Breath of Contentment

My brother ‘n law loves to fish. After he and my sister secure their fifth wheel for another weekend at a lake campground, he’s soon seen steering the electric motor of their inflatable boat to a cove where the fish most likely are to be. He is a catch and release fisherman. And so content that my sister, generally after he’s been gone a minimum of four hours, will try to catch his attention by waving her arms from the shore. And often he does not see her, so wrapped up in the moment of fishing with no regard of how much time has gone by.

In the meantime, and perfectly understandable, my sister thinks he should be back at the campsite after a certain amount of time. And I sympathize with her. Yet, I also am inspired by my brother ‘n law and his ability to not ‘should’ himself into the next thing. Instead he catches and releases moments, reacting to both the tug and slack of his fishing line as they come–content with either.

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In Philippians 4:11-13, Paul teaches us how to be content even when we don’t have what we think we should have, or be where we think we should be.

 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. 

This summer I’ve had the opportunity to learn how to be content, however doing so I have not been as graceful as a casted fishing line. Instead, I’ve tugged with the “I wish that turned out different because…” or “I wish I could have afforded that vacation to…” or “I should be instead of….” And tension is created between the past and the future, instead of keeping me in the stillness of the present. So I hold on to these words of Paul too:

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have laid hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

Pressing on is not letting go of what you hope for, however it is trusting God’s got you in your place for a purpose and to stay present with a heart of gratitude. What helped me over the summer is starting to write my gratitudes down daily (a habit I had stopped).  And, of course, included in these gratitudes are camping weekends with my sister and brother ‘n law!

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What circumstance is God wanting you to be content in?

And, if you are a camper, where is your favourite spot to go?

13 thoughts on “Breath of Contentment

  1. Beautiful post, Lynn. Writing one sentence a day over the last five years about what made me happy that day has kept me content. I realize that even on what feels like the worst day, there is always something to be grateful for. Gorgeous photos!

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    1. You’ve inspired me with your words today, Jill, as I navigate what was suppose to be an easy travel day to a day of flight cancellation, just missed opportunities, and long waits. So, looking at ways to be still be grateful! The sun is shines during summer travel eliminating carrying around heavy coats–that’s something to be grateful for! Wonderful habit you have developed with writing one sentence a day of gratitude!

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  2. Thank you for this reminder to find contentment wherever God has me. It seems like I can go in and out of contentment in just minutes! But I am so glad that He pulls me back in and shows me that He is with me in every moment, and that is the secret that Paul learned too. Oh may I not forget! Blessings to you this week!

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  3. I haven’t been in trails or nature for quite sometime. Thanks for reminding me that I need to go out and take a breath of fresh air.

    “Stay present with a heart of gratitude.” I love this line. And yes, contentment can be learned if we are humble and willing to trust God’s plan and purpose for our lives. Thank you!

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  4. My life is caught up in a move heading my w ay. One that has several options, all good options but making it hard to decide. My husband and I differ on several of the options so I am feeling a little frustrated. Being a Martha, I want it settled NOW. But there is no way to settle it now, time must past and other things must come about before we can proceed to the next step. I am not a good waiter…it makes my head hurt. I want my contentment back when I thought all was settled and we had several more years being where we are now. Think I will go outside and watch the stars and moon for a while and put my mind on He holds them all up there in the sky on nothing so I guess He can help me with contentment. I can trust the one who hangs the earth on nothing. Thanks for great post.

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    1. That’s a beautiful way to seek for contentment back by looking up to the skies and the One “who hangs the earth on nothing.” I hope you’ve found the peaceful middle with all the decisions you have had to make on your upcoming move!

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  5. Lynn, what a beautiful post. There is such a tug between the past and the future that makes have to choose contentment in the present. I love that your brother can lose himself in fishing, caught up in the moment. I’m thankful our Lord is in each moment, and is right there, for us to choose Him and keeping our eyes fixed on Him rather than the circumstances and the wishing for something else. I’m remembering this as I head into my Sunday.

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  6. Ah, what an important message, Lynn! I need to be content with some things that I am wishing would be moving forward, but they’re not. I am trying to rest in the assurance that God’s got this- in His own time- His perfect time, NOT MINE. I trust that, but my flesh whispers little annoying grievances from time to time. lol

    Letting go of the past has ALWAYS been difficult for me- another issue to lay at the cross and I do- over and over again. God is ever so patient with me and gracious too. More than I am with myself!

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