“Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13
The only way to know that you are truly content in all situations is to have God lead you to a new place that you truly never imagined. I think it’s really easy, and I say this from experience, to say, “Oh ya, I’m totally content no matter what”, and in that sentence is danger. It’s a good danger because it’s a silent invitation to ask God to prove how content you can be in all situations.
A year ago, I was completely content having plenty. Who wouldn’t be? I made a lot of money, had a secure job, great benefits and no major expenses. It is just me and my daughter and we lived well…really well. We ate out a lot. We bought pretty much whatever we wanted. We went away on weekend trips pretty much whenever we wanted. I had very little care about physical needs and I was convinced that living with less wasn’t really possible. I had become accustomed to the abundance and I had taken it for granted. Then God stepped in.
When God asked me to cash in my retirement and walk away from my career, I was nervous but I was certain that it would all be fine and that I wasn’t going to be asked to make a major change, just scale back a little bit. So, we scaled back, went out less and thought more about what we bought. We were living with less and we were beginning to see how to be content. I had no idea how much more content with less we were going to get.
Today I did something I never planned on doing, I applied for food stamps. Even typing out that sentence is hard. Whether or not you are willing to admit it, most of us consider food stamps for “those people” and not for us. We may say there is no judgment, but there is. We’re judging ourselves as more secure because we don’t have to use food stamps, we’re praising God that we can take care of ourselves without assistance and we are unable to consider that God would call us to a place that would lead us to this level of need. And maybe all of those “we”s that I just typed are just me and no one else has ever had these thoughts but I seriously doubt it.
Today, as I was answering questions about my current situation, I had to admit that God had called me to this level of need so that I could grow deeper with Him. The question at the time was did I trust God enough to believe that He didn’t love me less and that He wasn’t punishing me just because I was applying for help. My ego and the enemy were firing at me that I was above this need, that I was better than and that I didn’t need this help. God was asking me to face my arrogance and get like Paul, knowing abundance and knowing lack and truly being content in all situations because I know that God is with me and I am truly able to do anything through Jesus because He gives me the necessary strength.
I know that God is using this time to grow me deeper and deeper and to build a stronger sense of vision and ministry. I’ve been tempted many times to just go get a job because my faith wavers and I’m not certain God is actually paying attention. And as soon as those kinds of words come to mind, I know that they are the enemy. God is showing me a full spectrum of life as well as inviting to deeper faith with Him. I have said before and I say it again as a prayer that I refuse to be a trophy for the enemy by giving in and walking away from what I am certain is God’s call.
I believe a job is close and I believe that right now my season in life is shifting and I’m walking into an abundance like I’ve never seen or known before. Not an abundance meaning a huge salary, an abundance meaning an increase of faith and impact in the world around me. Daily dying to my ego and the old ways of defining my self-worth is harder than I imagined. Knowing that God is with me every step and inviting me to go further and further with Him is amazing and humbling.
God is inviting ALL of us to grow in our level of contentment in life and this contentment is solely based on Him. Are you willing to do whatever God is calling you to? Are you willing to lose what you thought you could never live without in order to grow deeper in Him? The invitation is there for all of us, I’m praying that you accept and find unchained contentment.
If you need a prayer partner, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org