The Eddie Bauer email came telling me that they were still offering 50% off sitewide. Right away I thought about the long-sleeve t-shirts I like to wear that I get from them. I went to the site and looked at the colors, picking out two new ones and put the shirts in my shopping cart. Then I added another basic black one. Before I hit send, though, I decided I wanted to pray about it.
Pretty quickly I felt as if the Lord was reminding me that I already had 3 long-sleeve t-shirts that were working fine. Then I recalled that the black one had gotten dirty and was in the laundry hamper when I next wanted to wear it so I probably did need another black one. But again that prompting was there that I had a short-sleeve, black t-shirt I could wear with a sweater or the white or green long sleeve one. “Be content,” I almost heard Him say to me. “I have well provided for you. You don’t need more.”
That was true. He has very well provided for me, and I didn’t need more. Wasn’t my lure to buy at a great price discontent, even ingratitude? If I was grateful, I would be thanking Him for His provision rather than thinking about what more I might want.
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Philippians 4:11
“And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” 1 Timothy 6:8
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5
It was sweet to my soul to pray, sense His response, and then have peace from trusting and resting. That is way better than a new t-shirt. And in that process, I had another installment of the ongoing lessons of gratitude and contentment.
What about you? It might not be a t-shirt for you, but perhaps it is discontentment with things about your husband or children. It could be your house or your husband’s job. You might not even realize you are discontent. I didn’t think of myself as being discontent when I went to look at new t-shirts. It was God Who helped me to that realization.
What is God’s solution for our discontent? I can’t help but wonder if it is gratitude. “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). We talked about that two months ago in helping our children learn to be grateful. Then last month we discussed taking stress away from Christmas by being thankful for what is behind the stressor or the outcome it will bring. Now gratitude allows us to have a content heart.
Would you and your family benefit from your focusing on what you are thankful for rather than what you wish were different? Would that give you the contentment God says He wants you to have, and is it possible that might achieve peace in your heart that you don’t experience right now? Doesn’t God take care of His children? Are you content with His care?
P.S. I wrote this article before Christmas and wouldn’t you know, I received not one but three of my favorite, long-sleeve, t-shirts for Christmas without the girls who gave them to me knowing this story. Thank you to my girls, and thank you to the Lord Jesus, Who does take care of His children!