Have you ever noticed that people who have never suffered take things for granted and aren’t thankful at all? They just keep wanting more, more, more. They think physical bits of junk will make them happy, and they don’t realize that the shopping high only lasts a day or two, and then the new items are thrown aside, and discontentment sets in again.
Most American women are like this about their homes, too. They are never satisfied. If they finish a renovation, instead of enjoying it, they look around for something else that they are not happy about, and they are never in a state where they can take a deep breath, relax, and be content.
I remember for years I had a large sliding door with a broken window. We nailed a board across the window on the outside, and on the inside we nailed a blanket so as to prevent a draft. It was super ugly. And yet I was content, and I relaxed, knowing that I wouldn’t fix it for years because we didn’t have the money.
Why was I so content, even with unfinished, ugly things? Because my heart isn’t there. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect before I relax. I used to be that way. When you’re pregnant especially, you have a strong nesting instinct where you want the house to be perfect before the baby arrives. I remember that strong urge; it was almost physical. It was a compulsion. And yet with the ugly broken window, I was content and didn’t have to think about how unhappy I was about the window. I WASN’T unhappy. I was sweetly content in my soul. I had peace. Why?
The secret of contentment is suffering.
I have a husband who loves me, and my children aren’t dead. Who cares that my house isn’t perfect if my children are alive? I love them. I have food and shelter. For 6 months in England, I lived in a room with no heat, with ice INSIDE the windows. My whole body hurt badly, and I could see my breath in the morning.
Who cares about the board nailed across the window when I have heat?
You know what I’m saying? The man who slammed the butt of his gun against my head, giving me a partial concussion, didn’t kill me. I’m still alive. I’m breathing. I got married and had babies. I LOVE my life! Who cares about the undone things, the ugly kitchen with the 70’s carpet, or the orange shag rug downstairs which is as ugly as it gets? Who cares? I don’t even care if my house burns to the ground. My heart isn’t here.
I love God. He is where my heart is. And I would scream and probably lose my mind if I lost my husband and children, but I would eventually be okay, because my God rules in the heavens, and He is a good God, and He will never allow anything to occur to me that will not result in the absolute greatest benefit to me. Yes, the horrors of my life have been transformed into immense treasure for me. So what have I to fear? What can man do to me when God is my anchor?
Meanwhile I will cling to and treasure my husband and children, because today they still breathe, and nothing else matters. I don’t feel a compulsion to buy more junk to wear, or more junk for my house, continuously unsatisfied. God is my satisfaction, because through suffering I was able to learn what really matters in this life.
“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 things through Him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13