Struggling for Contentment

I really hope that the title of my blog hasn’t been misleading.  I don’t always love my life.  It’s many times a choice inspite of my emotional reality as much as anything.  It’s a journey to find contentment riddled with gradual progress and lots of failure.  For me, I’m deep in a season of struggling for that contentment. 

I’m learning when you do freelance, that there is no clear line between your job and your life which creates some interesting issues.  Because fear and anxiety has a domino effect, a professional fear can quickly move through all the areas of my personal life.   While I have really enjoyed the freedom of doing freelance, the flexibility that gives freedom is just another name for uncertainty and insecurity.  When you layer the current economic environment on top of that, I get scared.  OK, borderline terrified.   Not knowing what the future holds and worrying if there will be enough work to generate income to pay the bills, has left me feeling incredibly discontent and unsure. 

When I’m overwhelmed with questions or answers, I tend to stand still.  I’m a processor and a thinker so this is a good strategy for me most of the time.  But if I can’t think my way to an answer, I end up just standing there.  And while I’m standing still I’m obsessing over the problems that I assume don’t have answers.  But maybe I’m wrong. 

Maybe I already have the answer that I’m looking for but I’m just not sure what to do with it or how to trust it.  I know the answer is found in knowing my hope is and always has been in Christ.  It is just hard to always know how that translates into finding contentment in my every day living.   I know God has a plan for my future but could he give me a heads up in figuring out personal medical insurance options? 

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.      (Philippians 3:13-14) 

Don’t we all know and love verse 14?  I can do ALL THINGS!   But I tend to forget the context Paul wrote it in.  He wrote it from prison in a letter that talks as much about joy as anything else.  He simply acknowledges no matter what, Christ is the source of his contentment.  Not his circumstance (freedom or prison, employment or unemployment).  Not his abundance (401K, CDs or money market accounts, insurance plans) .  Not his knowledge of the future.  Only in knowing Christ does he find contentment and strength for any circumstance. 

It’s hard to watch the news and not start to feel panicky about our current economic situation.  One of the girls in our Bible Study class asked me if we were going into another Great Depression.  I could only answer honestly and say I don’t know.  I kinda wish the economists were as forthcoming.  They don’t know either.  They’re all just guessing and there are as many opinions as there are options.   The prevailing thought seems to be whomever is in front of the camera the most. 

While I couldn’t answer their question about the economy, I knew I could tell them that God is in control and He is neither surprised nor alarmed by the drop in consumer confidence, a plummeting stock market or unchecked government spending.  He saw this coming and He has a plan. I suppose the answer I gave them confidently is the same answer I should give myself.    

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

 “Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.          Luke 12:22-31

Seek first His kingdom.  That’s the answer.  That’s what I’m supposed to do.  Sounds simple.  I guess it starts with changing my focus from my momentary situation and instead, fixing my focus on Jesus.  I imagine my priorities would become suddenly clear.  I also imagine the things that are absolute would become bigger than the things that are not.  I imagine I would also be reminded that God is way bigger than all of this. 

God,  help my unbelief.  Help me remember You are my provider as well as my Creator and Savior.  As I seek you first, please help me know how to act and how to wait and how to trust.  Amen.

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2 Responses to Struggling for Contentment

  1. Leigh McLeroy says:

    Ann – I can SO relate. It makes me frightened to watch the news, too, and the freelance life is typically feast or famine, anyhow. But you’ve got the answer you need: God is not surprised, and he will provide. HOW he does that for you will become part of your story, and make it a richer and more compelling one than would a life of ease. Great post. Praying provision and direction and peace for you in this season of uncertainty.

    • amabry says:

      Thanks Leigh. You think being self employed, I’d get used to the uncertainty. I think sometimes I cling to the things that give me the illusion of control and it’s harder to maintain that illusion these days! The blessing in this season is it is forcing me to acknowledge more confidently the One who is in control. Hope you are well. Love your devotions every week!

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