Context and Contentment
Context and contentment. What do those two things have to do with each other--At first glance, not a lot, then, when you look a little deeper, you find they’ve got everything to do with each other.
First, before telling you how these two things work together, I want to define them. I know, I know. Boring. But, you’ve gotta start somewhere, and if you’re at all familiar with my blog, you know I love all this “nerd” stuff.
Context: the set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event, situation, etc.
Contentment: the state of being contented; satisfaction; ease of mind.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get into it. Context and contentment, they go together like peanut butter and jelly. Let me explain. Contentment is something that can be hard to live in because there are so many things in life, that make us discontented. It’s very much so the idea that there’s something better out there, that we don’t have, so we are not content, or satisfied with what we have until we have that thing; then we’ll be happy.
Let me give you an example from my own life. I’m gonna talk about dating--before I got married. Like before I even knew my super hot wonderful husband existed. When I was in college, all I wanted was to be in a relationship. All my friends were dating, then, there was me. Third-wheeling, fifth-wheeling, seventh-wheeling. You name it, I was the odd number, I was always the spare tire. I also happened to be one of those girls who thought life didn’t start till I found a man [that was a very unhealthy way to live life, if you ask me.] I pined for a man because I wasn't gonna be happy till he showed up. Then, I’d get a man and it was a total sh** show. Then, we’d break up and the cycle continued. It was a real bummer. I was living my life looking at all these other people, who were happy as clams in their relationships, so I craved that. I automatically assumed my life would be 100x better with a dude--I was so over being the spare tire. The grass is always greener, right?
Little did I know, the grass is not always greener. I was just a person looking through a window, staring at someone else's life. Much like social media does for us on a daily basis. I gives us just enough of a peek to make us with we had what so-and-so has. I didn’t know that some of these girls I was so jealous of were in emotionally abusive relationships. I didn’t know all they did was fight with their boyfriend when they were behind closed doors. I didn’t know that they were cheating on one another. From my point of reference, these relationships looked like the fairytale I’d been hoping for. I didn’t have the full context. It’s kind of like if you’re flipping through a book and just choose a random paragraph to read. Sure, you can read it and base what you know of that book off the paragraph, but you’ll be wrong. There’s no context for that paragraph, so all you know is what you’ve read.
CONTEXT IS VITAL.
Ok, so, this brings me to some scripture. Honestly, this is always the first scripture that pops into my head when I think about context. Freaking Philippians 4:13, and you wanna know why? Because people always get it wrong--They don’t know the context. People quote this verse like there’s no tomorrow. It’s on everything sports related, ever.
We use this verse as a proclamation, declaring it so God will give us the strength to do the hard things, which He will, but have you read the context surrounding this verse? If you haven’t yet, here you go…
I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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 all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:10-13
Paul isn’t sitting there just praying for strength. He’s saying that he’s got it because found contentment in all circumstances, with God. Ok, so what does that have to do with us, right? Welllllllll this is how. We get so lost in our discontentment because we don’t know the context of everything that we’re letting cause it, when at the end of the day, our strength lies in the fact that we can choose to be content.
That’s really it. We can choose. Contentment is completely in our hands. You shouldn’t need context to be content. You don’t need the context to have that strength.