the struggle is real

I never enjoyed the game tug-of-war. The thought of winning is always fun, but when the endgame is one team falling into a germ infested mud bowl while a bunch of sweaty people fall on top of you, it just doesn’t seem like a good pay off.

But there is a tug-of-war going on in my life and yours where the endgame is totally worth the struggle!

I, like many of you, have big dreams and plans. God has given me vision over my family, finances, marriage, and ministry that are big and apart from Him, unattainable.

I have read the books, prayed the prayers, cried the tears, and walked circles around my mountains to bring those things not yet seen into reality. You too? Glad I’m not alone.

And although I MUST press and contend for those promises, the tension I feel tugging in my heart is to simultaneously remain content with where I am today and to be at peace with what God has currently placed in my hands.

Contentment. (Sigh) An easy word to say but a much more difficult quality to obtain, right?!

Paul was familiar with this tug-of-war and says it like this, “…I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." Philippians 4:11b-13 NLT

Now I wouldn’t say I have mastered being content, but I am learning. So here are a few tips that have moved me towards living a life of contentment while actively pursuing more:

1. I get thankful.

Gratefulness is the antidote to our discontentment. Whatever we place our attention and focus on will be magnified. So we must CHOOSE and discipline our minds to be thankful IN all things.

When I feel myself getting snarky about life, getting frustrated with how slowly I think my dreams are progressing, even feeling sorry for myself and throwing myself a pity party, it is a warning signal on the dashboard of my life. It indicates that my thankful tank is on empty and I need to fill it up!

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV

This often looks like verbalizing out loud for myself to hear all the things I am thankful for, even if I have not arrived to my preferred destination. So open up your mouth and magnify the good things God has given you in this season!

2. I give up my rights.

You won’t hear me say it out loud because that would be embarrassing. But my attitude and thought life can often communicate what I feel I “deserve.” Then I have to remind myself that last I checked, Jesus asked me to pick up my cross…on the daily. So a fully surrendered, cross-bearing life basically means I have no rights. Let that sink in for a second!

If I view the things I have, want, and need in life as a privilege instead of a right, the ability to be content with my season greatly increases. And the mark of a true and trusting believer is a sense of calm and contentment because we don't have to have everything figured out.

3. I trust God.

I know…so cliché, but this is a biggie! If we truly trust God, then we will trust His timing for increase, for that better job, for the breakthrough we are contending for in our ministry, business, family, and finances. Don’t get me wrong…trusting God doesn’t equal sitting idly by twiddling our thumbs. Trusting God means I give Him ultimate control and am at rest in my soul, spirit, and mind even while I ask and pray for more.

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians‬ 4‬:19‬ NKJV)

When we give what is most important to us back to God, we are ultimately proclaiming He our source.

Ready for a truth bomb? Whatever we trust in life for our happiness and security, that is ultimately the god we worship. I know that is a tough statement, but when we really think about it, it is spot on!

His timing and provision is always amazing and always complete. He may not always give us want we want when we want it, but He will always give us what we need.

It all boils down to this…contentment isn’t something we are born with. In fact, we come out of the womb discontent and selfish! We must choose to be content. So today, as you contend for more, embrace the sweet and necessary tension of being content as well.

Sabrina Schlesinger

Sabrina is a mother to three biological girls and one adopted boy. She is a pastor’s wife, graphic designer, founder of Mom Mentor and the brand new Parenting on the Go Podcast! She resides in beautiful San Diego where the sun shines every day. She prefers chai lattes over coffee, mac-n-cheese over vegetables, and staying in over going out. Check her out on Instagram and Facebook!   

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