I’m a people watcher. One of the human things I’m noticing as we move forward with COVID-19’s sheltering-in-home is the mixed bag of responses regarding isolation.
Most of us cozied right up to the idea of time off of work or the perfect excuse to indulge ourselves in a DIY project.
We all started toilet paper collections, we took lots of selfies of cuddling our pets, and we tried not to step into the arena of fear.
As days became weeks, the introverted among us, of whom I am one, appreciated the extended excuse for long periods of disengagement.
Until we realized that the extroverts were getting restless…and with good reason.
No one likes to feel trapped, especially when the hugs are few, and conversations are held hostage by technology.
I appreciate Paul’s statement that he learned to be content in whatever situation he was in.
I just want to know HOW he learned that!
Let’s be honest; Paul mentions some pretty gnarly circumstances in Philippians 4:11-13:
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me (ESV).
What’s the secret recipe to contentment in every situation, including sheltering-in-home?
It’s great that Paul says he can do all things through Christ who gives him strength… Good for him!
…BUT HOW DOES HE RECEIVE THAT STRENGTH?
After all, he calls it a secret that has to be learned.
So guess what, we’re smack in the middle of a…
…Secret Learning Boot Camp on Contentment!
Here’s how that contentment boot camp works:
1. If you are going to learn a secret from Jesus, you have to be hanging out with Him a lot. You can’t isolate yourself from Him.
2. You have to involve the Holy Spirit in your self-talk. This means tuning into your inner dialogue with yourself and listening to His comments on your musings. Especially the downward spiral musings… that’s where He’ll interrupt your thinking the most.
He will throw His thoughts into the mix of your thoughts. You just have to pause long enough to listen. Then take notes on what He says.
3. If you aren’t used to hearing Jesus speak in your inner musings, grab onto a portion of Scripture. He is called the Word, which means He is talking on the page and in your spirit.
Turn your chosen portion of Scripture around in your thoughts. Treat it as an encrypted message that you need to apply to yourself.
While you are trying to figure it out, the Lord will unravel it. The secret code becomes evident as you muse over it, discuss it with the Holy Spirit, and apply what He says.
What the Lord says to you for your current situation is personal… for you alone.
What Jesus says to you may be the same words He says to me. HOWEVER, the experience will be different… because those words will fit your personality and refer to your circumstance.
Those words won’t fit me the same way. I’m not you, and my life situation isn’t yours.
Like Paul, you have to tap into your personal situation and your personal relationship with Jesus to find the strength you need for today. One day at a time, over and over again.
Rinse and repeat. This is called “learning.”
…as you do the above, you are being changed into His image. You are being transformed from “glory to glory” AND finding the supernatural strength you need to rise above any unpleasant situation.
It’s not rocket science, folks. It is Spirit science. You can LEARN contentment. I promise.
P.S. Interested in more? Check out this post!