I have two strong unfulfilled desires. One has sprung up fairly recently; one has been in my heart for over a decade. Both desires I believe were placed in my heart by God – for His purpose and glory – but at this point, I am simply waiting for His timing.
Contemplating this one day, the thought struck me, How am I to reconcile these strong desires with being content at the same time? Achieving contentment while living with unfulfilled God-placed desires seemed impossible. It was like mixing oil and water.
Then I started contemplating two familiar verses in Philippians 4:
“I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” (v. 11b)
“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” (v. 6, emphasis mine)
I considered that while I’m generally a thankful person toward others, I do not always have such a grateful heart on the inside. Wanting to have everything “just right” or “my way” makes it difficult to be thankful when everything doesn’t align just as I think it should.
But I find it interesting that Paul exhorts us to be thankful in the midst of presenting our requests to God. In the midst of. Not as a side note.
In my life, deciding to choose gratitude has been like deciding to exercise. It has been hard! Sometimes it’s easy to say, “No thank you. I’d rather wallow in self-pity today. Maybe tomorrow.” Yet I find that the more I deliberately choose to be thankful, the more content I become.
I’d like to have some gratitude “exercising” partners! Who’s with me?