Contentment (& Acceptance)
“I have learned to be content with whatever I have.” –Philippians 4:11
Since the fall of humanity in the Garden of Eden, people have been tempted by the belief that they do not have enough and that they are not enough. We have trouble grasping the possibility of being content with what we have, believing that we could be much happier if our circumstances were different, if we had more, or if we were changed ourselves. Our focus can easily become wrapped around appearance, status, and money as pathways to happiness.
Scripture and scientific research are both clear that in fact, a very small percentage of our happiness has to do with circumstance. How else could such an amazing statement as this be made?:
Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong. –2 Corinthians 12:10
We cannot be content in easy circumstances without also learning contentment in difficult circumstances. This contentment begins with a “radical” acceptance of life exactly as it is in each moment. Mindfulness provides us with consistent practice in letting go of the need to change anything. Through mindfulness, we stop insisting that God give us a different life than the one we have. We open our eyes to see God in the very circumstance where we find ourselves (“weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities…”), and we open our hands to receive all that He has for us.
"...God invites us to accept the inescapable realities placed in front of us. We can either turn away from that acceptance of life and continue on our own, or we can plunge into the 'reality of the situation' and try to find God there in new ways. Obedience in this case means accepting reality."