- 1 Tim 6:6-8 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content."
- Phil 4:11-13 "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
- 1 Thess 5:16-18 "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Power Thought #7
Speed...more to do...life whirling past. Duty driving, joy eluding. Fatigue unending. Gasping for air. Tears falling without warning. Weeks ago, in this unstable state, I asked my husband if I could go spend a few days with Bible and notebook, in a place of quiet rest and beauty. He nodded agreement and plans were made. Our children stayed with friends and family, my husband worked hard each day and endured a lonely house out of love for me, and I went to prostrate myself before my Father where He tenderly massaged my aching soul and refreshed me in His Word and love. This was the view from my window:
Lovely, isn't it? Three days/nights of the ocean's roar and beauty, lesson's from God's Word and prayerful walks, simple meals and rest, yes rest in every way. I came HOME, breathing peacefully and focused and ready to enter into the life God is giving me with joy once more.
The next day, the kids and I sat down to open up our next Power Thoughts chapter. Turning to it, I laughed out loud. As soon as I read the title to them, we were all laughing, and giving God thanks for continuing the good work He has begun in me (and all of us). There is no denying it, I am certainly a work in progress!
Power Thought # 7 is: "I am content and emotionally stable." Of course there would have been zero humor to the title had we begun it a couple week's prior when I was an emotional wreck, but THAT day, it was funny! Let's dive in...as has become my pattern, any unlabeled quotes are taken from the book Power Thoughts, by Joyce Meyer.
I think the heart of what she has to say in this chapter is that though emotions are here to stay, we need to learn to manage them and not rely on them. We need to live by principle in contrast to our feelings, like trees firmly planted by the waterside. She talks about emotion's power to deceive and how they can wrongly "urge us toward haste" whereas God tells us to be patient, to grow in wisdom and self-control and to walk according to His sure Word.
She makes an insightful connection between emotional instability and discontentment. Next time you feel emotionally unstable, ask yourself if you are focused on what you do not have, or what you wish you had. Discontentment may not always be fueling the instability fire, but I know without a doubt that it does sometimes. If in a raw moment of honesty you answer "yes, this is true of me," begin a list of all the things God has blessed you with and begin thanking Him out loud for them. She encourages us to count our blessings.
At our house, we've been playing a little "grace sleuth" game for the past couple of weeks where we remind ourselves each morning that since God is holy and we are sinners, we deserve His holy and eternal wrath, but instead (because of His overflowing love and grace) we get: cozy beds and abundant food and tastebuds and hugs and carpet squishing under our bare toes and gifts of knowledge and forgiveness of sins and transformation by God's good grace, and on and on. We're all recording our "grace gifts" in a journal and sharing them with each other, joining hearts and hands in giving Him thanks. Instead of instability and whacked emotions, we are experiencing joy and a growing trust in our Sovereign Father who gives us every spiritual blessing and provides our every earthly need in Christ. Thankfulness to the Giver, trust in God's unfailing goodness toward those who call upon Him, and contentment are mighty stabilizers!
I do not recall her mentioning this, but I've found in my life as I reflect on this power thought that there are certain warning signs...signs like when I begin to press so hard and fast that time in God's Word is laid aside, rest is minimized, convenience foods become my body's only fuel and there is no time to exercise (not to mention sharp tongue, clenched jaw, tightness of chest, etc)...and when these warnings, these signs that I'm growing discontent are unheeded, instability is surely my frame or soon will be. And thank God! This too is grace, a tool in God's loving, disciplining hand to awaken us to the insanity of our racing down the road that leads away from Him. Jesus tells us in Matt 11:28-30 to "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
Here are a few other verses to meditate on as you put on "I am content and emotionally stable":