by Crystal Bowman
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14 NIV
When my hubby and I finished grad school, we moved to a small apartment and lived there through the birth of our first child. It was fine for a while, but when our son was two years old, we needed more room. We built a walk-out ranch in a nice neighborhood but only finished the main floor. We wanted to “grow” into our house and stay within our budget.
Our home felt enormous compared to our little apartment. We couldn’t afford a washer and dryer right away, so my mother-in-law was happy to share hers. At first, I didn’t mind driving to her house with my toddler and baskets of dirty laundry in tow. But after a while, I began to long for that washer and dryer.
When our laundry room was finally finished, I smiled as I tossed smelly socks, sweaty gym clothes, and stained toddler T-shirts in the washer and transferred them to the dryer. I hummed as I folded clean laundry and distributed the clothes to their proper places. I was happy and content in our home. At least for a while.
“Our son needs a playroom,” I told my husband. I was tired of tripping over his cars and trucks in the kitchen and stepping on Duplos with my bare feet—ouch! I begged my hubby to please finish off the room in the basement so our son would have a place to play. So, we finished the playroom, and it was wonderful! My little guy loved zooming his diggers across the floor and bouncing on his rocking horse. I was content now that we had a playroom. At least for a while.
Our small living room was nice, but we had space for a family room on the lower level. It even had a fireplace. So, we finished the family room. Then I wanted to finish the bathroom downstairs, so we didn’t have to race upstairs every time we needed to “go.” And besides—I was potty training our son and sometimes the need was urgent!
One day I finally realized that no matter how many rooms we finished, or how many appliances we acquired, there would always be one more thing I’d want. Then God taught me a lesson through the Apostle Paul.
Paul traveled from one country to another, sharing the Gospel message of Jesus Christ and encouraging new believers. It is believed that he traveled more than 10,000 miles throughout his ministry. Paul was a “low maintenance” guy. He got by on what he had and was dependent on God to provide for him through the people he met and stayed with. He trusted God to take care of him and knew God would give him the strength he needed regardless of his circumstances.
In Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV) Paul says, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for 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, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Paul knew the secret to contentment did not come from material possessions or living in a certain place, but rather dependence on God and embracing His love. It’s the same for us today. Possessions can’t give us lasting contentment—only God can do that.
We built that first house 43 years ago. We have since lived in several different homes and in different states. Whether we had a lot or a little, we always had enough. I’m finding the older I get, the less I need. I pray that I may become more like the Apostle Paul and be content with what I have—trusting God to supply all my needs.
This article is brought to you by the Advance Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Crystal Bowman is a bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 books including, Our Daily Bread for Kids. She and her husband have three married children and eight huggable grandchildren.
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Join the conversation. Have you learned to be content?