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Strength for Contentment

October 24, 2007

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstance. 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 everything through him who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:11b–13) 

These verses have long been a source of comfort to me. When I was thirteen, my family lived for a year in my grandparent’s unfinished basement as my dad made a career transition. This time in my life is the first memory that I have that specifically is linked to relying on these verses for encouragement. As I thought about Paul, being in prison when he penned these words, I knew that I too could find contentment.

Recently, God has taught me to be content with less money, as now that we are down to one income, we’ve had to do a major rehaul of our budgeting practices. Some weeks, after all the bills are paid and groceries bought, it can be pretty slim compared to before. However, we have all our needs met and then some. This is also teaching me patience, though, as I have to sometimes wait for things I need or want longer than I did before, when I’d just go out and buy it, any week I wanted.

I can be content because I can do everything through God’s strength. If He desires me to learn contentment, then I know it can be accomplished, for He gives His children the strength needed to do His will. I can honestly say I’m more content and thankful now, than I was when we had two incomes. Maybe that’s because I see God’s hand of provision more these days, then I did before.

Are there areas that you’ve become more content in too?

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. briana permalink
    October 24, 2007 2:11 pm

    This is excellent, Danielle. I think it’s often in the times when we feel “strapped’ that God’s provision becomes more real and personal to us. Lawrence and I feel like we live in this place. It’s almost uncanny how we will think we might be emerging into a season of a bit more “wiggle room” only to be socked with some unexpected expense. But, at the beginning of our marriage and even when Lawrence was single, he made Prov. 30:7-9 his/our prayer. I guess God is only giving us what we’ve asked for essentially. When I start to struggle w/ the no “wiggle room” aspect of our finances, I try to remember that God is wiser than me and must know that I wouldn’t handle well, that He would be more glorified in my life by keeping us in a seemingly perpetual state of having “just enough”.

  2. October 24, 2007 7:12 pm

    Finaancial strain has a way of bringing many things to the surface, doesn’t it? I’ve noticed recently that “making do” brings out the most creativity in me, and also the joy of really looking for what God has provided that don’t cost us anything (except maybe some elbow grease). The area I’ve seen this is in flowers. I LOVE fresh flowers on the table and there was a time when I could just pick up 2 or 3 bouquets from the grocery store and make a big, plump centerpiece in the kitchen. Now that we’ve had to rein in spending on such luxuries (though I can quickly call fresh flowers “necessities for my well–beiing “) I have found TREMENDOUS pleasure in cutting my bright gold and orange zinnias, some burgundy leaves from the plum tree, a handful of mums from near the mailbox, and VOILA! A small but not insignificant change for me.

  3. bethyoung permalink
    October 24, 2007 9:59 pm

    What a great reminder, Danielle!

  4. October 25, 2007 10:52 am

    So great Danielle. This is something I struggle in a lot especially being one of the only ones in my family (besides Brother Josh and SIL Sarah) that live in an expensive city. I go to visit and look at their big huge homes with a place for everything and think of mine with things tumbling out of the closet, a computer smack dab in the dining room and three kids in one bedroom…it is hard at times not being content. But then things like the fires this week remind me of how truly blessed I am, I love my old small house I really do.

    I also struggle with work sometimes. I really enjoy being with my kids and not having the stress of a ton of work then on the flip side I miss the work because it is the means to buy new camera equipment. I have really been trying to be content with what God has given me and save slowly yet having time with my babies versus working like crazy and buying all the new and latest. Then lenses drop in the sand and break and my new car gets scratched….on Sunday putting that tithe check in was soooooo hard but also so rewarding. After I dropped it in I don’t know it feels so much better giving when it is difficult than giving when it is easy.

  5. anne permalink
    October 25, 2007 12:26 pm

    GREAT POST Danielle, and a great remider to me.
    I too struggle with not having a “carrer” I actually told Justin I felt like I wanted one the other day, and what I am doing is so annoying and having the second income would be so nice.
    I had imagined when we were all done with school and finally in a home we would not have to worry about finances and I woul d be able to buy things more easily, but it seems harder now, with more bills and will all the expenses we have had of late we are really in crunch time to save save save and I am not good at that. Luckily my husband is, so it is a good balance.
    Thanks for the reminder :0 Needed that.

  6. October 25, 2007 6:57 pm

    Hi Danielle, Thank you for sharing. Yes contentment in my health – struggle with recurring illness for 14 years and am sick right now. It’s hard to trust God’s best for me when I’m feeling so low. I appreciate the reminder.

  7. October 31, 2007 1:15 pm

    When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I truly learned to let go. I learned that I’m not in charge of my own destiny; God is. How liberating! For a lot of us (namely, me), it takes dire circumstances to learn the most important in life.

    Thanks for sharing.

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