Contentment: It's Not for the Timid

August 20, 2014

Ever wonder why God is teaching you the same thing over and over again? Maybe it's because you’re a slow learner and haven't really gotten it yet. It’s the same lesson again—only deeper. 

So in case you’re thinking that you have read this from me before, you are getting it again because apparently God thinks that I need a refresher course.


Contentment comes on the heels of thankfulness. Someone once asked, “What if God only gave you today what you thanked Him for yesterday?” My list of things to be thankful for has broadened with that in mind, but apparently my depth of thankfulness is being tested again.

Not too long ago, we started having water pressure issues. We always do to some extent: we can’t water the front yard and the back yard at the same time, and we have low pressure inside if we are using water outside. But in July the water in the inside faucets was just trickling even with nothing else running.

Our well pump was sounded, and it was discovered that the water level was not covering the pump. The repairman said to conserve water and to allow the water to seep back into the well before using it heavily.

For those of you who don't live in California, here we do not get rain from April until November. Hearing the option of waiting on water ‘seeping in’ to fill all our needs until November was not a pleasant thanksgiving moment. So, we had to conserve. 

We cut back laundry from 3-5 loads a day to 1, sometimes 2, a day. (Don’t look too closely at the boys’ clothes. They are dirty.)

We do not use the dishwasher—but have selected boys to do that chore who can clean dishes. Otherwise I wash them, so I can eat from a clean spoon (another thing to be thankful for).

We bought water to fill our water tank for animal and  garden needs. We water the garden every three days now, and only one section. When the fruit trees look almost dead, we water those, too. Our lawn, that the boys worked so hard to make green, is dead. My roses are dead. I won’t continue my list of what has died, for then I will have trouble being content.

My husband has granted permission for the boys to refrain from using/flushing bathroom facilities. (I cringe, for I know what training is required to make sure that they are not peeing off my back porch…)

All these things we are doing, and I thank God that I that I can still turn on the faucet and have running water. But, there is one area where we are having to conserve that I am having difficulty being content: showers.

I problem solve in the shower. I relax. When I wake up and cannot move without pain, I soak up the heat from a good long shower. I escape without interruption, as the boys have to be bleeding and dying to call me when I'm in the shower.

Since we've been conserving water, my husband has informed us how to take a military shower: Turn on water and get wet without waiting for a comfortable temperature. TURN WATER OFF. Suds up. Rinse off. Get out.

Nice thought. I have a few problems with this: 

I do not like cold water. I do not like soap drying on me before rinsing.

I get tangles in my hair that don’t come out unless I comb them under running water with conditioner.

I can’t solve problems when I’m trying to hurry and save water.

I definitely cannot relax in cold water.

Showers like this are not an escape from stress—they ARE the stress. How many gallons of water go down the drain with one shower? Will the pump last until rain comes? When will it rain?

You can believe that I thank God more now for the water that I do have, and pray that we will continue to have water running through our pipes. (Notice that I am getting more specific with my thanks. Hauling water from outside to flush toilets is not what I want for my weight lifting program.)

I won’t even tell you about my two phones not working for the past two months, so I couldn’t even call my phone company to complain. Did I tell you that God is working on me about contentment? And thankfulness?

I Timothy 6:6 says, “But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.”

Does that mean that I can’t gain godliness without contentment?

Or is contentment the key to gaining godliness?

My measure of godliness while under the cold water is not very high. God continues to show me the blackness of myself, reminding me that I need to get closer to Him to see the light, feel the warmth, and know the cleanness of being washed by His Word.

Contentment. It’s not for the timid. It’s not for the stubborn. It’s not for my own comfort.

Contentment. It's for Him. Because He deserves my thanks.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Where do you struggle with contentment? When do you find it hard to give thanks? 

Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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