Recently I read a quote from Priscilla Shirer. It is from her book The Resolution for Women. It hit me square in the eye. You see, contentment is something I have struggled with for a while. Let me back up and give a little history. When we were pastors, it seemed there was always something greater to strive for, always something to go after or achieve after reaching the current achievement. In the church, especially in leadership, it is difficult to have contentment, which is sad. I don't believe that is what Christ wanted for the church. I don't believe He wanted there to be this need for numbers, this desire for the best programming, this quest for acceptance, the question of whether we were "good enough." So, back to the quote. Here it is:
"Contentment is the equilibrium between the enjoyment of life now and the anticipation of what is to come. Contentment serves as a guard against desires gone wild. It is the key to unlock you from the bondage of unrestrained longing that wells up within your heart and inevitably begins to control your life, making you a slave to what you don't have instead of a fully engaged participant with what you do.
By choosing contentment, you're not getting rid of your desires; you're just demanding they assume an appropriate, humble position in your life, not bossing you around like a tyrannical dictator forcing you to submit to his ever-growing and ever-changing list of demands."
Read that line again. Discontentment makes you a slave to what you DON'T have instead of a fully engage participant with what you DO.
See, in this new life we have been experiencing since the end of August, we immediately found contentment. We chose to trust that the choice we made in walking away was what the Lord wanted. We deeply felt that He was saying to us, "You have tried enough. You have done enough. Walk away and shake the dust off of your feet. You are released, and I have you in the palm of My hand." So we leapt. Was it scary at times? Yes, but we make the conscious choice to trust. Was I prone to worry and be anxious? Yes, but I made the conscious choice to trust. Did we get discouraged? Yes, but we made the conscious choice to trust. We taught our children more about trust and the faithfulness of God in that month of unemployment that we would have in a lifetime of being a pastor's family.
We have learned to be fully engaged and aware of the blessings from the Lord. We look at each day and live wholly in what it has to offer. We are incredibly a better family. We are content that my husband is employed. Is the salary anywhere near what he was making as a pastor? Nope. But it is enough. Does he have the flexibility that he had as a pastor? Nope. But we are way more conscious of how we spend our evenings and weekends together than we did before. Instead of going to church, wondering why attendance is what it is, or why this person didn't speak, instead of submitting ourselves to "ever growing and ever changing sets of demands," we are attending church, worshiping the Lord with no boundaries.
Contentment has been a great thing to discover. May we never go back to that place of not being able to recognize what we have been given.