Last week I was telling my psychologist how frustrating the changes in my body are. The simple things, like I have to wait for one of my sons to come over to carry salt to the swimming pool.
She said, “change will happen, sometimes we must learn to live with change being the new normal”.
What is the secret to a happy and content life? I think it is learning to be content in whatever situation you find yourself in: single, married, sick, healthy, rich, or poor. It’s a contentment that comes from within.
Philippians 4:12 says “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.”
Contentment is not conning yourself, psyching yourself up, or pretending you like what you really don’t like. That isn’t contentment — that’s fake.
Contentment is taking stock of your attitude and deciding that with Christ’s presence in you, you can cope! You can handle it! You are sufficient for the problem!
Contentment is not apathy, laziness, or complacency. If you can change a situation, you don’t need to be content and lay in it — maybe you need to get up and do something about it.
Where you really need to master the art of a learned contentment is in the situations that you can’t control: those things that are beyond you.
So how do you do that? I have learned a couple of ways:
One is to avoid comparison.
There will always be people that make more money than you, who have greater opportunities than you have, or who have fewer problems. So what? That need not have any bearing on your own personal contentment.
Howard Hughes, a business magnate and Hollywood socialite, was once asked, “How much money does it take to make a man happy?” He said, “Just a little more.”
In stark contrast, the Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:18, “We don’t look around at what we see right now, the troubles all around us. But we look forward to the joys in heaven.”
You don’t need to have what others have, be liked by everyone or have more than what you have now to be content.
I can’t afford to spend time comparing myself to other people or in the futile pursuit of more. I keep my eyes on a far greater hope and purpose.
Another is to adjust to change.
Life is full of ups and downs — emotionally, physically, mentally, and financially. One thing is certain in life: change.
Change is going to happen whether you like it or not and we must be flexible because circumstances usually aren’t.
How well do you handle change? Do you get frightened? Moody? Angry? Uptight?
Your happiness in life will be largely dependant upon your ability to adapt, adjust, and be flexible.
What is the secret of a content and happy life? Learn to relax, trust God, avoid comparing yourself and adjust to change.
February 14, 2014 at 9:40 am
Morning Phil, love my Fridays with Phil, was asked yesterday to work Fridays!!!! Guess what my response was??
Having taken this journey of MND with Trevor it is soooo easy to fall into the comparison trap, asking questions like ” why am I losing so much so quickly compared with others?”
Bless Trev, he demonstrated to his circle of influence that what was happening to him was his and his alone, he accepted that Jesus was with him every step of the way, regardless of how many steps there were to be. Trust in God brings that peace in the knowledge that He never compares us with each other and neither should we, hold on to Him tightly Phil and all other sufferers, He never let’s us down. Bless you, have an awesome week. Hazel
February 14, 2014 at 9:58 am
How blessed we are to have two very special people sharing their journey with the rest of us. Bless you Hazel and Phil for your openness and vulnerability. So many of us are going through our journeys of many varied descriptions but your words encourage all. Love to you all from Rick & me xx
February 14, 2014 at 4:53 pm
Thank you for your words you and Trev have been an inspiration to so many. My pray is that this year especially you would know more then ever the great Comforter.
February 14, 2014 at 12:10 pm
Really encouraging Phil and a challenge for us all – change is one of the biggest challenges I know of that affects us personally, affects teams, workplaces and much much more!
February 14, 2014 at 4:53 pm
True Jayne, thanks.
February 14, 2014 at 12:26 pm
That’s an inspiring and encouraging insightful word Phil. We continue praying with you also
February 14, 2014 at 4:54 pm
Thanks for prayers be blessed.
February 14, 2014 at 4:17 pm
Thanks Phil. Great to hear your thoughts, observations, and read of your continued trust in the Lord Jesus. thank you. I passed on your last item and link to someone I know who has a very close friend with MND. They found it very encouraging. The Lord bless you and yours, Mark
February 14, 2014 at 4:55 pm
Hi Mark. Thanks man. If i can do any more let me know, available for coffee or chat with your friends.
February 14, 2014 at 9:11 pm
Hi Phil, thank you so much for your inspiration and courage, I can not comprehend what a challenge life must be for you and the family right now, but please know that you have in the past and are still providing an amazing testimony of how God works through those that love him – you inspired me when you were at Life in Auckland and I thank you for continuing to do so even with a such massive challenge in your life. Sarah (my wife) Joel ( our 3yr old) and I pray for you every night and will continue to, as God has a true friend in you.
February 18, 2014 at 11:59 am
Hi Nigel and Sarah
Thanks so much for your words and prayers, really appreciate it.
February 15, 2014 at 11:41 am
Great insight for living life as God intended! Obviously what’s inside of you will continue to minister and bless others regardless of the difficulties! It reminds me of the verse that our suffering is producing a greater weight of glory (my paraphrase). Thank you for your amazing attitude and willingness to let faith shine through!!
February 18, 2014 at 11:59 am
February 18, 2014 at 12:00 pm
Sorry thanks Christina
February 15, 2014 at 12:47 pm
Inspirational, as usual! Focussing on what we do have rather than what we don’t is a strengths-based approach that brings life to any situation. It takes courage to swim against the flow of our post-modern world that thrives on comparison, as well as the excitement of the chase for more and more (capitalism). Understanding that contentment is the goal changes our perception of what it is to be happy. You nailed it when you say we don’t have to be like everyone else. Thank you for reminding me that the happiness trap keeps me from being ‘content in all things’. Being content is achieveable, being happy … I’m not so sure that it is, or even what it means ‘to be happy’. I know what it means to be content.
February 15, 2014 at 8:59 pm
As always Phil you have encouraged me in my walk of life.
February 17, 2014 at 5:38 am
Thank you for the inspiring post, Phil.
February 18, 2014 at 12:02 pm
And yours they are so encouraging, thanks Bill