We'll all say that word a lot this week; "What are you doing for Thanksgiving?" "Did you have a good Thanksgiving?"
I love Thanksgiving, the food, the conversation, the memories and the gateway to the Christmas season. At the same time this holiday gets me thinking about thanksgiving itself -- not the holiday, but the state of being.
Paul tells us -- through the letter he wrote to Christians 2,000 years ago and passed down to us -- that he has learned to be content in every and any circumstance, learned in fact the secret of a contentment that is not dependent upon circumstances.
Are you thankful? Are you content?
Imagine your life if you could say the same thing Paul said? Imagine your life if you could say that you were content (gratified, happy, pleased, satisfied) regardless of how things were going for you. Notice what Paul says about how he got where he was: he learned it. To me that says process. It says time. It says trial and error. It says that at one point Paul didn't have contentment in good and difficult circumstances alike. Maybe there was a time when Paul was anxious in a bad circumstance and he really gave it to God, really experienced the peace that he talks about and then . . . he was anxious again. And then he tried it again and then ... he was anxious again -- only this time it was a little longer period of peace. Maybe he kept trying to trust God with success and with failure and with grace. And in the process, he learned the secret of being content in good and bad times. He learned the secret by experience, by trial and error, soaked in grace. And his reward? Contentment all the time.
I don't think I will ever get there this side of heaven -- all the time -- but I certainly want to try. I want to see how far I can get. I want to experience the commands, "rejoice" and "don't be anxious," as realities in my life, more and more. I'm convinced that the secret of thanksgiving is contentment, the secret of freedom is contentment, the secret of everything is contentment. If I were content in all circumstances, would I get angry when things went against me? Would I be hesitant to step into things that God calls me to but might disrupt my life? Would I hold a grudge against someone who has not earned the right to be forgiven? The list could go on and on; if I were content in all circumstances, all of the things that keep me from experiencing the abundant life and modeling that life would drop away like dying leaves from a tree. I'd be free.
Are you thankful?
Are you content?
Do you want to be?
Do you want to learn?
What do you think this might look like for you?
What will your next step be?
Remember to share your experience with others.
Peace, Hope and Love,