I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content. (Philippians 4:11)
There are definitely times when we shouldn’t be content. For example, none of us should be content to live as worriers. God doesn’t want that and neither should we. On the other hand, learning to be content with the unavoidable inconveniences of life is a must if we want to live at peace.
Here’s what I wrote in Give Up Worry For Good…
I don’t like fasting, especially from food. The mere mention of the word makes me shudder. Unfortunately, there’s no getting around this traditional Catholic spiritual discipline. Without practicing some form of fasting, our spiritual growth will be limited. We may not realize it, but material comfort often keeps us from growing closer to Jesus. Choosing to forego some of these earthly pleasures and focus on our relationship with the Lord will enable us to understand what St. Paul means when he speaks of contentment.
A careful reading of Paul’s words reveals that his ability to be content wasn’t automatic, but something he had to learn. How can we learn to be content? It begins with being grateful for what we have. For that reason, I make it a habit to start my prayers by thanking God for what He has given me – a new day, hot and cold running water, electricity, my relationship with Him, etc. I had to force myself to do this in the beginning, but it’s gotten easier and my list of blessings has grown longer.
If you’re up for a challenge, you also might want to try fasting from something. It doesn’t have to be anything large or painful. Skipping the cream in your coffee or trading some Internet time for prayer will go a long way. In addition to giving us an opportunity to offer up our suffering, fasting from material things allows us to tell the Lord that He is enough for us. And, as Paul understood better than most, that’s the main reason for being content at all times.