Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Life Defined by Contentment - Guest Post Series

I am excited to introduce to you the author of today's "Living as a Single Christian Woman" guest post, Alicia from Experiencing Each Moment.

Alicia is the first person I met at college 15+ years ago! That means I've known her longer than my husband (who I DON'T remember meeting!). My favorite memory from those days has to be the Anne video marathon we held one weekend.


I have to admit singlehood feels like a lifetime ago (as does life before motherhood), but since I didn’t marry until I was 27 I can definitely remember feeling oh-so-single and that I would possibly always be single.

If I could go back 10 years and talk to my single self, before I had even met my husband I would say, “Alicia, just rest. Enjoy your Savior. Practice being content in Him.” Being content is much easier to say than do. It’s a character trait that takes time to build. None of us want to be made to learn it, but none of us are exempt no matter what our marital status is.

Obstacles to contentment:
  • Everyone we know has what we hope for.
  • Our unwillingness to accept God’s will for us.
  • We have a limited, temporal view of life.
Reasons to strive or “train” our minds and hearts for contentment:
  • Singlehood is not the only trial we will face. I started to believe that singlehood was my “thorn”. What a lie! I have had ten times the pain since I’ve been married than my 9 years as an unmarried adult . If we don’t practice contentment then we will begin to believe a wrong theology that God protects us from suffering. God gets to use His one “trial card”, and then it’s free sailing. Trials happen over and over! And if you need evidence from the Bible, just look at Joseph, Job, or Mary. They experienced very difficult things, and yet there was a harder event waiting for them around the corner.
  • Someone is always going to have it better than you. It’s just true. Someone will always be prettier, have more money, more caring friends, a more attentive husband, and better behaved children. So the question is not what is your life compared to someone else’s, the question is what is your life like? Where is your heart? If it was just you and God sitting down to talk (because that’s truly what it is), what would you have to talk about? He’s not going to be asking about everyone else.
  • Someone is always going to have it worse than you. Isn’t it annoying when someone complains about getting a B on a test when you scored a C? I can recognize the fact that at 27 I married after most of my friends, but not all of them. I have some friends who married in their 30’s and one dear friend who is still single. (Of course she wouldn’t consider herself worse off than me because she has learned the gift of contentment and is serving her Savior faithfully.) But do you really want to be THAT person that complains so much about your own personal experience that you can’t realize someone could be standing around who has it worse?
As a Navy wife, I am a single mom about 40% of the time. Some have it better, some have it worse. None of that matters-this is God’s plan for me, and I can experience Him completely within it.

What contentment produces in us:
  • Intimacy with God. His word says he is near to the brokenhearted. Discontentment keeps us agitated, which prevents us from admitting that we are heartbroken. It’s okay to hurt, and when we express our heart wishes to our Savior, we grow closer to him.
  • Lack of regret. I’m looking back at my single days and the only parts of them I regret are when I didn’t thoroughly enjoy God’s presence in my life. I had a youth minister tell me once after a breakup, “Alicia, just lose yourself in the center of God’s will.” I really didn’t completely understand that at the time, but now I see when I am consumed by God (lost in Him) I don’t even think about anything else.
  • Recognition of our special purpose on this earth. Our path is completely unique from another person’s. The fact that quite a few people get married right out of college makes it feel like we are the exception to the norm, but we are experiencing exactly what God’s plan was for us before we were conceived. I don’t want someone else’s plan!
"I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills {his purpose} for me." Psalms 57:2
"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21

May contentment define your life!
Alicia is a Navy wife and SAHM to Timothy, 5, and Samantha, 3. She blogs about Experiencing Each Moment with two special needs children and any books they will give her a chance to read!


Amy said...

Thanks for your insight! i have had lots of conversations lately regarding contentment, and i really enjoyed reading your post. Very true! Things I need to keep in mind and be reminded of as well. Thanks!

Alicia said...

Thank you for this opportunity, Steph! I look forward to the next two!

Christi said...

As always, wise words. Thanks for sharing your heart, Alicia!

Trish said...

What a wonderful post! I was just talking about this topic with someone the other day and realizing how I wish I had understood this concept before I got married.

If you're not content when you're single, you won't be content just because you get married.

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

So true, Alicia! Thank you for sharing. I think principle of contentment applies for everything. If you aren't content as a single, without kids, in an apartment, with your current husband, in a small house, driving a beater car, etc. - whatever it is that God has given you - then you won't be content with the "better" version.

Contentment is just plain hard to develop but so necessary!

wherever HE leads we'll go said...

Very well said. I really needed this reminder today!

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