Contentment: Baby Steps

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I’ve spent a lot of my life pining away for “the next thing”. Driver’s license, college, a relationship, marriage…isn’t there always something more to want? I fought uphill battles to hang onto contentment, and lost many of them. Maybe it’s all those failures that are making this current victory in Jesus so sweet.

Granted, I have countless undeserved blessings to enjoy. Yet because the human heart seems to default to craving just one more thing, I could still find myself unsatisfied even in the midst of this wonderful life. Praise be to Him and Him alone, the lessons He taught me through past struggles seem to finally be sinking into this stubborn heart, and I am learning to go to Jesus with every longing, rather than to people, things, and circumstances.

Many of my “young married friends” are having babies. We’ve been married over two years, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I were struggling with a desire for children. Yet while I am very much looking forward to Lord-willing reaching that step one day, I am so completely content with our family of two. I thank God for that, because the old Abigail of a few years ago would most certainly be in the pining stages at this point. God has grown me in appreciating the beauty and preciousness of right now and the enjoyment of my Savior that is missed when my heart gets distracted with what I do not yet have. It’s tremendously freeing to settle into His plan and leave the future up to Him. (After all, it’s up to Him regardless, isn’t it?)

I am also very grateful to the Lord for peace about moving away. It takes but a moment of pondering August’s goodbyes and my eyes are brimming, it is true. But the soul can be joyful and sad all at the same time. My fleshly self wants desperately to live in the Pacific Northwest forever, growing our roots here, enjoying the comforts and security of family, friends, familiarity, and a church we know and love. It is a safe place. It is all I have known. It is home. But God is calling us outside of our box to something different, and in His love and mercy, He has faithfully prepared my heart to let go of a dream I’ve wanted so badly to cling to.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: God’s timing and work is clearly sovereign and perfect. Had He placed me in the position I’m in now (waiting for children and moving away) a year or two ago, my reaction could have been pretty ugly. But He has been molding me to be ready for this season of life, and He has not given me more than I can handle in His boundless grace.

It is encouraging to look back and see the growth He has brought about in me. It gives me great hope for all the sin and shortcomings that I’m still wallowing in today. I trust Him to show me progress in those areas, in time, as well. Slowly, I am becoming Who I already am in Him. I believe that He who began a good work in me will be faithful to continue that good work until it is perfected. (Phil. 1:6) I am seeing that promise in action.

Lest this post imply otherwise, I am not of the opinion that I can cross contentment off my “spiritual list”  now. It’s one of those areas that I know I’ll always need to beg the Lord to help me with, and I’ve certainly not mastered it, nor will I ever this side of Heaven. Baby steps have been taken, and more will be needed as we journey on, He and I, together.

Much to be written on this subject in future posts, specifically regarding what constitutes contentment for the believer. In a word, it is Jesus. But what does that look like? We’ll explore His truth together. To God be all the glory, great things He has done!

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Return, O LORD! How long? Have pity on your servants! Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” (Psalm 90:12-14)

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