The Search for Contentment…

Over the past month, I’ve been reflecting on how God has molded me to find contentment. I was asked to speak at our church’s women’s luncheon about how I’ve found contentment when I was single/unmarried, newly married, and the current season of life I’m entering in, motherhood. Our theme for this year was “She Who Wears Many Hats,” because women throughout their lifetime wear many different kinds of hats that God gives us to wear as we walk through life. The day was centered around God’s truth on contentment in whatever “hat” we are wearing found in Philippians 4. Verses that I mediated on frequently as I reflected were Philippians 4:11-13, when Paul says to the Philippians:

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Here are my take-aways that I shared yesterday as I thought on the hats God has given me to wear:

Being Single/Unmarried:

Looking back, I can see my discontentment more than I can see my contentment in being single. For those who don’t know this story, Dakota, my now husband, was a big influence in discipling me and sharing the Gospel with me, which is pretty cool. So, part of my time being single I would consider that a lot of my discontentment was due to the fact that I did not know the Lord as I know Him now. I also did not trust Him like I do now. As God has worked on my heart from the moment I met Dakota, I can see now how He has changed my perspective on being single, thinking on the qualities I would want in a spouse, and finding true contentment in knowing that God knows our future plans better than ourselves, and whether or not His plans align with the plans we have in our mind, He is still good and He is still faithful.

So, whether you are currently single or maybe you’ve just met someone who you’re now in a relationship with, my hope for you would be that you wouldn’t fret over “is this man the perfect man for me. Does he meet all the criteria on my list? Is there even a perfect guy out there for me God?” Because, the answer, truthfully, is no. Your boyfriend or future spouse is not perfect, because only Jesus is perfect. When we enter into a relationship with a boyfriend or join in marriage with that man, we are signing up to be committed to an imperfect person. But, I think that’s how God works in us to find contentment in the boyfriend or spouse that we have. He may not have all the qualities on our “list”, but God gives us the most perfectly imperfect person to us, and I believe he does this, so that we would find contentment in the wonderful gift of our boyfriend or spouse, despite how “perfect” that man is for us when we line them up to our “list”.

Now if you are in a serious relationship and “close” to being engaged, I would also share that my hope for you is to keep your eyes focused on your relationship with the Lord first and that man second. I think it can be very easy for our eyes to stray from vertical to horizontal and see all of these other couples getting into new relationships or getting engaged, and we can feel left out and become discontent. I found myself falling into this at times, but I would encourage you to trust in God like Paul does and find contentment in your current situation. Be joyful in this time of being single or being with that man before you enter a new stage of being engaged, because God’s timing is perfect and when He wants you to be in a relationship, if he wants you to be in a relationship, or move your relationship to go to that next phase, He will make that happen.

Being Newly Married:

Okay, so transitioning now from being single/unmarried, I’ll share with you how I’ve found contentment in being newly married. Now, similar to what I just shared with you about straying eyes from God to others around us, I found that God has worked in my heart again on the discontentment inside to find contentment in the marriage that I have. A problem of mine is that I am always ready to move on to the NEXT thing. Maybe you struggle with this too. I think back on shortly after we were married, and I desperately wanted……to get a dog. I pushed for a dog almost every opportunity I could, and Dakota and I had a conversation about contentment. I remember, we were in the car and the topic of a dog came up and Dakota was just so blatant and upfront in his response to me, that it struck me instantly. He said, “I don’t want to get a dog right now, because I want to just enjoy you.” And, in that moment, God revealed the sin in my own heart of discontentment in the good gift He’s given me right now, and that’s my husband! …That being said, it wasn’t more than a month later and Dakota surprised me that he’d been researching breeders around the area, and we got a puppy! But more seriously, in that moment God wanted me to see that we didn’t need a dog to make our family better. I could find contentment in just enjoying time with my husband alone, because someday… (someday very soon!) it won’t be just us anymore. It was a humbling moment for me and I thank God for how he showed me in that moment that being newly married is a very special time to just enjoy each other, continue to grow in this new relationship with one another, and to focus on building a strong foundation between God and the two of us before adding other additions such as a dog…or baby! 🙂

God has really worked in my heart on finding contentment in being newly married when it comes to adding other things to our family, like children. Besides a dog, another thought that I repeatedly came back to was longing to have a child with Dakota, and I really struggled with a lot of discontentment and even resentment at times towards Dakota when he didn’t agree with me on the timing of when we wanted to start to try to grow our family. It was like every single time I saw a post on Facebook or Instagram of someone announcing they’re having a baby, it would set me off into my downward spiral  of discontent and jealousy all over again. I had to do a lot of praying to God to change my attitude and heart and talking through it with Dakota quite a bit, because it was so draining for me to continually feel discontent when I  k n e w  I had good gifts that God had given me with having a wonderful husband and a sweet dog for a pet. I am so thankful that God has continued to work on my heart in finding contentment in just enjoying Dakota and our family of two by reflecting on His word and praying that He would change my heart.

So, if you are wearing this hat right now of being newly married, my hope for you would be that you would listen to Paul’s words when he says,

“I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content,”

and that you would just enjoy this time solely enjoying your spouse and growing in a relationship together as husband and wife, along with growing in your relationship with the Lord together. Your time as just a family of two is precious, and once you start adding little ones and even pets to the mix, it changes things. So, find the joy in your spouse and this hat that God’s given you to wear!

Transitioning into Motherhood:

Finally, I’ll touch on how I’ve found contentment in transitioning to motherhood. While I’ve been reflecting on how God has helped me to find contentment in this hat of transitioning into being a mother that I’m currently wearing, I have seen many things. Things like: Wow, hello there hips! Nice to meet you! …or Hot flashes welcoming me awake in the morning! Or maybe even the more recent, beached whale roll out of bed feeling in the morning or when I’m laying on the floor, that’s been a fun one!! 🙂 One way the Lord has definitely helped me find contentment in this new hat I’m currently wearing is His ability to help me think about this new body I have and how to see my body growing and changing as evidence that this sweet little life inside of me is growing and changing too.

I think another way the Lord has been molding me during this season is by pressing on me to let go of my fear of the future. The study my small group is going through right now is “Loving God With All Your Mind,” and in so many ways this study has gently and at times bluntly reminded me of God’s promises and command for me to not worry about the future and to think on things that are real and true, and happening right now. A verse that has reminded me of God’s grace during this time of transition has been

Matthew 6:34, which says  “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

This verse has offered such comfort during this new season, because it is a  c o m m a n d  from my sovereign God to not worry about all of these new things that are coming. God wants me to focus on today alone and tend to the things in my life that are happening now. He wants me to think on things that are real and true, not the future which is not real or true, because it hasn’t even happened yet! I think this verse also ties in with our verse we are pondering over today from Philippians 4 when Paul says, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” God is reminding us through this verse to find the little joys, the daily victories (no matter how big or small), to find the current, present, right here/right now situation or season we are in and to BE content.

To be fully aware and fully peaceful at the same time, because God is in control of it all.

Shortly after this verse, Paul goes on to say, “In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:12-13). So in order to be content- to be fully at peace, unworried, untroubled, satisfied even, in our current “hats” we are all wearing, we need to remember who has placed us in this season. I need to remember that my sovereign, loving, all-knowing, all-powerful, mercy-filled, unshakeable God is guiding me through this “hat” that he’s given me to wear and that He is using this season of my life for His glory.

My hope for each and every one of you reading this is that no matter what “hat” God has given you to wear right now in your life, whether that’s singleness, being newly married, transitioning into motherhood (for the first time or 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th time), or any other hat you’ve got on today, is that you would

rest in God’s beautiful promises that you CAN do all of these things he’s calling you to do and be right now, because He is in control of it all, and He is your strength.

Without His help, we cannot find true contentment. So, my prayer for you is that God would help us all to find true contentment in the hat that He’s given us to wear and that in doing so, He would get all the praise and all the glory.

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