will fall to complaining, grumbling, and murmuring. The flesh needs evidence. Tangible things to evaluate with the natural senses. The flesh says “can God really provide meat?”
The spirit says “I am thankful for this heavenly manna the Lord has rained down on me in this wilderness, and I know and trust that He will provide all of my needs.”
This is a time where the Lord is breaking us of all our natural ability to save our self. He is our Savior. He is creating in us an undivided heart that places Him first and foremost.