Trust: A Measure of Contentment

Trust as a Measure of Contentment

I’ve recently discovered a wonderful app for my iPhone called “Abide.” It is designed to help people experience the peace of Christ through Biblical meditation and guided prayer.

As I reflected upon the concept of contentment, I was reminded about one of the meditations in the app. The verse for the day was Psalm 37:4 which says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” It’s a familiar verse, but I was floored when the host flipped it and asked a question for reflection and confession: Is there something for which you are not delighting in the Lord?

Whoa.

I had never thought of it like that. There were actually quite a few things breeding discontent at that moment, and I was convicted.

Upon reflection, I’ve come to believe that delight and content are related: We are only able to take delight in the Lord when we are content.

So, what is contentment? What are the similarities and differences between people who are content and those who are not? Do they have anything in common? Is there a pattern?

Some would assume the line between content and discontent would fall upon economic lines or age differentials or any number of sociological variables. But it doesn’t.

The fact is, you’re just as likely to find a content minority woman living in poverty as you are a discontent rich, white man living in Beverly Hills.

Right?

We all know it’s true, and yet somehow, we still mistakenly assume contentedness is a byproduct of achievement, economic success, and maybe even luck. For example, we are shocked to learn that someone who was well-off financially, fabulously famous, and adored by fans all over the world was so discontent with his life that he did the unthinkable. Yet, we are inspired to learn that someone who had absolutely no financial means, who was known only to her family and friends was so content in her life that she impacted many for good.

So, how does one gain contentment? What are the five steps to contentment that I should take so I can get on with living my content little life?

What if I told you contentment is nothing that can be achieved. Instead, it is the product of mature faith and deep trust. The only way to truly find contentment is to work on your ability to trust the Lord with EVERYTHING.

Got that? One does achieve contentment.

Contentment grows in proportion to trust. The more you trust God, the more content you become. The less you trust Him, the more discontent you are.

Put another way, your level of discontent betrays your mistrust of the Lord.

Let that sink in for a moment.

What this means is that our discontent is a sign not to blame or shame, but to take a fresh look at our relationship with the Lord. Do we trust Him or not?

Contentedness is directly connected to your confidence that God is who He says He is and that He can and will do what He says He will do. Period. Full stop.

For example, the discontent person will compare her situation with another’s focusing on differences always striving to measure up. The content person will notice the same differences and celebrate them wholeheartedly.

The discontent person will covet another’s possessions always striving for more things; whereas, the content person cherishes what she has because she knows from whom it came.

The discontent person will focus on what other people think always striving to please people with a resentful “yes” or frustrated “no,” but the content person communicates healthy boundaries with complete freedom to say yes and no because her contentment comes from being who God created her to be.

Are the differences really that clear cut? I say yes. Yes, they are. Which is great for us, because all we have to do is slow down and pay attention to our thoughts.

If we are focused on what we don’t have or didn’t receive, what we can’t have or can’t acquire, we are discontent.

Discontentment robs us of God’s most precious gift: peace.

Ironically, discontentment alerts us that there’s a problem while pointing us towards the solution. When we recognize the seed of discontent beginning to sprout (or maybe it’s taken root), all we have to do is turn our heart heavenward.

When we remind ourselves that God is in control and that He knows what we need better than we do and when we confess our discontent to Him, He is faithful to forgive and bring peace and contentment as only He can.

When we cry out to God to meet our deepest needs and sincerely place our trust in His plan/timing/purpose, He will fill us with His peace. We will be content. You can count on it.

Originally posted on “Rooted at the Throne” hosted by Rachael Carman. 

“Whispers of Rest” by Gray

Book Review: Whispers of Rest

❤️ I. Love. This. Book. ❤️

Whispers of Rest: 40 Days of God’s Love to Revitalize Your Soul by Bonnie Gray provides everything you need for enriching, in-depth, daily—but never dreary—quality time with the Lord. It is beautifully written and immediately draws you into a quiet space where they are beckoned to come and rest in Him.

When Jesus calls us into deeper intimacy, he says, ‘Don’t be afraid. I will do it with you.’ Jesus calls us to leave behind our ‘nets’ of competence and instead experience being the Beloved—with him. Will you say yes to this new journey?”

40 Days to Revitalize Your Spiritual Life

The book is organized as a 40-day experience during which you will read Scripture, reflect, practice a variety of spiritual disciplines, journal, and reduce stress by taking simple soul care actions.

Using this guidebook, you will experience greater peace and discover who God truly made you to be—His Beloved. You will hear God’s voice in new ways, experience His love intimately, and revitalize your soul using simple tools of soul care to refresh your body and spirit.” (Introduction, p. xv)

Whispers of Rest is divided up into six sections designed to help the reader to more clearly understand and experience what it means to be God’s Beloved:

  • Being the Beloved
  • Choosing as the Beloved
  • Dreaming as the Beloved
  • Healing as the Beloved
  • Daring as the Beloved
  • Shining as the Beloved

Within each section are six to seven individual chapters (you will read one per day for 40 days) focused on that specific topic. The chapters follow the same format and can be completed all at once or over time for those who would rather work at a slower pace. 

It’s Like a Well-Balanced Meal for the Soul

Each day in Whispers of Rest is like a well-balanced meal for the soul. By the time you finish 40 days, you will have dropped a few pounds of emotional baggage, toned your faith muscles, and even your friends will notice you’ve had a countenance lift. Stick with the program, and you will experience the most incredible result of all: a more intimate walk with the Lord. 

  • Each day’s reading begins with a brief passage of Scripture followed by an inspirational quote and a brief introduction to that day’s theme.
  • Next, you will “Read God’s Story” in your Bible (or Bible app) as well as a personal reflection on the passage.
  • After reflecting on the passage, you will slow down and listen to “God’s Whispers to You” based on His Word.
  • “A Prayer for Today” offers both Scripture and a short prayer as you begin to apply what you’ve studied.
  • Then, it’s time to “Reflect on Your Story.” This is when you grab your journal and answer a few questions to help you examine your heart and take practical steps to make any necessary changes in your behavior or attitude.
  • Following this time of reflection, you will “Pray and Rest” as you practice a spiritual discipline which is described in detail for you. I love this, because Whispers of Rest exposes the reader to a variety of disciplines which have been practiced by Christians for centuries. Practicing spiritual disciplines such as the One Word Prayer, Self-Examen, Lectio Divina, Meditation, etc. intentionally makes space for God to transform our hearts and our lives.
  • Each day ends with a “challenge” and an opportunity to do some soul care which could be journaling, a nature walk, coloring a picture, or something else.

Whispers of Rest delivers on it’s promise to revitalize the soul. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in having a more stable, rich, and fulfilling spiritual life.You can order it here.

We’re invited to come to him weary—whether confused, numb, anxious, angry, or stressed. Jesus tells us to simply come. Imperfectly his. As we are.” 

BONUS RESOURCES: When you sign-up for Bonnie’s newsletter (here), you will have access to a number of FREE resources including videos, journaling pages, and coloring pages. ?❤️?️

Bonnie Gray, AuthorBonnie Gray is a prolific author whose writing is featured in Relevant Magazine, DaySpring (in)courage, and Christianity Today. She is a popular speaker and retreat leader who touches lives through storytelling, visual arts, nature, prayer, and Christ-centered meditation.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Life Is Like a Box of Puzzle Pieces

Life is like a box of puzzle pieces

Are you someone who enjoys assembling jigsaw puzzles? If so, do you top out at 500 pieces, or are you a glutton for punishment preferring 1000+? I’m not a jigsaw fanatic, but I enjoy working on a good puzzle every now and then. My favorite moment in the puzzling process occurs when I finally locate a piece that has been eluding me, setting off a string of easy matches.

Image result for thomas moran grand canyon with rainbow
Pretty sure this is the one we bought.

My mother-in-law loves “puzzling,” and has framed a couple of the more beautiful puzzles she’s completed over the years. When we were at the Grand Canyon a few years ago, we purchased a stunning 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle for her as a souvenir. The image was an artist’s rendering of a view from the South Rim overlooking the Canyon at sunset. It was gorgeous! If you close your eyes, you can probably imagine what it looked like; however, I seriously doubt that you would attempt this puzzle without the box right in front of you. Most puzzlers refer to the picture on the box repeatedly to make sure they are headed in the right direction.

So, what if I were to tell you that life is more like a box of puzzle pieces than a box of chocolates? It is. Not only do you “never know what you’re gonna get,” but neither will one bite help you figure it out! You just have to live it. One funky-cut piece at a time. 

Click here to continue reading this
devotional reflection on GOD’S PROVISION at
Rooted at the Throne” hosted by Rachael Carman. 

Insights: A Prophecy of Pentecost?

Insights from the Word

As often happens when studying various passages of Scripture simultaneously, the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to new insights and correlations. It’s no wonder we say that the Word is alive!

I’m currently leading a weekly in-depth, verse-by-verse study of the book of Acts at my church, and for my own personal study and reflection, I am reading through the book of Isaiah. I love the juxtaposition of studying both Old and New Testament books at the same time. It’s like ham and eggs—different, but complementary! This morning, however, I ate an omelet!

Lemme ‘splain! No, there is too much… Lemme sum up:

A couple of days ago, I taught on the arrival of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:1-13. We observed that there were three external signs given to Jesus’ disciples as sensory evidence of the internal arrival and infilling of the Holy Spirit: Sound. Sight. Words.

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Acts 2:1-4

Insights from the Word

This morning I read Isaiah 32 which contains prophetic words concerning the “Kingdom of Righteousness” as well as a warning to the “women of Jerusalem.” Isaiah 32:1 says, “See, a king will reign in righteousness, and rulers will rule with justice.” This could be interpreted as a Messianic prophecy.

Then the eyes of them who see will no longer be closed,
and the ears of those who hear will listen.
The fearful heart will know and understand,
and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear.
Isaiah 32:3-4

I realize this is plucking a verse out of context; therefore, I am not going to force this to mean something it doesn’t. But there is no denying a strong correlation between the two passages: Sight. Sound. Words. And something happening internally—an increase of knowledge and understanding.

Was this a prophecy fulfilled at Pentecost? Possibly. One could postulate that the “king reigning in righteousness” is Jesus and that the “rulers ruling with justice” are the Twelve apostles sitting on thrones at the renewal of all things (cf. Matthew 19:28). Or, it’s just as possible that this prophecy has nothing to do with Pentecost.

Either way, though, these verses in Isaiah describe what happens when we receive and are filled with the Holy Spirit: We see things more clearly. We hear the Lord. We know and understand Him and His Word. And we are given words to speak the truth clearly to those who the Lord brings our way.

Amen, and amen.