The truth is when Kate asked me to write this post I was actually really excited and then I started thinking about it. You see I have never been the most confident person. I'm sure I am the only woman who has ever struggled with this (sarcasm) but I started thinking about my writing abilities and comparing myself to my made up/messed up expectations others would have of me. That’s when I realized I do not have anything special to share with you that I have done. I alone have done nothing. All good in me comes from my father in heaven. Like the other wonderful women have told you this week our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the only one to receive praise and today I am going to be sharing with you the AMAZING things He has done in my life.
Unlike my dear friend Katie, I grew up as an only child. My dad worked in the restaurant business which meant he worked nights and so Sunday mornings were spent with my parents in bed and me watching tv. We only went to church on holidays and a couple of other times a year. I did not grow up in church. My parents are believers so I had heard about Jesus and God but I did not know him. For a period of time in high school, I moved in with my uncle and aunt while my mom went into the hospital to get help with her depression. Like I said, my dad worked nights so it was best for me to stay with family for a while.
During this time my aunt and uncle brought me to church. I was out of my mind nervous. My aunt and I walked to the youth area where we were shown the room for my age group of girls and there was this spunky girl my age named Katie who couldn’t have been more excited to meet me and welcome to me the class. (Yes the Kate we all know and love from this very blog) From that moment my anxiety was gone. The Lord put Katie in that room to calm my heart so that I would be open to hear his word and that I would be willing to come back. The Lord knows exactly what you need WAY before you know it. He knew I needed new friends but more importantly he know I needed HIM.
Despite the Lord clearly providing the friends I needed and his presence in life, I still was not content with my life. I was a young teenager who was doing things that teenagers shouldn’t be doing. I was hurting from being away from my parents. I was hurting for my mother and the pain she was going through. I was in need of comfort. I was in need of peace. I was in need of a savior. Instead of finding my contentment in the Lord, I tried to find it in the things of this world. The next few months were very difficult. I was having a battle between my sin and accepting Jesus. My world was so unstable and I was so broken, but I was unwilling to give up control. When I finally did.. Jesus took on my every burden, he claimed me as his own, he heard my prayers and he gave me a peace that surpasses all understanding.
Philippians 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:11-12 "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."
I wish I could tell you from that moment on I walked side by side with Jesus in every decision I made, and that I was absolutely content with my life, but since we are being real, that’s not what always happened. I would look at my past and look to some of my friends who did not know Jesus and Satan would lie to me and tell me I was missing something. I would see how much “fun” they were having and how exciting their lives appeared to be. I would look at these people and compare myself coming to the conclusion that my life was dull or unimportant. I was not content. I would turn away from God and focus on myself and my popularity. I started spending more and more time with these people. I made bad decisions and hurt people who loved me. But the times I would stray away there was nothing there but emptiness and more lack of contentment. Since my eyes and desires were not focused on Him or His will then there was room for sin to creep into my life. The world may appear to be this fabulous place and make us want to live some outrageous lifestyles but friends hear me please, there is nowhere else you will find peace and contentment like you will with Jesus. He is all we need. Not just sometimes. Not just when things get hard, not just on holidays, we NEED Jesus every second, of every minute, of every day.
When we look to this world or ourselves or other people for satisfaction or happiness, we will always, always be left empty. We are saying that what Christ did on the cross, His death for you and me, was not enough. We will be left alone and broken time and time again. However, when we start finding our contentment in Christ and what He did for us, when we put our identity in him, when we find our Joy in Him… we will be COMPLETELY satisfied. It's the greatest joy to be known- The Joy of Christ. As Christians we have to make the choice to walk with Jesus every day. We must be in prayer, we must spend time with fellow believers, and we must spend time in the word. We must find our contentment in Jesus.
His will for our lives is greater than any American dream we have made for ourselves. As believers we are here to bring honor and glory to his name. As women we so often seek others’ approval when the only approval we need is from Christ. We should find our self-worth in him and not our outward appearance, the amount of money we make, or the attention we so often seek from our peers. Jesus gave His own life by dying on the cross; that alone should tell us how truly valuable we are. Some of the greatest blessings in my life have happened after long and hard fights between my will and His. I wanted to stay in control of what happened but the moment I laid down my pride and gave it to Jesus he took my doubts and fears away. He has always had far greater plans for me than I could have planned. He has blessed me with a loving husband, a supportive family, a faithful church family, a great job, and precious friends. There is freedom in Jesus.
Stop thinking "I'll be content when…
I have a boyfriend
I finish school
I have my career
I have children
I can live the way I want to
etc, etc, etc, etc"
because I promise every time you achieve one of those things, you won't be content. You'll start looking forward to the next stage of life. It's a never ending cycle if you don't STOP and be content in where the Lord has you now!! Repent of thinking that He isn't enough, and Repent of thinking that where He has you for the time being isn't good enough for you. Trust in His perfect will and timing.
Find your Joy, Peace, Happiness, and Contentment in Jesus. All other things or people will fail you. I can guarantee it
1 Timothy 6:6-7
"But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world."