Steve Schappell-My Blog

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

State of Contentment (Not always easy...)

"Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content."
Philippians 4:11

I have a booklet by Norman Vincent Peale called "Thought Conditioners."  This features 40 powerful spiritual phrases that can change the quality of  your life.  The above passage is one of these 40.

In it, he says that our present situation may not be to our liking.  Perhaps we are dissatisfied and discouraged.  He says to put the matter into God's hands and if he wants you elsewhere, he will lead you there, if you are open to his leading.  On the other hand, God may want you where you are.  In that case, he will help you adjust to the situation.  He will make you content, even grateful for present opportunities.  This way you can learn to do the best you can, with what you have, where you are now. 

My life radically changed since I lost my job last August.  While I did not see it at the time, it has been for my benefit and many blessings have arrived as a result.  Let's look at this in my life from what Dr. Peale talked about in the previous paragraph.

When I was let go, it certainly was not to my liking.  Losing that identity was very hard.  Along with it, came the loss of work, salary, benefits, and recognition.  I had to apply for unemployment and stay holed up at home to work full-time to find full-time work.  I was dissatisfied and discouraged to say the least.  It was during this time that God brought me to my knees, crying out to him for relief.  He got me to where he needed me to be.  On my knees, crying out and telling him I could not do this without his help.  It was only when I put the matter into God's hands, did I begin to gain some understanding.

I prayed that I would find work closer to home, with regular hours, no evenings and no weekends.  I also told God the salary range I wanted to be in.  I prayed and God his way.  Thanks to a talk with a neighbor and an ad in the Merchandiser, I applied to a local company looking for an office manager/Customer Service.  God answered with my current job.  It is closer to home (2.5 miles), has regular hours (8:30 to 5:00), no nights and no weekends.  The salary: 1/2 of what I was earning in my last job.

God did lead me elsewhere, and I have learned to adjust.  What I earn pays my bills, so I did not fall behind.  It is tight and a struggle at times, but I am learning to be content.  I am able to help out more with my kids, able to see their games.  God showed me that he knew this was coming and used my last job to set me up for this.  I was able to purchase my house and put 20% down.  I was able to pay my car off (after losing my job), and in a place where I am maintaining what I have.  My kids and ex wife have adjusted to this and understand.  I am looking for other positions, but am growing where I am now.

So perhaps God wants me where I am and he is helping me to adjust to the situation.  See, losing my job and gaining this new one, opened up my weekends.  If not for what happened, I may have not met my girlfriend, who I have been crazy in love with for almost 9 months now.  God brought an amazing blessing into my life with Shari (that's her name), and I am grateful daily for her love and friendship.

It also showed me that I was not ready to be a leader as I thought.  In my last position, I managed 6 others at a Credit Union branch.  Brought in from the outside, I had not only to learn the banking world, but a new corporate culture, while managing the personalities of 6 unique people.  It was a lot to juggle and through my recent experience, have come to realize and admit that I was not ready to be a manager.  I was watching Joyce Meyer recently and she mentioned something that stopped me in my tracks.  Basically she said that to be in a leadership position you have to have to learn be under authority.  To understand what it is like so that of God brings you into a position of authority, you will know how to act and treat others.  And that is what is happening right now in my present position.  It is exciting to see that God is preparing me for something greater down the road.

Finally, God is teaching me to be the best that I can be (dad, boyfriend, friend, etc), with what I have (my present situation...home, salary, car, etc), and where I am (my job and in life)  I have more growing to do each day, but I see progress and God is good.
I am learning to be content, more so that I ever have been.  It is a struggle, but one I want to overcome so that God can work through me for my personal growth and to help others.  My prayer for you is that you will also learn to be content with who you are, where you are, and what is in your life right now.  Know that it is a season, one that God will move you out of into the next season of life.  No matter what happens, he will never leave nor forsake you.


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