We all were shocked by the news of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain untimely passing. Two prominent celebrities loved and respected by many, and very successful in their respective fields. Most shocking was the nature of these two individuals’ deaths…suicide. Why would these two human beings, who appeared to have everything to live for, take their own lives?
Over the next few weeks, I would notice a trend of conversation happening –an open dialogue about depression, mental health, and suicide, on many different public platforms and among individuals in my circle. I was happy to see these conversations happen because I often feel that we as a society paint these pictures of false perfection and isolate those who feel that their lives are well…not so perfect.
During my quiet time with God, I began to ask Him, what is going on spiritually and why do so many people suffer from depression or prolonged sadness. Why do we see so many people who are extremely unhappy with their lives?
God said, there are many reasons this happens, but one of the primary reasons people are miserable in their lives is because they lack and haven’t mastered the art of…contentment
Contentment is defined as, “the state of being contented; satisfaction; ease of mind.”
To be content is to be, “satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else; state of feeling satisfaction.”
Then the Lord led me to a very popular scripture…
Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
The Lord brought me to this scripture, and He said we often quote this scripture, but we ignore the full context of the scripture or the full message that Paul (the writer of this book) was trying to convey.
Let’s look at a few of the scriptures right above Philippians 4:13:
Verse 11: I am not saying this because I am in need for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
Verse 12: 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 fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
Verse 13: I can do all things through Him (Christ) who strengthens me. (NIV)
Here Paul lets us in on an important lesson and one of God’s revelations to live a successful life.
No matter the circumstances we face in life, we have to learn to be content, to walk in a spirit of contentment; and we can achieve this level of contentment in life by leaning on and focusing on Christ.
Also, Paul wasn’t just saying to be content in lack but even when we are living in abundance (“whether living in plenty”). It’s important to our spiritual and mental well-being that we walk in contentment but also be thankful for whatever we have.
The explanation in my study Bible says,
“Paul was content because he could see life from God’s point of view. He focused on what he was supposed to do (mission-oriented) not what he felt he should have. Paul had his priorities straight, and he was grateful for everything God had given him. Paul had detached himself from the nonessentials so that he could concentrate on the eternal. Often the desire for more or better possessions is really a longing to fill an empty place in a person’s life. To what you are drawn when you feel empty inside? How can you find true contentment? The answer lies in your perspective, your priorities, and your source of power.”
As God was speaking to me, I asked Him that same question, “How can you find true contentment?” The first place He led me was, Philippians 4:6-7:
“6Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.”
Here is what Philippians 4:6-7 teaches us:
1.Don’t Worry About Anything
Instead of worrying about whatever you’re going through, trust God, trust your process, trust that He has you in this place of your life for intentional reasons.
2. Pray About Everything
Bring your worries to God. Turn all your worries into prayers. Worry less and pray more.
3. Tell God What You Need
Whenever you start to worry, STOP, and PRAY instead. Tell God EXACTLY what you need. Be SPECIFIC!
4. Thank Him for All He Has Done
We once prayed for the very things we possess in our lives today. However, when we receive the things we prayed for, we often find ourselves lacking appreciation. While we are surrounded by the things that we once prayed to God for, we find something else we are in desperate need of. We have to get into the practice and lifestyle of thanking God for what he has done in our lives and thanking Him for the granted promises that are currently present in our lives.
5. Accept & Experience God’s Peace
True peace comes from knowing God is in control. True peace is different from the world’s view of peace. It is a peace that is sustained in all of our life’s situations. It is a peace that defies conflict. It is a peace we experience when we remind ourselves that God is in control and that our destinies have been set by God. God has already planned out our lives, we just have to walk out the process.
6. Allow His Peace to Guard Your Mind & Heart
Allow the peace of God to be an anchor to your soul.
I know these steps appear easier said than done. They appear a bit simple, but what I’ve learned with my walk with God is He is a very simple God, we complicate Him and His precepts. I challenge you to practice these principles of contentment for just one month and see how it works out for you. Once that month is up, see how you feel. I pray that these principles become a part of your lifestyle!
Until next time
I wish you love & happiness