9 Steps Toward Contentment

Psalm 145-18, MEME

The Bible says that God is approachable. I don’t need emotional or physical proof to know it’s true because I believe God isn’t a liar.
But, what does it look like to approach God when His word tells you something is possible, such as being content, when you don’t like what’s happening around you?

My guess is that we all approach God in different ways during our personal time with Him. I approach Him through letter writing in my journal. I call it devotional journaling because my goal is more than a record of my thoughts and feelings. I wrote this letter to God because I wanted to know His thoughts about contentment. He gave me some useful insights afterward when I read Psalm 9. I hope His insights will encourage you as much as they did me.

Dear Father,

Today I’m thinking about what it looks like to be content during extreme blessing or death defying suffering. I wonder what contentment ought to be since Your word suggests it is a good thing — so God,  Why is it good to be content during suffering?

My answer so far is that every circumstance, whether blessing or suffering, is an opportunity to

  • grow in Christlikeness.
  • accept You as Lord over all.
  • gain sight into my thinking and how far off it is to Yours.
  • lay down my desires.
  • be cleansed of sin.
  • experience you as a loving Father.

Before I dig into Your word I need a definition of contentment. Is it being satisfied with what’s happening? Or maybe its an acceptance of a situation I can’t change. Webster says it means the state of being happy and satisfied.

That really doesn’t help me, Lord, because I don’t know how to be happy while I’m suffering. In my imagination I think of the kind of contentment you talk about as a peaceful resolve that includes my feelings of grief, disappointment, sadness, anxiety and so forth, not an absence of human emotion. To me the resolve is that You, my Father, know what’s best, you are good, faithful, trustworthy and approachable. This I can be happy about no matter what is going on around me. If this is what contentment looks like during extreme blessing or any kind of suffering, then how can I grow into this kind of person, especially when life is so painful and trying as it is right now?

After writing this letter to God I read Psalm 9, although I think you can find the answer to this question in many places in the Bible. This psalm just happened to be on my reading schedule today. I think I found some answers to my question. Psalm 9 indicates that we can take action and become content when life is so hard and feels out of control.

  1. Give thanks with my whole heart. (v1)
  2. Think about all of the wonderful things He has done. (v1)
  3. Sing Praises to God. (v2)
  4. Remember who God is; our King, Lord and Judge. (v7)
  5. Consider the implications that God is our protector and He can be trusted. (v9-10)
  6. Ask for God’s help. (v13)
  7. Ask God to pay attention to what’s going on and save us. (v13)
  8. Ponder what it means to know there is an end to all suffering. (v16-18)
  9. Ask God to bring that ending where everyone will know His REAL name. (v19-20)

I am so grateful that God is approachable — otherwise, I couldn’t find peace or contentment during the storm.

What makes you feel like you can approach God with anything?

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