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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Choose Your Lens

"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation." (Philippians 4:11-12, NIV)

Not long ago, I tried on a pair of jeans at a consignment store that didn’t look so great in the shadowy dressing-room mirror. I was taking them back to the rack when I saw a newer mirror in the main room outside, and decided to take a quick second look. Score! The jeans looked completely different once I looked in a better mirror. The mirrors in the dressing room were older and darker, giving a distorted reflection that almost fooled me.

We’ve all looked at ourselves in distorted mirrors. What we may not realize, though, is that we often see everyday life—especially our challenging circumstances—through a similarly distorted lens. Oh, if only such-and-such was different, I’d feel better, is a common refrain. If only my husband realized what I have to deal with every day is another. The view through that lens makes us discontented and tempts us to grumble. We try to change our discontentment by changing what we think has led to it. We try to amass more money to get out of that tiny apartment. We try to change how our kids appear to the outside world. We try to force our spouse to do things our way (“The right way!”).

The result? Exhaustion. Leading right back to disappointment and discontent.

Or perhaps instead we just grumble a bit about the inconvenience or injustice of the situation. Once those emotions start taking root in our hearts, they often leak out onto our classmates, kids, spouse, coworkers, or friends.

The result? Yet again, exhaustion. Further discontent.

No matter what is going on, we can set aside our “right” to be discontented. Instead, we can take God’s challenge to find contentment in every situation. Instead of looking through the lens that shows the most unflattering perspective, let’s choose the one that changes everything. That lens is called gratitude. Gratitude for everything God has allowed us to have that is good (that we might not be focusing on right now) and gratitude that He is sufficient. Not just sufficient to get us through what is difficult—and bear up both us and the scowl on our face—but sufficient to get us through difficult times with a joyful heart!

Try practicing gratitude today. The facts of the situation won’t change, but your perspective on them will. You may not be able to control your circumstances, but every day you do have control over how you view them.

Questions to Consider:

Every season of life has its challenges. What can you be grateful for in the challenge that you are going through right now? How can you maintain that perspective over time?

Used with permission of iDisciple Publishers from the book FIND REST by Shaunti Feldhahn.

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