“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and discipline.”
Content in Christ
Two years ago, I celebrated my 40th trip around the sun. For decades I had dreaded the day I’d blow out more than 39 candles on my birthday cake. But when I actually hit the milestone of middle age, I felt gratitude instead of regret. Gratitude for all God taught me when I bowed my heart at His throne, ripe for filling and shaping.
You see, I didn’t always seek God first, even though I’ve known Him since childhood. Often, I foolishly relied on my surroundings for knowledge, which always ending with me wanting instead of knowing.
When focused on the stuff of earth discontentment festered. I always felt I needed more.
I loved my family, but often walked into our small apartment disgruntled. I wanted a house. A large house adorned with beautiful new furniture and no hand-me-downs. I also tired of counting pennies at the grocery store and dreamed that one day I would fill my kitchen with fine wines, cheeses, and gourmet ingredients. Only the best.
My wants multiplied daily and in my ignorance, I deemed each one justified. For example, I rationalized that a large home with fine foods would enable me to demonstrate hospitality toward others. But when I sat in awe of my Savior instead of the bounty in His creation, I realized that more joy comes from less.
Less stuff. Less drama. Less schedule management. Less worrying about whether or not I measure up to the standards of others. Less time spent agonizing over how others (ahem) *make* me feel. Less of trying to have the perfect life. Less conforming. Less wanting. Less of me.
I want less of anything that does not begin from knowing God and wanting what He wants for me.
I want less of this world, of my own silly, fickle heart so that I can brim with Jesus.
How have you learned to be content in Christ?
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
“More joy comes from less.” Amen! It’s funny, Angela, I have the nice big home that I dreamed of. I raised my now grown children here. I have nice furniture and the walls are decorated around me. I have way too much “stuff” (I say I’m a sentimental collector of things that need to be dusted lol). It’s truly been nice, but I am in a season that I am looking forward to downsizing. I have seen that our collections of “stuff” take our eyes away from the Creator. I have to spend a lot of time and energy keeping this house up, when in reality, I yearn to have more time to sip my coffee, sit at my Savior’s feet and learn from Him, and get out into creation where I see the glorious works of my Father’s hand. I so believe that God desires that we have a humble and contrite heart and that we live a more simple life. He doesn’t say that because He doesn’t want good for us…the fact is He does want good for us and that, I’ve discovered, is found in less. Wonderful post, Angela!! Have a blessed Sunday my (in)courage friends…
Sheryl a morrison says
So true. I too have been distracted by the “stuff” of life, which all needs time and attention. I’m guilty of being a collector, mostly of craft supplies I don’t have time to use. I do find joy in creating something to share God’s love with others. But the real joy comes in sitting at His feet. Oh the struggle of my Mary heart in a Martha world. Thanks for the encouragement.
Mary Hood says
Honest and humble. Jn 3:30 He must increase, I must decrease. I am ever learning it. Joy from less!! He is more than this world can ever give. Thank you for sharing.
Erin Lamb says
Great post! Our greatest joys come from knowing God and being with Him. He is eternal. His love is eternal. I too love the phrase, “Less is more.” Less of what this world has to offer and more time with God. God bless you! The best days are ahead for you.
Beth Williams says
Years ago I sat in my little apartment and lamented about all the “stuff” I thought I wanted/needed to make me happy. It didn’t take long that day to realize all that stuff was nice-would not make me truly happy. Now I’m much older (51) and really wanting “less of things” and more of people, experiences, and God. I enjoy sipping tea and watching TV preachers, listening to Christian music, taking nice walks in the woods.
Everyone have an enjoyable, relaxing Sunday In(Courage)!
I hear you …. I always want less and wish to do more which often leaves me caught in the “mess” (less+more=mess?)
I’ve always wanted more too. Now that I am 42, six kids, oldest are 16 and my youngest is 8. We have a simple house which still seems to be a lot of work for us! I am so grateful that we haven’t gotten anything bigger. It’s a full, messy and lively house that every nook and cranny has crumbs of love in it!
Niki Noojin says
This truly could not have come at a more appropriate time. God is relentlessly good, no matter the circumstances. I lay awake most of the night last night and over and over I was impressed by His gentleness and His goodness. He has allowed me an amazing life, a life filled with travel, experience, a good job, a son, a husband. Over and over He has shown His Mercy to me. And yet, I seem to have taken it all for granted as I was brought up “with everything.” Once becoming an adult (sort of) I was in truth angry that I wasn’t able to do all the things I did and have what all I had. I tried to make it happen, and the result was debt. Big debt. I have periods of simple living and it is well with my soul when I do that. But when I want to ramp it up I find I am in way over my head. Thanks be to God in Heaven who reigns us in, whether it is pain, sickness, sorrow, or indebtedness, to slow our own destructive path towards the things of this earthly place and restore our souls with His Life. Saving. Balm. Then only thing we need is Him, and to draw closer to Him ever day. This is the essence of life here on this spinning blue marble……..
Not completely, but I am moving in that direction. I am determined to be content in Christ. Thank you for sharing.
Rebecca L Jones says
I think the less is more has its merits. We all have clutter, mentally and real. But I still He wants us to have the best and He can overload with blessings when we let go of those trivial ideas and people pleasing. Oneof the comments refers to John becoming less for Jesus to be more, that’s a reference to ministry ans John was killed. Truly, we become more of ourselves, what jesus wants us to be, when we bow our hearts at his throne. I love that phrase! May I borrow it?
Pearl @ Look Up Sometimes says
Angela, thank you for reminding me that I’m most satisfied when I’m doing things God’s way, which is usually the “less” way. I agreed to take part in a neighborhood garage sale this weekend, but I’m dragging my feet actually preparing. Thanks for helping me glimpse the end goal to keep me moving.
Mireya Tufano says
Thank you for this it is much needed!! It’s so nice to know that you aren’t the only one battling with these wants and justifications of these wants. I try everyday to remember that everything on this earth is temporary and with that mind set it doesn’t matter what house or car or anything you have but it doesn’t last anyway!! God is so faithful to provide for all of our needs in abundance and everything is a season! Totally blessed by this and encouraged thank you so much for sharing.
So beautifully written, Angela and oh so true. I have been there, felt those same feelings, wanting and wishing and hoping one day I’d measure up if only I had “better” of everything. Yet deep within me I knew that the “stuff” would never replace the contentment only God can give. Less of everything is definitely more. The only thing I want more of is Him! Thank you for reminding me. Your words have blessed my heart today.
At 50 and still on long term disability (over 8 years now), I still believe I’ve not lived fully for God, family, community & myself. I’m married, spouse present along with two teenage daughters, 19 & 14. We live in a tiny condo (tiny now as space demands are high). With my disability condition, it has limited myself to prosper (for my family, too). Thus, I can’t be content to give more for my family, foremost. I have been praying for my full physical healing (mental organization, too) to tap more for better income or standard of living and saying I could better serve God (which I think is quite not right; I stand to be corrected). I’m more seeking & desiring vs. guilty to be content. I hope you all understand me. But, whatever I pray for, thy will be done! May wisdom & discernment be given also to understand God’s answers. I just have faith that God will redeem me for a second chance of a good life that I & my family enjoyed before).
Thank you for letting me post & express my wishing thoughts. Pls say a little prayer of healing for me. I pray for all your continued good faith, courage, provisions, joy and love.
I too have been “a sentimental collector” enjoying things from the past (antiques). Now at 72 all I can think about is how to get rid of these treasures and let someone else be the caretaker. All has not been a burden until now. You wake up one day and realize there is so little time. My prayer is that He gives me time to dispose of these things that I may truly seek more of Him. I do not want to burden anyone with all this stuff! I truly desire that the stuff will bring enjoyment to others but never replace the hearts desire to be with Him more. Downsizing is imperative. There is no U Haul behind the hearse. The phase “Let Go Let God” here, means to me, let Him take over!