I think my word for this summer is cultivate. Not just in my writing, but in my heart as well. There are so many areas of life and faith in which I want to grow, but the only way that growth will happen is if I cultivate it, allowing God to teach, challenge, prune, weed, and water.
So sticking with this word, we’re now going to dive into a series on cultivating confidence. Not just self-confidence, but Biblical confidence, looking at what God’s Word has to say about being confident, and about growing in confidence.
Confidence means “full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing.”
Throughout Scripture, we are called to live with confidence. We are called to boldly live Christ-like lives, not being held back or chained down by fear. We are called to step out in faith and to courageously stand firm in our beliefs.
Contentment isn’t about perfection, but about perception. Contentment isn’t found in the “if onlys”, but in the love of the One and Only. Contentment comes from believing the truth. Contentment allows for growth and grace.
And in this last post in the Cultivating Contentment series, we’ll learn that contentment comes from living for God, not self.
Maybe that seems to be a no brainer. Joy comes from Jesus, so of course living for Him would bring joy. Yet, it’s easier said than done.
Because I have dreams and desires. I have wants and longings. And I know what it’s like to have those wants and desires, those dreams and longings, go unmet and unfulfilled.
Contentment seems to be an area I could always do better in. It’s so easily dislodged from my heart. Joy sliding in an avalanche, being buried beneath the stones of worry, insecurity, wishing things were different.
I named this series Cultivating Contentment for a reason. Because contentedness and joy don’t just happen, they grow. And in order to grow, they must be cultivated.
So often, when we see areas of our lives, pieces of our hearts, qualities of our character, that could use some tending, we tend to feel guilty.
We wonder why we can’t just do better and be better. In shame, we try to fix ourselves and are filled with frustration and guilt at the smallest mess up, the littlest mistake. We feel so far from perfect and fear we’ll never make it, condemned to this constant chasing but never catching.
In John 10:10, Jesus gives us a beautiful, hopeful promise:
Fulness of life.
Life in abundance.
If this is the case, then why don’t we always experience it? Why does life not always seem full and abundant. Why does it so often feel broken and empty?
Jesus also tells us in John 10:10 that their is a thief. One who doesn’t want us to live in the fulness of life Jesus gives. One who does not want us to live with joy in Jesus, because such joy is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10), and in this strength, we can do anything Jesus calls us to (Philippians 4:13). So the thief sets out to do what all thieves do: steal. And this thief will also kill and destroy. He’ll stop at nothing to stop the unstoppable force of those who are radiant with joy.
He steals through lies.
Contentment is not about perfection, but about perception. How we view our lives and ourselves, the lens through which we look and perceive the world around us, especially that immediate world of our daily lives, can cause either contentment or discontentment to settle into the heart.
Psalm 34:5 tells us, “Those who look to the Lord are radiant with joy.” (CSB) When we look to Jesus and let His light illuminate our sight, such joy fills our hearts that we radiate with it. We reflect the Light to which we look. It shines on our lives, giving a joyous glow no matter the circumstances.
There is contentment when Jesus is our focus.
Yet there is much that distracts and shifts our focus. Our sight becomes clouded. We view our world through the fog of worry, jealousy, selfishness, fear, bitterness, loneliness, rather than through the Light.