I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances.  Philippians 4:11

The only difference between a 48-hour power outage and a weekend camping trip is your perception of the situation. In both cases, you can’t cook, shower, watch television or turn on hot water. One situation is unplanned, the other planned. Our attitude has a lot to do with our response. The problem is, most of what happens to us in life is unplanned by us. We don’t get to choose our circumstances; but we can choose our attitude.

            Linda Dillow in the book Calm My Anxious Heart, says she and her husband lived as missionaries in Hong Kong for three years. Hong Kong is an exotic city, filled with gorgeous ocean views and stores that offer unbelievable bargains. It has a wonderful transit system and offers unique travel opportunities. Hong Kong is also one of the most densely populated places on earth. It is very hot and humid, making it a breeding ground for mildew, fungus, and geckos. Also, Hong Kong has the highest rent rates in the world, along with a high crime rate.

            The point is: everything has a positive and negative, including our lives. I once sat down and made a list of all the things in my marriage that were causing me pain—focusing mostly on my husband!  Then I thought of all the reasons I had married him in the first place—making another list. When I looked at the two lists, I realized that they were the positive and negative of the same qualities For example: I liked that he wasn’t someone who had to be the center of attention. He was secure within himself. After a few years of marriage, I resented that he was quiet and didn’t share everything that was going on in his life—he just quietly went about his business. Also, I liked that he was disciplined with his money, but I became resentful that he didn’t buy me romantic, impulsive gifts. It was eye-opening to see that I had been focusing on the negative side of the qualities that I truly admired to begin with. When I stepped back, I realized I still valued those qualities and preferred them. It was my choice to decide which list I was going to focus on. God wants us to learn to be content in our circumstances.

*How do you categorize your life? Make a list of the positives and negatives.

*Which list do you spend the majority of your time dwelling on?

Father, I need Your help to see my situation with Your eyes. I surrender to Your ways, Your timing, Your outcome. Teach me how to be content. Help me to focus on the things that are good and true. I love You. In Your name I pray, Amen.

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