Friday, July 31, 2009

A Satisfied Soul

Satisfied can be described as reaching the bottom of a three year old's inquisitive and persistent desire to know “why?” Satisfied is not having to start another book because you are enjoying the one you are reading. Satisfied is climbing into bed at night knowing that you checked off most everything on your to-do list. Satisfied is being able to stop eating before you are uncomfortably full. Satisfied is not looking at the clock as you are chatting with a friend. Satisfied is being in the present moment and nowhere else. Satisfied is a Grande, decaf, no whip, whole milk mocha at the right temperature to start off a long car ride.

But is this what God means by us being satisfied?

Let me give you a personal example. Granted these decisions were based upon prayer, yet I still had ulterior motives.

I thought getting married would make me satisfied.
I just became more aware of my selfishness.

Then, we tried moving out West.
I missed my family and struggled with my job.
After that, I took up skiing.
Snowboarding is cooler.

I still wasn’t satisfied, so I began praying that we would become missionaries.
We moved to Asia.
I worked in a basement.
Every day I cried to come back to the USA, to Indiana of all places.

Once we got to Indiana, we felt we needed a dog for entertainment.
Next came the house.
But we desired a deck.
I still wanted more, so we planted great landscaping.

Hmmm . . . if I could stay at home and have kids, then life would be perfect.
Now I have kids, and I began a new business shortly afterward.
We needed a swing set.
I’d like to lose that pregnancy weight.
Then I could play with the kids more effectively.

Yet, in the back of my head I’m also thinking about moving West again and becoming a missionary.
(Don't worry Mom, Dad, MIL and FIL we don't foresee this on the near or a couple of year horizon.)

Isn’t that where I first started all of this?

A satisfied soul is not wishing you were someone else, somewhere else, owning something else, craving whatever you don’t have, and longing for someone’s hair, body, clothes, house, husband, child, parents, or job.

But is this what God means by being satisfied?

Paul gives us a bit of insight into satisfaction in Philippians 4: 11-13.

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Paul states that he has learned to be content. This word learned (orμανθάνω, manthano) means to learn by use or practice.

Paul had to practice contentment. This would seem to imply that contentment doesn’t come naturally to us humans. It must be practiced.

The word used in Philippians 4:11 for content is αὐτάρκης [autarkes /ow·tar·kace/], meaning strong enough or possessing enough to need no aid or support; independent of external circumstances, or contented with one’s lot, with one’s means, though the slenderest. The opposite of content is needy, poor, helpless or little in quantity.

It seems obvious that we need to learn to be content when we are hungry and suffering. BUT Paul even states that we need to be content or satisfied when we live in prosperity and when we have abundance.

Contentment is a struggle in all aspects of life.

Practice makes perfect. Practice contentment. Ouch. OK.

P.S. I was having a bit of writer's block today, and pulled out something from my computer that I wrote a few years ago for my church's women's retreat. Hope you enjoyed it.

P.S. #2 OK, I'll try and be content that I didn't win the Mini Dell computer today. There is always tomorrow, though.


Sarah said...

Great post! JUST what I needed to hear.