New International Version (NIV)
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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 well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Philippians is a book of the New Testament. It is a letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to the people of Philippi. Paul writes the letter from jail, where he is waiting for his fate to be determined. He is waiting to find out if he is going to die and he writes a letter to the Philippians and in it tells them that he has learned to be content in any circumstances.
At Women of Faith this past weekend, Marilyn Meberg spoke about Paul and contentment and gave a message that really spoke to me. Here is what I took from her talk...
Like Paul, we can learn to be content. Content is the state that we should be aiming for, content should be the norm. Happy and sad and angry and frustrated and other feelings are temporary blips on the contentment radar. Those blips have a beginning, middle, and end. Content remains steady.
And when I am faced with a situation that challenges my contentment? I have to look at what I think, what I believe, and then decide what I am going to do.
This is where I get myself in trouble. I've become someone who gets very caught up in my thinking. The thoughts in my head are my first and immediate reaction to what is going on around me. I know that I have been getting caught up in my thinking, overwhelmed inside my own head. And it has reached some pretty low levels. I've had anxiety attacks because I've gotten caught up in my head. I've turned to alcohol too often to unwind because I'm caught up in my thinking. I let all this thinking in my head impact too much of my life.
Most of all, I have been getting very caught up in "Stinkin' thinkin'." When faced with stress, more work, complaints, frustration... my thoughts get negative and defeatist and sometimes they get kinda grandiose in the negative department. That's when I end up feeling like the world is caving in on top of me. That's when I'm frustrated up to my neck and end up having a couple of large glasses of wine after the kids go to bed. That's when I come home cranky, exhausted, worn thin and my family doesn't get the best me that they deserve.
What I am thinking doesn't add up to what I believe.
What I believe:
God's got me covered. I can handle anything because He strengthens me.
I am smart, a hard worker, capable, and an asset to my workplace.
I love my kids and my husband and my friends.
I am a good mom and a good wife and am consistently striving to be better.
When I start thinking all my negative thoughts in reaction to... an email from my boss, work not getting done, phone calls from internal customers... I need to stop and check my thinking to my beliefs.
"There is no possible way I can get this all done. Who do they think I am? Don't they know that I have 50 million other things to do? Why won't anyone just tell me what is going on?!?!"
"I am smart, capable, and can organize this work load. I can work to the best of my ability each day."
Then comes the Doing.
Once I sort through the thinking and believing, I have to figure out the Do piece of the equation. Sometimes, doing nothing might be my best option. Sometimes, doing something Big might be what is best. But because I have cleared out the stinkin' thinkin' and have filtered those thoughts through my beliefs, I now have a clear head to figure out what to do.
Make a list of what I need to get done.
Take 5 minutes to walk and clear my head.
Think. Believe. Do.
The Message (MSG)
15 Wise men and women are always learning,
always listening for fresh insights.
always listening for fresh insights.