But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 TIMOTHY 6:6, NIV
Whether you know it or not, your marriage is susceptible to the American Dream Syndrome—the notion that you can have it all, that you deserve it all. The more stuff you have, the better off you are. Desire to acquire. The slogans, like the wish lists, are practically endless.
Yet contrary to the seductive tune of the American Dream, enough is never enough. Getting more only fuels the urge to get more. So how do you learn to live within that truth without constantly feeling like your lives don't measure up?
You embrace contentment.
Contentment arises from a spirit of gratefulness. It's the courageous choice to thank God for what you have and for what you don't have. Even when you don't know where this week's grocery money is coming from. Even when the washer goes on the blink. Even when the kids need braces. Even when your next-door neighbor drives home in a new car or is gone on a fabulous vacation to an exotic location.
The apostle Paul, who wrote the words that appear at the top of this page, knew how it felt to be beaten, shipwrecked and imprisoned. He knew the hardship of being pummeled with rocks and left for dead. But he also knew that God could be trusted. He knew his situation was being monitored by the all-wise awareness of his loving heavenly Father.
Occasionally, we all need to be reminded: Material things will never satisfy the hunger in our hearts. A couple who fails to see this could spend a lifetime chasing the American Dream, only to find it to be a desert mirage, forever just out of reach.
What are three things you wish you owned? What are three circumstances you wish were different?
Bring your needs and shortages before the Lord right now. Leave them there, thank Him for where He has you, and walk on embracing contentment.