The joy of contentment
January 31, 2011
by Pastor Lee Hallstrom, Light of Christ Lutheran Church, Delano

“The fear of the Lord leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.” Proverbs 19:23 (NIV)

How are those new year’s resolutions working for you?

I pulled up on the Internet a list of America’s top 10 new year’s resolutions, and spending more time with family and friends was first on the list.

Four out of the next five had to do with weight, health and fitness – perhaps not surprisingly. Did you know there are more ads for dieting in January than during the rest of the months of the year combined?

Once again, I have set some new year’s resolutions for myself. I usually will select one or two resolutions to guide my entry into the coming year, and each year, they are different. I don’t know if that suggests improvement or forgetfulness! Whichever, I am grateful for the opportunity for personal growth.

This year’s first resolution comes from the above text. I resolve to be content.

This is not a passive resolution for me. I have always leaned into the future, striving to attain new goals and face new challenges with quickness and intensity. A trusted friend tells me that I am a spiritual adventurer – and she is right.

So, this will be the spiritual discipline of seeking satisfaction in the life God has given, the achievements for the day, and the blessings I receive. As the proverb tells us, this is an exercise of trust (fear) in God.

I have no illusions about this resolution. I know it won’t remove from me the passionate love I have for the church and others. I do believe, however, that I might see more of the goodness in other people and give thanks for what God is doing.

I know it will not eliminate my hopes and concerns for those I love. I only hope it will enable me to see them more completely in that love.

And I am confident that each day will bring with it challenges, and opportunities galore. I will choose, however, to trust the Lord to give enough energy, intelligence, and confidence in myself and others to meet those that are important – and to let go of my anxieties about the rest of them.

Simply said, I have a new ambition – to practice serenity. At the end of each day, I hope to look back on it and ask myself if I can rest in the confidence that God has been at work, I have done my best, and I have tended to the relationships that matter. Like I said, it will not be easy.

May our God bless you, too, this year with the surprise of contentment.