One of life’s lessons I learned in middle age was that I needed to choose to be content with my circumstances and it was one of those lessons I felt led to share with other women during my blogging break of just being still.
I wrote in yesterday’s post how I finally listened and obeyed the nudge that God was giving me to lead a women’s Bible study in my home. The topic I chose for us to study was learning how to be content. Not an easy task in this world where we compare everyone to ourselves.
“I wish I was thin like she is.”
“Oh, why can’t I be successful or have a perfect life like her?”
“If only this or that hadn’t happened to me, I’d be so much happier.”
“A bigger house, car, bank account, etc. would make me feel content.”
I imagine every woman may have had those thoughts at one time or other in her life and maybe even voiced them out loud.
One sure-fire way we show our discontent is by complaining.
“That cashier was so slow scanning my purchases at the grocery store today, it took up too much of my time!”
“This weather stinks, why does it have to rain so much (or be so hot, or be too cold)?
“My husband never puts his dirty socks in the hamper and I’m sick of it!”
“Just once I wish my kids would do what I tell them!”
We open our mouths and all that comes out are complaints about everything. Nothing suits us. Nothing satisfies us. And that’s one of the issues we worked on during our Bible study sessions.
We found that God’s Word admonishes us to be careful about the words that come out of our mouths. And we learned that the Apostle Paul gave us the secret to contentment in Philippians 4:11-13: “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 can everything through him who gives me strength.” (New International Version)
It doesn’t mean we fake it. It doesn’t mean we act like nothing’s wrong when something is very wrong. But it does mean we find balance.
We realize life on earth will never be perfect but God promises to get us through the hard stuff. Our part is to pray, trust Him, and give sacrifices of thanksgiving to Him for what He’s helping us through in life, no matter what.
We choose our attitudes.
We choose to give our anxieties to God. We choose to pray specifically. We choose to be thankful. We choose to dwell on the positive. And we choose not to complain.
Every week, I offered practical ways to apply what we learned to our lives and used some kind of concrete example to help us remember what we talked about during our studies.
To help curb our complaining attitudes, I encouraged each woman to take a button home to remind her to button her lip every time she was tempted to complain.
I found I had to use that button more times than not myself. I changed my outlook from dwelling on the negative to choosing to find something for which to be thankful.
Sometimes, the teacher learns just as much if not more than the student. Just one of the aspects of life I was reminded of during my time of being still.
“Two men looked out from prison bars. One saw mud, the other saw stars.” ~ Dale Carnegie