Pam Tebow has a passion for helping women find hope in God through all of their challenges in life. She encourages us to believe that God cares about our pain and sorrow and provides grace-filled, life-altering hope that will not disappoint. Pam never expected her family’s name to be known around the world, but when her youngest son, Tim, won the Heisman Trophy, Pam was featured in national media for her decision to choose life for Tim against doctor’s advice. It’s a grace to welcome Pam to the farm’s front porch today…
The word contentment often causes eyes to roll and ears to tune out because it’s so convicting.
I didn’t choose to sign up for “contentment class,” but I was forced to join a few weeks into my marriage.
Bob and I were grateful to find an inexpensive, convenient place to live while we worked and attended grad school. We enjoyed inviting other students to our little apartment for dinner, until one asked, “How can you be content to live in such a tiny apartment?”
How can I be content? I wondered. Do you ask yourself the same question?
How can we keep from envying what others have?
How do we stop complaining about what we don’t have?
How do we count our blessings rather than list our wants? How can we be content when we can’t even turn on a device without seeing an enticement to covet something we don’t own?
The apostle Paul also attended “contentment class” while under house arrest in Rome. In his accelerated classes, 2 Corinthians 12:10 says he learned to be content with weaknesses, insults, distresses, persecution, and difficulties—for the sake of Christ.
When I read this verse in those early years, I remember thinking that my small apartment didn’t belong in the same category as persecution. But I was in the beginner’s class, taking my first steps on the path to learning contentment. The road ahead, however, would include a crash course in challenges not listed on my syllabus.
Why do we need to deal with hard things? Because issues we can’t solve in our own strength cause us to “seek the Lord and His strength” (Psalm 105:4).
Our young athletes claimed the verse “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13, nkjv) for athletic endeavors but later learned they also needed strength to be content with both the wins and the losses of life.
Read what Paul writes immediately before this famous verse: “I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need” (Philippians 4:12). With this context, we can see that “all things” in verse 13 refers to choosing contentment when we have a little or when we have a lot.
So we remain in contentment class, whether we are looking for a job or celebrating a raise, whether we have outgrown our homes or are moving to our dream houses.
A contented person understands that the things of this world are here when we arrive and are left behind when we exit this life.
But in between, we struggle to be satisfied with what we have.
Years ago, I thought I had a handle on this until we entertained a number of couples from church, and someone made a joke about the chicken wallpaper border in our kitchen. I laughed with the others, but I struggled to remain content.
Although I knew there were more critical financial priorities than new wallpaper, I needed God’s strength and grace to choose contentment every time I saw those chickens. My wallpaper didn’t need to change as much as I did. I no longer have chickens on my wall, but there is always something I wish I could change about my life.
Until I go to heaven, I must keep choosing contentment by faith and not feeling.
Take time to discuss your contentment challenges with the Lord.
Choosing contentment, choice by choice, may be life’s greatest challenge, but it could also result in your most important opportunity to impact our watching world.
Paul counted on God’s strength and grace to choose contentment, and he graduated from his class with honors.
He taught young Timothy his secret: When contentment pairs with godliness, the result is “great gain” (see 1 Timothy 6:6).
Contentment is the inner peace, assurance, and strength to accept God’s plan and provision.
When we choose contentment, we have nothing to lose but bitterness and envy, and we have everything to gain: great gain!
Pam Tebow travels and speaks across the country, encouraging women to use the incredible influence God has given them to eternally impact their world. She is the author of Ripple Effects, has appeared on Good Morning America and has won national awards for her ministry work, including Eagle Forum’s Woman of the Year and Witness in the Public Square in 2012, Commission for Women’s Inspiring Woman of the Year in 2013, Extraordinary Woman of the Year in 2015, and the National Pro-Life Advocate of the Year in 2017.
Hope for a Woman’s Heart is a 52-day devotional to uplift and encourage you. When people and circumstances cause our tender hearts to hurt, we can, by faith, place our trust in the promises of God. Join Pam Tebow in 52 inspiring reflections on the grace-filled, life-altering hope He offers. Your soul will be encouraged by the compassion and presence of our God, who loves you and draws near to you.
[ Our humble thanks to Tyndale for their partnership in today’s devotion ]