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This summer our church is having everyone participate in different classes during Wednesday night church. There are a list of classes to choose from, some I had already attended previously and some I had not, but one stood out to me from all the rest: Calm My Anxious Heart. It sounded like the perfect thing for someone like me – someone who struggles with anxiety (see my post: The Secret Life of a Girl with Anxiety) and the book by Linda Dillow had been on my to-read list for quite awhile.
The first night of class was in the first week of June. I got there early and sat there waiting to hear more about what this class was about. I was confused and shocked when I heard it was about contentment.
Contentment? I thought. What does contentment have to do with anxiety? I seriously had no clue. But as I sat through the next hour of that class I started to realize something very important: Contentment is the exact opposite of anxiety.
Over the next week as I let what I learned from the first class sink in and as I read several chapters in the book, I realized that so many of my issues – the sins in my life came from having a discontent heart. I was so convicted, but yet so challenged to change! My hope is that in sharing what I am learning in each class, that you too can be encouraged and learn to live a life of contentment! I hope that this will be a series that will speak to you and that you may even purchase the book and follow along with me.
In the beginning of the chapter, Linda Dillow speaks of two different people,- one woman was always negative. It showed on her face, in her posture and even throughout her family. She had much to be thankful for – a good family, a nice home, and more, but she couldn’t see it through her heart of discontent. “She was like a horse with blinders on, only seeing the dirty road straight ahead. She never raised her gaze upward to God or counted her blessings. She had a blurred perspective, an unholy habit of discontent.”
The other woman was a missionary who had been through many hardships. She had left her country and her family to go to live to the primitive country of Africa. This woman’s attitude through her hardships was one of contentment and we find her prescription for contentment in the book.
Prescription for Contentment:
- “Never allow yourself to complain about anything – not even the weather.”
- “Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or someplace else.”
- “Never compare your lot with another’s.”
- “Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.”
- “Never dwell on tomorrow – remember that tomorrow is God’s not ours.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but sitting there hearing this – I kept thinking in my mind, this is impossible… this is impossible. Can you even imagine a life where we all follow this prescription and even though we aren’t perfect that when we fall on maybe one or two of these that we get back up and continue with where we should be again? I couldn’t at first… but the more I read about this life of contentment and realize that all or most of my anxieties can be laid to rest through this little prescription, my mind began to still and I decided I wanted to change.
“What made this missionary woman’s everyday focus so different from the first woman’s? The secret is in the last statement. Her eyes were fixed on eternity. Her tomorrows belonged to God. She had given them to Him. And because all her tomorrow’s were nestled in God’s strong arms, she was free to live today. One day at a time she could make the right choices and grow to possess the holy habits of contentment.”
As I read of the above list – the prescription, I think about how these apply to my life. How often do I complain? How often do I compare to those I see on Facebook, those in my family and to those who are my friends? I realize that not only does this comparing lead to a life of discontent, but also to a life of envy and jealousy – something I often struggle with. How often do I wish that my circumstances were different, that God had given me different circumstances? How often do I dwell on the cares of tomorrow instead of taking care of the matters of today?
Maybe the answers for you are different than the answers I came up with. But if not, I encourage you to follow along with my journey and especially with my next post as I write about learning to be content. Because no one is perfect, and contentment is something that must be learned.
What is YOUR journey to contentment? Do you have an internal perspective or an eternal perspective?