Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Content with Self

          Perhaps greater than the challenge to learn to be content with circumstances is to be content with oneself. I must admit that this is a daily struggle for me. I know that I must come to define myself through my Creator, however, it still remains a learning process. I recall that in all things contentment comes through learning (Phil. 4:11 ref), and it appears that sometimes that learning must include a curve. So, while I still struggle at times to reconcile who I am in Christ and who I am in this world, I proceed to explore the concept of contentment with self.

13For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

-Psalm 139: 13-16

                God is given complete credit for the creation of me, and yet I am struck by how little “I praise you.” He has created my personality, abilities, and physical shape according to his design. Yet, I am often far too preoccupied with being discontent with these areas of being that I abandon focus on declaring his works wonderful to such an extent that “my soul knows it well (vs. 14)”. Am I honestly prepared to accept the journey to discover a definition of self entirely through the Creator? I must come to realize and live by his design of me was meant to glorify Him.


I find 1 Samuel 16:7 to be of an encouragement when it says “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” And so, it is one’s heart or character that is of greater value. How am I focusing on this? Am I so busy with activities that I must push aside the development of my inner being? At times in my life, I have knowingly denied myself for the sake of maintaining a full schedule of activities. My situation has changed quite a bit from those times, and I aim to take advantage of this opportunity to properly place my focus on matters beyond a resumé.

                What is my attitude regarding my personality? I must confess this is a tough matter of acceptance for me. Even though we are created by and for God, we must still interact within this world. If your personality stands out more than conforms, then you will run into the exploratory and doubting question of “why would you create me this way?”. As for me, I am a rather quiet and sensitive person. I love big and believe in the best in all persons, and am easily hurt and dismayed. I am creative and truly come alive when I can create. One of my greatest struggles has been trying to reconcile my deep desire for home & family with a world which pressures worth in a career. I completed my assigned tasks when employed, but my heart was always elsewhere. I’ve considered reentering school or work (yet still out of obligation), but I’m blatantly aware that my heart is far from those entities. In fact, my entire experiences in those pursuits were entirely about trying to fit my personality into those molds. When we must deny who God created us to be and work towards assuming who he didn’t create us to be, then it is a pretty clear indicator we are not relying on him and are traveling in the wrong direction. I recall when I was first introduced to the homemaking world. For the first time I didn’t hate my personality, interests, or abilities but able to praise God for them. Is this not what is written in the psalm? Is this not the point at which we are to arrive at in live- finding our niche within God’s carefully crafted design?


                “If you could name one thing you would change about your looks, what would it be and why?” It sounds like some kind of cruel game that dares us to reveal our deepest insecurity of our physical appearance. Yet, this “game” is often one we voluntarily play each day when we examine ourselves.  I wonder if when we are displeased with our bodies or features if God would respond by saying, “Are you questioning me? I knitted you together as I wished you to be.”  Perhaps when I am searching for beauty in all the wrong ways I should give that concern or doubt to God and in turn thank him for so lovingly creating me as he saw fit. (Similar to giving our discontent with our circumstances to Him in prayer and thanksgiving mentioned in the last post).  Acceptance of our appearance, though, doesn’t allow us to neglect maintaining ourselves. We ought to take care in maintaining the body he has given us within which to serve. Even with a pure intent, we must be on guard against nutrition, exercise, or health from becoming an idol. Ultimately God is sovereign and his will will be done, but that does not excuse our laziness. I really hate exercising, but I know that it is good for my body and spirit to ..well, get off my couch. I likely will not become that competitive athlete as before, but I can certainly work towards greater physical condition and endurance a little each day (even if just a walk!).

                 I have learned an incredible lesson of how my attitude towards myself impacts my family. When I believe or expressing discontent in my personality, appearance or abilities it pierces my husband as well. Your husband married you because he loves all those things about you.  His desire is for you to see what he sees. We are to enjoy one another as a married couple, and we can’t do that if there is a barrier in one pathway. It’s hard to love someone who refuses to love him/herself. Furthermore, it isn’t the responsibility of our spouse or children to define us or give us value. We shouldn’t be seeking them for contentment in ourselves. I especially feel this way in regard to placing and passing on our insecurities to our children. As wives (and some as mothers as well), we have a great responsibility to guide the emotions within our home. Let them express positivity, contentment, and security in Jesus.

When I consider the most beautiful women I know, I am aware that it is their lovely spirit that has made them beautiful. They are filled with strong character qualities and the love of Jesus. These are the women I wish to be more like. I’m far from where I would wish to be in finding contentment in my personality and physical appearance. I would consider myself to be journeying through sifting through the traits I learned or assumed previously in life and those I’m gleaming from walking with Christ. Imagine the impact contentment with self would make in our lives and in our relationships. If you know of a Proverbs 31 or Titus 2 lady, then take a moment to talk with her about her journey.

Calm My Anxious Heart: A Woman's Guide to Finding Contentment by Linda Dillow


  1. You are so right - learning to be content with ourselves is a challenge. I am also a follower of the Lord Jesus. I do find that the more time I spend with Him, the more focused I am on Him and others, which takes some of my thoughts off of "me" - "I" am always a problem to myself :)

    I'm your newest follower from the Blog Hop and would love a follow back.


  2. Thank you for your encouraging post! This is a reminder that is needed because it is SO easily forgotten and pushed aside by our own insecurities and distrust in God and our husbands. I hope you are doing well!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...