The Lessons We Learn in Our Lack

November 16, 2021

I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself.

Philippians 4:11

Written by Stephanie Attanasio from the Brentwood Campus

The Disappointment We Feel

Many of us are not where we thought we would be by this season of life. We often get caught up thinking about the “by now” moments. By now, I should be married. Or by now, I should have kids. By now, I should be more successful in my career, richer, or retired. It feels as if there is an internal barometer always wanting bigger and better. Yet for those in Christ, there are lessons we learn in our lack.

Even after we reach the “by now” mile marker we’ve been striving for, there often still comes a dejected feeling. This wave of emotion often hits as we contend with life’s losses, disappointments, and frustrations. But what if we, like Paul, took a moment to pause and learn how to be content, no matter our circumstance?

A Shift in Focus

Contentment is unnatural to the flesh, but it is a discipline worth learning and practicing. In Philippians 4, Paul provides us with a living example of how contentment transcends circumstance. Sitting alone in a Roman prison, Paul acknowledged that his contentment was not based on his current state of need. He realized, rather, that his contentment was based on thankfulness for God’s faithfulness.

In order to achieve contentment, Paul intentionally shifted his focus away from what he lacked, letting his mind and heart find appreciation in God’s provision and thanking the Philippians for their continued support.

That We Would Know Peace

Thankfulness leads to the peaceful satisfaction of contentment. So, no matter your current circumstance or level of need, would you join me this week in trying to intentionally focus on God’s faithfulness? Attempt to shift your focus away from what you lack or want to gain and simply find three things to thank the Lord for each day this week. Let gratefulness lead you into contentment. And if you need somewhere to start this week, remember Hebrews 13:5, which says, “Be satisfied with what you have, for he himself has said, ‘I will never leave you or abandon you.’”

Who could you share Hebrews 13:5 with this week to help them fight discontentment? Be sure to reflect upon it yourself when you feel the discontentment pouring in. Remember: in Christ, there are lessons we learn in our lack.