Written by Madelyn Schierenbeck / February 2018
What do you want in life right now? Do you want to buy a house? Do you want to travel more? Maybe get married and start raising a family? Or land that dream job that you feel will help jump-start your career? Being a young adult is hard. We see all these things that we hope for in life but for some reason, it can sometimes seem just out of our reach. We want it all now. But the truth is, we can’t always have it all right now. Realizing this can lead us to feel discouraged, disappointed, and unhappy with our current place in life. In times like these, when all we want is to get started with our lives and make our future dreams a reality, it is time that we remember how important it is to be patient and trust in the Lord’s timing. Right now, it is time we learn to be content with the life that we have today, rather than always wishing for something more.
Contentment is defined as “a state of happiness and satisfaction.” It’s such a simple concept, really, yet it seems so difficult for us to live out day to day, especially when it feels like we want it all NOW, but we just can’t. So just how do we practice contentment? Lucky for us, God has it all laid out in 3 easy steps in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. He tells us, number 1: rejoice always, number 2: pray continually, and number 3: give thanks in all circumstances.
Rejoice always. Be joyful. Why? Because even though our sins condemned us, Jesus took them and paid for them on the cross. We are forgiven. Sometimes from the moment we open our eyes in the morning, it feels like one of those days when nothing is going to go right. This is when it is most important to choose to be joyful in God’s plan, which is “to give you hope and a future,” as written in Jeremiah 29:11. God gave this promise that a future and a hope would be coming soon: Jesus. Since Jesus came, you can wake up every day with the intention of being joyful and grateful for what God has given you.
Pray continually. This one is huge. Pray. Let your requests be made known to God. Have a conversation with your Father in Heaven and tell Him about all the things you want for your future. And then, trust and be confident that He will answer those prayers in His own time and in the way that He sees best. Sometimes we are so busy planning our own lives that we don’t first ask God about His plan for us. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Give thanks in all circumstances. Choose to be thankful for the life you have. Wish you could travel more? Be thankful for the weekend getaways that you do have, even if they are few and far in between. Wish you could score your ideal job? Be thankful for the job you do have/the jobs you have had, because through those jobs, you are being equipped with the tools necessary to succeed in your future occupations. Be thankful for everything that God has given you today. Instead of looking at all of the things you don’t have, take note of all of the wonderful things you do have, and thank Him for them!
God gives us the keys to contentment, right here in this verse: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” A wonderful woman that I follow recently wrote on Instagram, “. . . Life has thrown us a few curveballs recently, and it’s made me really take a step back and focus more on the little things that make me happy in the present rather than focusing so much on what will make me happy in the future.” I really believe that is God’s will for us today – to be grateful for and content with the position in life that He has given us right now. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t work toward your goals, and strive for the best, but rather, be content with the ride.
And why are we able to do these things? Rejoice, pray, and give thanks continually? Because of Christ, who has made us children of God through faith and has given us His righteousness and eternal life through His blood.