I was driving to work and passed by a small crowd of toddlers playing in the dirt in front of some shops. One little girl caught my attention.
As the snotty faces looked my way with big grins, and hands shot up to wave, I saw one child with a baby tied to her back. But it was not a real baby.
This young child was imitating her Mama, and basically every other woman she knows. Most likely she needed to have someone help her tie her sweater around her chest to hold her baby snuggly in place.
But this tiny mama didn’t have a doll. She was using an old plastic soda bottle as her pretend baby that morning. I could see her strutting around, proud as could be, among her peers, caring for her baby on her back.
I absolutely loved it. I almost wanted to turn the van around, jump out, and snap a picture of her. But I didn’t. I kept driving to work, yet my mind had clearly captured a picture of her.
She was using what she had and was perfectly content with it. More than content really, but genuinely happy.
Paul told the church in Philippi that he had learned the secret of being content, in any and every situation. (Philippians 4:12) That secret is in the next verse: I can do all things through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
Of course Paul is not implying that we can suddenly do the scientifically impossible because we have Christ as our source of super-human strength.
He’s talking about internal strength. The mental, emotional, and spiritual strength to be satisfied with Christ in the midst of whatever life throws at us.
Sometimes life feels good with things going our way…yet we are not content with the pleasures we are enjoying, rather we long for even more.
Other times life is downright rotten, and we are begging God to change something, anything, everything.
Good or bad, well-fed or hungry, plenty or in want: with Christ we have the ability to be content. Happy. Joyful. Hopeful.
For myself, I know what makes the difference is where I allow myself to put my focus.
Unfortunately, too often I am focused on bad, hungry, and being in want. I am ignoring what is actually good; of course, the best being that I have access to the strength of Christ.
I want eyes to see those beat-up, dirty ol’ used plastic soda bottles with the potential to be a day’s enjoyment, like the little girl I passed by today.
*Take a look at Velvet Ashes for more thoughts on contentment this week.