If you're single, you should have the security of marriage.
If you're married, you should have the freedom of singleness.
If you live in an apartment, you should own a home by now.
If you own a home, it should be bigger than the one you've got.
Getting the message?
Your clothes should be from this vendor.
Your appearance should look like that trend.
Your kids should be more like those kids.
Your standard of success should be measured by these standards.
The fallout from this is inevitable. Fed by such a steady diet of unclaimed desires, we can hardly help but develop a level of disdain for our current circumstances. Caught in this vicious cycle, we consequently feel incomplete and substandard. Unhappy. Uncontrolled. Unfulfilled. Dissatisfied.
This is precisely why a satisfied woman is such a surprising woman. She is shockingly noticeable to a world that lives on a watered-down version of the secret - a secret that she obviously got the truth about. Contentment wasn't some unique gift the apostle Paul had been given. It was a skill he had chosen and adopted, then had mastered and applied to his tumultuous life experience. As a result, he could say with biblical assurance:
"I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am"
Paul's secret was this: he had resolved to be content.
Just imagine - being completely content in everything you have and do. Do you have your dream job? Do you own and wear the finest clothes? Are you perfectly happy with the people in your life? Your friends? Your family? Your significant other? Are you content with the path you are headed down that leads to your future? Are you?
For most of us, the answer is 'no' to at least the majority of those questions. Or if not, it was at some point in your life. This definitely hits home for me. I find myself dissatisfied in my life in several aspects. Just last week, I was a frustrated blogger, not knowing what to do or really what exactly it was I wanted. I just knew I wanted more. However, I am reminded by Paul's determination and acceptance to be content with what I have. The more you believe that God's grace to you is overflowing, the more you'll be convinced that you will always have everything you need. I need to put my complete trust in God that he will grant me the supply I need to excel at His purposes. If I do'nt have it - whatever it is - I don't need it. I may WANT it, but it's not necessary in order to accomplish what He knows is most important for my life today. I'm resolving to be more understanding and to be more content in my life and the blessings that have been bestowed upon me. Every decision I need to make, every task I need to accomplish, every relationship I need to navigate, every element of daily life I need to traverse, God has already perfectl ymatched up with an equivalent-to-overflowing supply of His grace.
Now, I'm not saying that this isn't difficult - because it's definitely not an easy thing to accomplish ... this being content. It's hard work. Some days, we break, and no amount of consoling is going to alleviate the situation. But in the midst of those discouraging days, it's a great reminder to know that God supplies us with the grace and mercy to face our demons head-on. And I must admit, that when I step back from my current discouraging circumstances (it's always something, let's admit it), I am surprisingly satisfied. I am learning to not judge my life based on the luxuries that others may have. We don't know everyone's story. They may have something that you want, but you don't know what they've had to sacrifice or lose to get it.
What might God be trying to grow in your character or cement in your relationship with Him by keeping you separated from some of the things you want but don't yet have?