Contentment, Contentment: What Does It Take to Live With Contentment?, Grace, Relationship, Uncategorized

Contentment: What Does It Take to Live With Contentment?

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By Jeanne Takenaka

When we were deep into our walk in infertility, I struggled with discontentment, I yearned for a child weighting down my arms down. A wee one to nurture. It became my daily—no, hourly—prayer. My cry when my body revealed I was not pregnant. The sorrow and grief of being denied what my heart was designed to yearn for about broke me.

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I came to the place where having a child was a greater desire than seeking God’s will for me. I questioned Him about His love for me. Did He really love me if He denied me this one desire?

Recently, I was reading in Psalm 78. A verse struck me in a way I hadn’t read it before:

Verse 18 says: “And in their heart they put God to the test by asking food according to their desire.” (NASB)

That whole “asking according to their desire” thing convicted me.

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Did the Israelites ask because they weren’t satisfied with God’s provision for them? He provided food every day in the desert. They didn’t have to cook it or store it or lug it from place to place. It simply . . . appeared. Every morning. All they had to do was go gather it.

Were they just willful and selfish in their core? Was this why they desired what they wanted over what God wanted?

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Contentment with God’s provision is sometimes hard, and it’s always a choice. When we set our hearts on something outside God’s provision we become frustrated and unhappy. Discontentment will reign in our heart and our thoughts.

Was I putting God to the test when I strived with Him for a baby? Probably.

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The amazing thing is in that season, He lavished His grace on me. He called me up short when I questioned His love, but He didn’t stop loving me. He reminded me that He loves me completely, passionately and perfectly

Once I embraced that truth, it was easier to trust His plan for our family. Whether or not it included children.

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When we trust that what God provides is enough, then we can walk in contentment. This requires us to trust that He knows what we need, that He’s given us enough for this moment.

I learned much during that season of my life. One hard-to-accept lesson was embracing contentment in the place of wanting.

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God is in that place, providing all we require. Sometimes we need to re-evaluate our desires and see if they line up with His desires for us. When they don’t can we yield, choose to believe His provision is enough and trust Him?

What about you? When have you walked through a season of desiring something God withheld? How did you handle it? Do you think it’s necessary to trust God’s provision to know contentment?

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24 thoughts on “Contentment: What Does It Take to Live With Contentment?”

  1. One time my dad told me, “Be careful what you pray for.” I won’t go into all of the details, but there have been times when his words came back to me. They slowed me down to consider what I was about to pray. God knows the longings in my heart. I’m trying to learn to ask and then say, “Thy Will be done.” I’m learning to trust God and let him know that I’m trusting him for the best possible outcome.

    Great post Jeanne. I’m so glad I stopped by.

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    1. I love that idea—considering what we pray for before we pray. Your dad is a wise man. I’m learning to ask for and accept God’s will as well in my life.

      “I’m trusting Him for the best possible outcome.” Great perspective, Jackie!

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  2. This post is exactly what I’m struggling with in my daily devotional. Young folks close to us are divorcing–we’ve prayed and prayed about their marriage — yet we get not only unanswered prayer, but the opposite of what we’ve been praying for. It is hard to trust that this is the best answer — for them, for their children?
    But how to receive this answer with contentment? Yesterday the pastor said Prayer is not meant for us to use God as an errand boy. Ouch. Our own desires are one thing, but what about when they are good desires for others? Still struggling here…
    Beautifully written–thanks! (I’m constantly amazed at how God puts what we need in front of us — why should that amaze me?) 🙂

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    1. I am truly sorry to hear about the couple choosing divorce. That is truly heartbreaking. You know how it is, we are human. And sometimes we choose less than God’s best. And God allows us to do that. He doesn’t love us less, but He can work through choices and redeem them.

      I can see why this is a struggle. I’m praying for you and for this couple today. I’m so glad you stopped by!

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  3. I used to see contentment at being happy with life as a whole. I had a problem with that – I always wanted more.

    Then I saw contentment at life where no one’s actively trying to kill you. That led me to a better understanding of the concept.

    I finally learned about true contentment in the magic of defilade – the position in which, even if they’re shooting at you, they can’t hit you with direct fire. It’s such a nice, warm-fuzzy feeling to hear the bullets going past, knowing that they can snap and hiss all they want but that they can never touch you. A bit like being in a snug mountain cabin during a storm.

    You just hope they don’t bring up the mortars, but until they do…in defilade lies contentment.

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    1. Your word picture made me smile. I saw a picture of contentment and confidence that you were safe within your fortification. There’s definitely contentment in that place, especially when we’re looking to God, trusting Him.

      Here’s praying no life-mortars hit your day, Andrew.

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    1. I appreciate your thoughts, Lisa. It often helps to look outside ourselves to help us choose contentment. And yes, that trusting God knows best? That’s a daily choice, isn’t it? Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  4. I love this. Beautifully written and thought-provoking. This line, especially: “embracing contentment in the place of wanting.” Isn’t this just where He takes us? Prying our fingers away from all things so that He can prove to us, over and over again, that He is all we really need. Thanks so much for your ministry of words.

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    1. You’re right, Karen. Sometimes it’s hard to pry my fingers off of something because I want it so much. But, I’m slowly learning that God is trustworthy and that He really does want the best for me, and for all His kids. When we want Him more than anything else, I think that’s when peace fills us.

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  5. “Contentment with God’s provision is sometimes hard, and it’s always a choice.” How very true this is. It’s so easy to look around at all that is wrong or that we don’t like and become discontent so easily. How much better to look at the good and be grateful for what we do have. Being content is a struggle, but it brings peace when we stop struggling.

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    1. Good words, Gayl! Looking at the good God’s already given us is a great way to stay in a place of contentment. And yes, that will bring peace. Thanks for adding to the conversation!

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  6. It’s hard though isn’t it. I’m working through this right now. I want a situation to go the way I want it yet I know I have to trust that God sees the bigger picture. Not easy though

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    1. It’s need easy when our hearts are involved, is it Sara? Trusting that God will do what’s best and fearing it’s not what we want is hard to balance sometimes. But when we trust Him, it makes it easier to keep our hearts calm. Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. Jeanne, this speaks so much to my heart, “Contentment with God’s provision is sometimes hard, and it’s always a choice.” It’s always a choice. Yes! And a choice I have a hard time making so many times. I am completely selfish at my core and learning to trust God and obey His lead has been a hard row to hoe for me. Your heart and your story is beautiful. Thank you for sharing! xoxo, Meredith

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  8. That tension between believing that God places desires in our hearts and learning to trust, wait, and live life with open hands…. Thank you for such beautiful honesty. I’m reflecting on ways I have fought against God rather than trusting and believing in his plan.

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    1. Believe me, Annie. I have to evaluate my life, heart, thoughts, often to see if I’m insisting on my desires. 😉 I’m so thankful for His patience and grace toward me. 🙂

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  9. I love your vulnerability Jeanne! You are so real. I believe few have lived any years and not faced situations that bring discontentment. Amazing how good our God is! How much He truly loves us! That is the solution to discontentment, aye; trust in the almighty love of a Savior who suffered torture and died in our place. Can we trust enough to overcome our fleshly desires? He really does want whats best for us.

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  10. Jeanne, I love your phrase ’embracing contentment in the place of wanting’. I experienced 12 yrs of infertility before we had our children, and (like you) I learned so much during that painful valley. Thank you for reminding me that I can apply these same lessons learned on the writing journey as I edit and hope for the birth of a published novel. We can trust in God’s timing–in everything.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

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    1. Wendy, there are many lessons we learn walking through infertility that also apply to our writing journey. It’s all in God’s timing. I’m learning the journey is easier when I choose contentment rather than focusing on that which is beyond my control right now. 🙂 I, too, hope for the birth of a published novel one of these days. 🙂 We can encourage each other in this. 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

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