"For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content
Throughout our lives we have or will experience a moment of mental lapse in a time we
are anxious over a matter. It may be that we want something "so bad we can taste
it," so bad we can lose ourselves completely in thought of it. Some express their
obsession with words like, "I must have it or I'll die!" But that's one extreme.
The not so extreme would be what most of us are possibly more familiar with. That being
that we are not laden with obsession, but distracted by want. But not so much that we make
some verbal proclamations regarding our death if we can not possess what we want. Instead,
we conceal our aspirations and secretly dwell on them. They become a distraction and a
source of worry and anxiety. And though we may not be obsessed by what we want, we are
certainly not content without it.
What kinds of things could distract us so? It could be anything, or sometimes many things.
We can easily grow anxious over whether or not we will get a desired job, be accepted into
a desired college, or be accepted into some organization. It could be something material:
a new house, a car, a boat, or any other material possession. It could be an aspiration
for a certain person that distracts us, hoping that certain someone will go out with you,
have dinner with you, or marry you.
But why the anxiety? It is not because we have aspirations. Aspirations are quite normal
and they are healthy as long as they do not become lust or obsession. No, it is not the
healthy aspiration that causes the trouble but fear. It is the fear that what seems to be
something we might be able to have might be taken away, or kept just out of reach. All the
right doors may have opened and everything may be suggesting that you will be getting
something you have hoped for, for so long; and yet, we fear that something or someone will
snatch it away from us, or that it is simply too good to be true. And so we worry, and we
fret, and we imagine things that have no place in reality--and as it has been said,
"We get all worked up over nothing."
But we can hope to have, yet remain content. We can aspire for this or that and set our
goals without embracing lust or obsession. And we can escape anxiety and fear by giving it
all over to God. Easier said than done--right? Maybe so. Yet, God knows our desires
already and He also knows what is best for us. So how we free ourselves from anxiety is by
doing just a couple of things: First we talk to God about what we want. We tell Him how we
feel and why we desire what we want and why we would like to have it. Then we turn it over
to Him by giving it up. In other words, we acknowledge that our desire may not be what is
best, and we recognize that what God desires is what is best for us. And so we tell Him,
"This is what I want, nevertheless, do for me what you want because I know what you
want is what is best."
After we have brought it to Him the second step is to leave it with Him. In this we find
contentment and peace, and we demonstrate our trust in His decision. We entrust it to His
capable and loving hand, and we tell ourselves, "Now it is in His hands, I do not
have to worry about it anymore. If He wants it for me I will have it. And if He does not
want it for me, I am better off without it." In this we can find contentment with
what we already have or where we already are, yet we can also hold onto aspirations
knowing that God will lead us toward those that are beneficial, and away from those that