Get Satisfied

ContentmentVerse“But godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Tim. 6:6 NIV).

And discontentment? That will make you plain miserable. When I encounter the same theme again and again, I start to take notice, because chances are, God’s trying to teach me something. If we’re connected on Facebook, you likely saw my Internet Cafe post yesterday on how discontentment stole my joy. (Read it HERE.) Then I open my inbox this morning to begin formatting Angela’s devotion, and bam! Another devotion on contentment.

Kinda makes me wonder if God feels this is an area I need to grow in. Uh… yeah. Of course it is, because the moment I turn my eyes of Christ and all He’s done, my inner monster begins to grumble. Making everyone miserable, myself most of all.

As you read Angela’s thoughts on how to remain satisfied–deeply pleased–in all circumstances, ask God to show you how you can do the same.

But first, some housekeeping stuff. Starting in March, I’ll be launching two blog series, one here and another, well, everywhere. (Or wherever I guest post.) On Mondays, here, I’m implementing Momma-Mondays where I’ll be writing about ways we can parent (or grandparent) to our children’s heart, Brainexperimentjpgpartnering with God as He perfects that which concerns them and molds, trains, and equips them for their future calling. I’m also launching a series humorously titled the Brain Experiment, where I’ll invite readers to saturate their thoughts with Scripture in order to replace the lies with truth, fear with faith, and insecurities with confident hope. I’ll start that here on the 25th and will list where and when I’ll be sharing follow-up devotions. I hope you’ll join me! (Note to other bloggers, if this sounds like something you’d like to do as well, email me and we can chat.)

Get Satisfied

By Angela Ruth Strong

french-quarters-589004_1920On one of my first dates with my husband, we went to the mall and ate Cajun food. It was greasy and delicious, and I really should have saved half of it to take home rather than shovel it all into my mouth. But it was sooo good. As I got back into his truck, I said, “I am satisfied.”

For some reason, he thought that was the cutest thing ever and he laughed so hard he couldn’t even get into the truck. He kept repeating, “I am satisfied.” Now we say that phrase as a joke whenever dinner is really good.

The thing was that we weren’t only satisfied with the food, we were satisfied with the company. According to the MacMillan Dictionary, we were “pleased with what had happened.” We were in a place where we were so comfortable and happy we could laugh about nothing and simply enjoy life. It’s a great feeling. So good I want to remind myself of this feeling even when I’m not pleased with what is going on around me.

My word for the year is “satisfied.”

But that doesn’t mean I’m going to keep stuffing my face with Cajun food. That means that no matter what happens, I will remind myself of the gift God has already given me. Whether my furnace goes out (ahem, we had the repair guy here today), or my car decides not to let me pump gas into it anymore even though it’s empty (does this stuff ever happen to anybody besides me?), or I get another painful rejection from a publisher who expressed interest in buying my work, I can still be satisfied.

“When I awake, your presence will satisfy me” (Psalm 17:15b, ISV).

He is enough. I know this because I told him to test me once and then I lost everything. But it wasn’t because God wanted to test me. No, He’d lovingly prepared me for heartbreak. So when I had nothing else, He was able to remind me, “You know I’m your all, Angela. You know it.”

The great thing about having nothing is that when God restores what was taken, you are more grateful than ever. You are satisfied. Which is how I want to live not only this year, but the rest of my life.

“Like a baby content in its mother’s arms, my soul is a baby content” (Psalm 131:2b the Message).

***

Angela Ruth Strong studied journalism at the University of Oregon and published her first novel, Love Finds You in Sun Valley, Idaho, in 2010. With movie producers interested in her book (Read about that HERE), she’s decided to rerelease it and write sequels as a new series titled Resort to Love. This Idaho Top Author and Cascade Award winner also started IDAhope Writers to encourage other aspiring authors, and she’s excited to announce the sale of her first romantic suspense novel to Love Inspired Suspense. For the latest news or to contact Angela, visit www.angelaruthstrong.com.

Finding Love in Sun Valley CoverFinding Love in Sun Valley Idaho:
Actress Emily Van Arsdale has returned to her Idaho hometown – with an entire film crew in tow! With its stunning scenery and reputation for hosting celebrities, Sun Valley is the perfect setting for Emily’s newest romantic comedy. Tracen Lake is happy to work as a stunt consultant for the movie but not as thrilled to deal with a bunch of high-maintenance Hollywood types. But Tracen is surprised to discover in Emily a down-to-earth Idaho girl who does all her own stunts and loves the outdoors. As filming wraps up and Emily heads off to her next gig, will she be able to leave Sun Valley – and Tracen – behind?
Let’s talk about this! Pause to evaluate your life. Are you content? What have livingbygracepic.jpyou allowed to steal your contentment (and therefore, your joy)? What are some steps you can take, this week, to find contentment? Share your thoughts, experiences, and suggestions with us, because we can all encourage and learn from each other. Join the conversation here in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook.
Resources you might enjoy:
A Still and Quiet Soul by Cathy Messecar (I contributed a story to this one.)
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Unexpected Gifts

God’s ways are so not like ours, and I praise Him for that.

Today Angela Strong, author of Lighten Up, talks about the nature of God revealed through a chemo-patient and blessed her with unexpected gift.

But first, I wanted to thank my sweet friend, Kristena Tunstall, for nominating my blog for the Liebster award. (You all can read about this award here.) In accepting the award, I’ve been asked to answer some questions about myself and my blog. I’ll do that Saturday as part of my weekend review. Soooooo, if you’re interested in that sort of thing, come back Saturday. 🙂

Autor PicUnexpected Gifts by Angela Strong

Yesterday I met a woman still recovering from chemotherapy. I wanted to encourage her, but she encouraged me. She said, “The sickness was a gift. It brought me closer to God in a way I never would have done on my own.” I blinked back tears. And I’ve been pondering her perspective ever since. How would such gratitude play out in my life? Let’s take a look.

My life was pretty good. I had dreams and goals and success. I finished my first manuscript in 2006 and sold my first novel in 2008. LOVE FINDS YOU IN SUN VALLEY, IDAHO sold out at my Costco book-signing and it didn’t stay long on the Walmart bookshelves either. I was off to a good start.

Then Summerside Press closed. And the publisher who bought my middle-grade novel shut down, as well. Not to mention my husband left me, and I decided I was never going to write romance again. This definitely wasn’t the way I’d imagine life.

But it did bring me closer to God. He was all I had, and he provided all I need. Five years later, I have an abundance. I’m remarried. I get to stay home and write again. I have a couple of publishers who believe in me. And I’m content.

Of course, I’d still love to one day have a publishing war over my books like speaker Jen Hatmaker has been sharing about on facebook, or get to attend a movie premier as “the talent” like powerhouse author Trisha Goyer, but that’s not what really matters. And I’d like to suggest that they are where they are because it’s not about those things for them either. It’s about being real in their own journeys. About struggling through adopting kids or being a teen mom and considering each hardship a gift.

I’m not going to say it’s easy. Or it’s fun. Or that I’d ever want anybody else to ever experience the pain I went through. It’s not, and I don’t. So how can I consider it a gift in my life?

Well…I write better romance novels now. As I was forced to get closer to the lover of my soul, I know what true love is. It’s powerful. It changes lives. And whether any of these novels get published or not, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I use the gifts God has given me for his glory.

Philippians 3:16 says to “Only let us live up to what we have already attained.” The gift of going through a hard time is that when you draw near to God and He rescues you, you don’t take life for granted anymore.

The cancer survivor I met yesterday has a new outlook on life, and I’m guessing she’s make her life count like reflection-834692-mnever before because God revealed to her how precious it really is. My hope is that you and I can find ways to do the same through whatever challenge we might be facing right now. Let’s make the most of our unexpected gifts.

***

Lighten UpLighten Up:
Bethany Light is the daughter of a minister who can’t forgive her father for running off with the church secretary. She goes to her own pastor for counsel, never expecting to fall in love with him. To make matters worse, she’s personal training his fiancé in preparation for the big day and somehow ends up in their wedding. Refusing to make the same mistake her dad made, Bethany tries to focus on fixing her family rather than face her own issues. How could a household that used to have it all together have fallen so far from grace? And how can she keep from following in her father’s footsteps when it feels so right?
Buy it here.
Angela Ruth Strong started IDAhope writers in Boise, Idaho where she lives with her husband and three kids. She sold her first article to a national publication when still in high school and went on to study journalism at the University of Oregon. Get to know her and her story better at http://angelaruthstrong.blogspot.com.
livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this! C.S. Lewis said, “Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not.”
And Lamentations 2:22-23 says:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
Though we may, and often do, fail, God’s love, faithfulness, and compassion never will. When has God brought that truth home to you? When have you most felt His love? And yet, our feelings are fleeting and faulty, so let me rephrase: What’s it like knowing God’s love is greater than our perception of it? Share your thoughts here or at Living by Grace on Facebook.