The Recipe for Contentment: 1 Jesus-filled Life

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. -Hebrews 13:5 KJV

I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. -Philippians 4:11-13 Message

Hello friends!

I hope that you’re all doing well. I wanted to write because yesterday while talking to my best friend Jeida (many of my blog ideas come from conversations with her), I realized that I am truly happy with my life. I realized that I don’t feel any voids, holes or discontentment although there are many things in my life that can be better.

Let’s face it. At some point, all of us realize that our life is not what we thought it would be 5 years ago. I am 22 years old but when I was 17, I had life all figured out. I knew that by 22, I would be a college graduate, working as a nurse, married to my high school sweetheart and living the high life. I mean I had school planned out, wedding dates and children’s names. That’s before I realized that I didn’t get to plan my life myself. Also, before I realized that God’s plans are greater than mine and definitely before I read Proverbs 16:9 which says, “We plan the way we want to live, but only God makes us able to live.” As of now, I’m not yet a college graduate. I haven’t started my career, but when I do I will be making less money than I ever wanted to. I have no awesome guy friends I’d like to marry, no boyfriend, no prospects and no wedding dates in mind. I have no awesome fancy apartment or car. All of these things sound like the makings of a sad situation but to be completely honest with you, I am completely filled with joy.

What I have come to understand is that my life is not where I thought it would be even 6 months ago, but there is no better place than where I am and that is simply because of Jesus. I don’t have all the things I thought I’d have, but God is working in my life. Doors are opening for me and I see Him leading me along the way. This place can only be described as total dependence, devotion and surrender to Jesus. Not just this, but I am also completely in love with the man and I am pursuing Him like He’s the last man I’ll ever know. I am chasing Him, burning for Him and giving myself to Him. Right now, there is nothing I want more in this life than to please my Jesus. Nothing. No status, job, title, relationship, money, anything. I am completely in love with where we are and with how He is molding me into a woman that He wants me to be.

I am so thankful because I haven’t always been this way. If you read some of my previous blog posts, you know that this is a new thing for me. But it is so amazing that I never want to go back to just being a “church attendee who tries to do things right.” The level of intimacy, love, peace and joy that I have in this relationship is the best thing I’ve ever experienced. Things are so amazing that I am literally rolling out of bed at 6am to have prayer and worship. I NEVER did that before without a struggle. It was hard because I wasn’t excited to do it. Right now, I am elated to get to spend time with this amazing man that I love before my day gets started. It’s a joy!

But enough of my happy talk. Here are some things that I have done/tips to help you get to the point where Jesus is your all and you are completely content in Him. Ready? Let’s go!

1. Spend time with Him and read about His promises

I spend ample amounts of time in prayer every single day. I am also in the process of reading the entire Old Testament and reading several books. There’s no way around this. Many times, we want the benefits of a relationship with God without putting in the work. Pursue Him simply to get to know Him and see how He works in your life and gives you peace. Also, memorize scriptures and promises that He has made. When I have feelings of discontentment despite knowing I’m right where I should be, I have several verses and sayings that remind me that’s God’s got everything under control. I’ll share a few:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” -Proverbs 3:5, 6 NIV

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” -Romans 8:28 NIV

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 NIV

2. Count your blessings and answered prayers

When I start to feel that my life isn’t working out right, I begin to count my blessings and my answered prayers. When I realize that I can’t count them all, it usually helps me to understand that I am blessed beyond measure. It is in those moments that my strength, faith and joy are renewed.

3. Remember that God is working everything out for your good and for His glory

When we live for Christ and we know that we are doing what He would have us to do, we can always remind ourselves that Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.” I love this promise, and the short way that I say this is “God is working everything out for my good and for His glory.” How amazing is that? What an amazing promise! Basically, all we have to do is stay obedient, faithful and focused on God and what He has for us to do and everything will work out for us. This doesn’t mean that we sit around and not take care of our business, do our homework or go to work. It means that God is always on our side making things work for us as long as we love Him and are committed to our purpose.

4. Don’t allow negativity, complaining or bad emotions to fester

Often times, it’s hard for us to be content with our lives and our portion because we are negative and we complain a lot. We point out what God is doing for others, compare our lives to theirs and want what they have. This creates bad feelings which make us depressed and sad. Then we get “stuck in our feelings” as many people would say. We have to fight off negativity all the time. When I feel myself getting ready to complain, I pray. I thank God for my life and where I am right now. I thank Him for this season of transition, growth and change that is making me more like Him. I thank Him for every blessing and trial alike. Shelley Giglio, an amazing woman of God tweeted something so simple yet profound one day when I was online. It simply said “sometimes you have to contend for faith.” On the daily basis, I contend for peace, joy, faith and other things. But the point is, I don’t just let the devil or life’s circumstances take these things from me. I FIGHT for them. I WILL keep my peace, joy and faith. The best way to make this fight easier is to rid as much negativity from your life as possible.

5. Keep your mind stayed on Jesus

I know many people think that this is just a saying, but it is a state of mind. Throughout the day, I try to keep my mind on my Savior. On the amazing man who gave up everything for me. The one who knew I’d sin against Him but still willingly went to the cross and stayed there. The one who has blessed me when I didn’t deserve it. I think about HIs love, grace, compassion and care for me and it makes it a lot easier for me to be thankful, joyful and happy about life everyday. My life isn’t perfect and many situations I deal with are not optimal situations, but I have found that keeping Jesus on the brain helps me to see the beauty in life and not just focus on the bad.

Learning to be content no matter what is amazing. It is something that can only come from God changing us and taking away our anxiety and replacing it with His peace. Try these things and see how your begin to view life differently.

Sincerely,

Brittany

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Keep The Fire Burning

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1 ESV

The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. Lamentations 3:25 KJV

In any relationship, it’s always important to continuously keep the passion, love and fire burning. When dating, people do this with good morning texts, random sweet emails, gifts for no reason at all and of course lots of affirmations of love. But I’m sure that I’m not the only one that finds it sometimes difficult to maintain a continuous, passionate relationship with God. I think that it’s difficult for many reasons.

We can’t see Him

I think it’s tough to keep our relationship strong with God sometimes, simply because we can’t see Him. In a dating or marriage relationship, we can call, eat and just spend quality time with the person we love. We can spend time with God, but sometimes it feels like we’re wasting our time because we can’t see Him.

Distractions

Distractions are everywhere. TV, computers, our phones, our friends and family. Distractions aren’t always bad, but sometimes they are good at keeping us too busy to spend time with God.

We haven’t made up our mind

Everything we do begins with a choice. Prayer, reading the Bible, and everything related to keeping our relationship with God thriving. At some point, we all have to purpose in our minds that we will have a strong relationship with Him because we choose to do what need to be done to obtain it. If that means cutting off the tv, telling friends we’ll call them later or even taking a fast from social media, we must decide to do whatever we must do to put God first and keep Him in His rightful place. 

So what can we actually do to be sure that our relationship with God is growing and thriving?

Purpose in our mind to put Him first

This sounds easy, but it’s something that we must do daily. Today, we can wake up and decide that we’re going to spend plenty of time with God in prayer, studying and worship. But if we don’t decide to do the same thing tomorrow, we will be on our way to losing some of the intimacy we had. Just imagine not talking to your significant other or your spouse for a whole day. I’ve experienced not being able to talk to someone that I loved for two days and it was a really rough weekend for me. Thankfully it didn’t damage our relationship, but if we were to do it over and over, it would. Think of God the same way. We must decide each and everyday that we will make Him first and treat Him as such.

Push through emotions

There are days that we all wake up and don’t feel like loving on anyone. We all have moods, bad feelings and emotions that try to discourage us from doing what we should do, but if we want to really reach the next level in our relationship with Him, we must learn to push through the feelings and pray, praise, worship and read our Bibles anyhow. We can’t be ruled by our feelings. The Bible tells us in Jeremiah 17:9 that we can’t trust our hearts. Don’t allow your heart to make the decision not to spend time with God for you. Push through those feelings and spend time with Him because you love Him.

Change things up

It’s wonderful to be able to change things up. When things become mundane or old, we can always spend time with God in different ways. I doubt that any couple would go on dates to the same place over and over and expect to have an amazing time. Of course not! We try new things, eat new foods, go to new places, etc because it adds an element of freshness to our relationships. When I’m not feeling like my regular routine of prayer then Bible study, I add in journaling and worship. Also, new translations of the Bible really enhance Bible study time. Whenever English Standard Version becomes a little dry to me, I read in the Message translation as well and it seems as if the words literally jump off the page!  I also supplement my Bible study with sermons & messages from awesome pastors. I utilize several applications from different ministries that really enhance my study time. Spending time with God can be as fun as we make it and it is only boring if we allow it to be.

If our relationship with God is the most important thing in our life, we must be willing to do whatever we must do to be sure that the relationship is growing and developing in a healthy way. This doesn’t mean that we can’t have a life, spend time with friends or anything else, but it does mean that we have our priorities lined up and God is in His rightful place. It’s been said that if we want to see what someone cares about, look at how they spend their time and how they spend their money. When we love someone dearly, we make sure that they know it because we give them our energy, our time and our attention. We don’t want to make God wonder How important He is to us. He is the lover of our souls so He deserves to always know just how much we love and adore Him.

-Brittany