When you are stuck not loving your life

Posted by Scott Lowther on

“I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation …” Philippians 4:12b

Dear CBC Family,

As I write Mowgli is again in surgery to remove another cancerous tumor. It has only been a couple of weeks since his last operation and I was thinking he was out of the woods. Unfortunately, he had another growth appear on his leg on Monday which was similar to the first so he’s back in the operating room.

I often wonder if animals understand what is happening to them and so I prayed this morning for a good outcome and for, to whatever extent God has created him to experience, peace for the little dog. This latest turn of events is not what I anticipated, nor how I planned this week to go. Perhaps you are in a similar situation of dealing with the frustrating or unexpected or upsetting. If so read on. The following might be just what you need to hear. It is called “When You are Stuck Not Loving Your Life” by Tracy Miles.

“I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation …” Philippians 4:12b

Life had not turned out the way I had hoped and planned. And I wasn’t happy about it. In fact, I was discontent with everything. It’s not that I wanted “more,” I just wanted “different.” I found myself feeling stuck in a life I didn’t love and powerless to change it.

When life is hard, heartbreaking or even just disappointing, it’s easy to start disliking life altogether. Especially when we feel as if life should be one way, but instead it’s another way entirely, and it may not even be our fault. When this happens, we can easily get stuck in a negative mindset — not only about life, but possibly about God — both of which open the door for discontentment to settle in.

We can feel stuck when a difficult situation rages into our lives and we don’t like it one bit, yet can’t escape it. We can feel stuck when it seems we’ve done everything possible to bring about change of some sort — yet nothing seems to ever change. Or when we’re constantly trying to manipulate things to go our way, control things out of our control, or change people whom we have no power to change.

When our lives are filled with obligations we “have to” meet, or responsibilities we know we “should” or “must” do, we can feel as if there is no way out and be unhappy about the perception of being stuck. In these moments, it’s easy to lose sight of all of the good things about our lives. Through faith alone, I’ve finally come to realize that even if it seems justified, I don’t have to let discontentment poison my heart and mind. I don’t have to let the things that are not perfect cause me to take life itself for granted. And I certainly don’t have to let unhappiness with some things blind me to all the wonderful things in my life God has given me that bring me true joy.

This is exactly what Paul was teaching in today’s key verse. In Philippians 4:12, Paul told the church at Philippi, “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.”

Considering the apostle’s difficult life, this is a pretty amazing attitude. He wrote these specific words while sitting in a prison cell. He’d been arrested on false charges by corrupt officials and faced the possibility of execution, yet he wrote that he’d learned to be content with whatever he had. Which at the moment was literally nothing, not even his freedom. How could he feel that way after all he’d been through … and while he was in prison?

In Philippians 4:13 we find the answer. Paul said, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (NIV) Regardless of his circumstances and despite having endured much persecution and loss, Paul could live with peace and contentment because his heart was right with God. He knew his unwavering faith was the foundation for lasting contentment.

Life is not always exciting. It’s not always easy. It’s not always fair. It’s not always overflowing with opportunity and adventure. Consequently, we’re all going to feel a sense of unhappiness or discontentment from time to time. But we don’t have to stay stuck there.

The life we are living today, with all it includes (or doesn’t include), is the life God has given us. We can choose to be content and joyful in it, or choose to be the opposite.

Lord, help me be content with the way my life looks right now, rather than wishing it were different or better. Help me break free from feelings of discontentment and learn to live with a heart full of gratitude and love for the life You have given me, no matter what it may look like. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

This weekend we will continue our study of Spirit filled living (Part 5) as we look specifically how to put sin to death by developing a superior appetite for the things of God. I called the sermon “A People of Taste.” Join us as we learn how to become “connoisseurs of the good”.

Blessings to you all,

Pastor Scott