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 do all this through him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:11-13 NIV).
Friend to Friend
I know, that’s not something I should admit in polite company. Let me explain…
I love to get up in the morning and curl up next to the fire with a cup of coffee and my Bible, our dog Moose beside me. It’s the perfect way to go from cozy bed to cozy couch, with the addition of caffeine and canine company.
But when it’s time to shower, everything else must be put into action: go get the clothes, take the shower, get dressed, do my hair and makeup, make breakfast, and finally sit at my desk. The shower signifies a shift to the less cozy part of my day. Admittedly, it’s a small thing, but it’s still a thing.
This winter, a storm knocked out power for fourteen days. We have a generator, but our propane company had delayed delivery. With an eighteen percent-full tank, we could only run the generator a few minutes at a time.
We planned our water usage and rationed showers. Suddenly, the dreaded chore became something I looked forward to. I set out body wash and shampoo, towel, washcloth, and clothes, then found music to listen to. It was a whole, five-minute shower event.
And here’s the funny thing – the shower didn’t change – but my attitude did. Instead of an interruption to my day, it became a gift.
So how do I – how do we – turn those irritating interruptions into welcome invitations?
I think about Paul’s letter from prison to the Philippians.
“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 do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:11-13 NIV).
Like Paul, I can’t always change my circumstances, but I can always work on changing my perspective.
And the most valuable tool in my perspective belt is gratitude.
One of the best ways to do this is to reframe my speech.
I consciously work on replacing the words “have to” with “get to” and add the part that I’m grateful for when I’m talking to my husband or someone else.
Instead of “I have to do the dishes,” I say, “I get to do the dishes in the dishwasher.”
Instead of “I have to work today,” I say, “I get to work today at a job I mostly love.”
Instead of “I have to cook dinner,” I say, “I get to cook dinner with fresh, healthy, and delicious ingredients.”
Because, friend, I have done dishes without a dishwasher. I have worked at a job that was disheartening to go to every day. I have been in a place where I couldn’t afford ingredients we enjoyed eating. And I know that there will be times in my life when those situations come up again. So, while learning to be content in every situation, I will speak the part I’m grateful for.
And on the day I don’t have a dishwasher to do dishes? I will be grateful for the dishes I have (or, even better, paper plates).
Because in every circumstance, there is something to be grateful for.
A life of seeking gratitude is a life of contentment. Because we can’t always change our circumstances, but we can always change how we respond to those circumstances.
What area of your life do you need to seek contentment? How can you be grateful in that less-than-ideal circumstance?
Dear Lord, Help me to remember to be grateful even in uncomfortable situations. Give me strength as I learn to be content in all circumstances.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Paul lived a contented life through God, who gave him strength. In what circumstances have you seen God give you an extra measure of strength? If you’re in an uncomfortable situation right now, what’s one aspect you can be grateful for? Click below to let us know in the comments.
More from the Girlfriends
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