Contentment

Professionals are called experts for a reason. They know what they’re talking about. They’ve experienced failure and success, making them knowledgeable in their field. However, information quickly changes, making it irrelevant. But the ancient information found in the Bible is still relevant to us today. For instance, one of my favorite adages from the Old Testament is Ahab’s reply to Ben-hadad in 879 B.C.

And the king of Israel answered and said, Tell him, Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off (1 Kings 20:11).

Smiling.

Though Ahab wasn’t exactly a role model, I like to keep that scripture in mind when starting a new project because it keeps me on my toes!

Biblical truths never become obsolete. So when I feel the thorns of discontentment, I turn to the epistles. Paul is at the top of my list for expert advice on staying balanced amid troubles and trials.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content (Philippians 4:11).

Was Paul an expert, or was he a fly-by-night charlatan selling unconfirmed data? It’s easy to boast in things we know nothing about. Ben-hadad did. Of course, it’s a whole different matter when you’ve been initiated by experience. Let’s look at the word contented.

Contented: feeling or showing satisfaction with one’s possessions, status, or situation

Merriam-Webster

In Second Corinthians, we read Paul was beaten with rods three times, stoned once, shipwrecked multiple times, and spent a day and night stranded in the sea. He suffered hunger, thirst, nudity, and cold. He was familiar with pain and fatigue. If anyone had the right to feel discontented with his situation, Paul did. But he didn’t complain. Instead, he told the Philippians that he’d learned contentment no matter his circumstances.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content (Philippians 4:11).

I’m sure Paul would rather have been on the mission field than stuck in a Roman prison. But his mind and heart were content because he knew God’s grace was sufficient for his needs. He trusted God’s strength to carry him through it all.

I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Philippians 4:12-13).

Experience taught Paul contentment with God’s provision in the best of times and in the worst of times. He learned the dangers of judging his circumstances through his emotions and vision. Instead, he chose to think on “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report …” 

I’ve never been beaten with Roman rods, stoned, shipwrecked, or stranded in the sea. Thank God! I am well acquainted with pain, weakness, and fatigue, however. I would prefer to be healthy, doing what I want to do. That sounds a little like self-will, but I mean it in the best way.

Unfortunately, I can’t fix me. I’m learning to focus more and more on Jesus and not on my issues. I’m also learning the difference between contentment with my circumstances and contentment due to God’s provision within my circumstances. We will never find contentment in difficult situations, but we can always find pleasure in God’s provision to see us through. Easy? You and I both know the answer to that question.

Contentment requires learning self-control by not allowing our thoughts to dwell on our circumstances but on things above. It also requires power. Therefore, we must draw our daily supply from God through Christ Jesus. Let us draw near to the Lord with thanksgiving, prayers, and supplications. In His strength, we will find contentment.

In His strength, I find contentment. #devotional #hope @GailJohnson87

Are you learning contentment? Want to learn more? Check out Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Patty Smith Hall

Good morning, dear reader! I’m excited to introduce you to author Patty Smith Hall! Patty has a fantastic story to tell, so I won’t keep you waiting.

Good morning, Patty. Tell us a about yourself.

Personal

I’m a wife, a mother and a grandmother to the sweetest little boy on the planet(I’m a little bias!). I’m a Georgia girl who loves to mess around in my garden, sit out on my back deck and spend time with my family. I started writing almost twenty years ago and have been published for the last ten years.

Patty, I think every grandmother should be biased! Now . . .

Professional

Why did you choose to write in your particular genre?

My writing is my ministry, a way of showing the world that Christians are real people with very real problems, the only difference being is that we (hopefully) rely on our faith to help us through them.

Exactly. Please share something you wish the reader knew about your book.

Most of my characters are named after family and friends, and they love it! Of course, none of them are villainous, though some of them have asked me to use them that way. It’s my way of showing them how much I love them.

I love that. Thomas Kinkaid painted initial inside his puzzles. Now, in your opinion, what is the hardest part of the writing/working process?

Typing! I’m a terrible typist! I spent my typing class flirting with the boy sitting next to me!

LOL! I love your honesty! How about some fun questions? First draft: Pencil or keyboard?

Pen, and not just any pen. I use a Pentel EnerGel with navy blue ink. I’m weird about my paper too—I use Vera Bradley notebooks. They’re wider and I can get a thousand words per page.

I’m picky about my pens. I’ll have to check out the notebooks. Plotter or pantser?

I’m a little of both. I plot out a story on notecards, usually scene by scene. But if a character throws a wrench into a scene, I’ll follow him and see where things go.

Tea or coffee

Sweet tea with two lemons and extra ice.

Now you’re talking! Nothing beats sweet tea and lemon! Crushed ice, please. Favorite thing to do when not working?

I love to spend time with my family, especially my grandson. He’s two and learning new things every day! I also garden, read(a lot!) do word puzzles and binge-watch BBC with my husband.

You’d love it at my house. 🙂

Inspirational

This year’s theme is sharing hope. In Hebrews, the writer tells us to encourage each other while it is called today. Would you please take a moment to share a brief testimony to encourage our readers?

As I mentioned before, I don’t type well so I write all of my manuscripts long-handed. Which makes things interesting when you’ve got multiple deadlines looming and you’re a find-and-pick typist. I had played around with tablets and writing apps, but nothing worked for me.

When the iPad Pro came out, I thought it might work for me, but the price was out of my range. We were in the midst of losing our home and money was very tight. Things were so bad, I thought about giving up my writing and finding a steady part-time job to help out.

One particularly bad day, I decided to go to the mall and window-shop but when I got there, I couldn’t make myself go inside. I sat right there in the parking lot and just poured my heart out to the Lord—all my failures and mistakes, my worries about this writing ministry I’d started. I was just finishing up when my phone rang. It was the local public television station that I donated ten dollars a month to (remember, we watch BBC shows.) They wanted to let me know that I had won the grand prize from a recent drawing.

An iPad Pro and an Apple pencil.

God showed up when I needed encouragement the most. I still have my doubtful moments, but then I look at that tablet and remember that God has a definite plan for this ministry. All I have to do is follow Him.

Patty, I love this. What an amazing testimony! Thank you so much for sharing that with us. And thank you for visiting with Women of Faith and Fiction.

ClicktoTweet: “They wanted to let me know that I had won the grand prize from a recent drawing.” ~ Patty Smith Hall for Women of Faith and Fiction @pattywrites @GailJohnson87 #authorlife #amwriting


The Southern Belle Brides Collection

Hometown Bride by Patty Smith Hall
Marietta, Georgia—1870
Jilly Chastain never lied, but when her mother fabricates a marriage with her childhood sweetheart, Grayson Hancock, Jilly goes along with it, never expecting Grayson to show up, ready to make their make-believe marriage real.


A multi-published author with Love Inspired Historical and Barbour, Patty lives in North Georgia with her husband of 35 years, Danny; two gorgeous daughters, her son-in-love and a grandboy who has her wrapped around his tiny finger. When she’s not writing on her back porch, she’s spending time with her family or working in her garden.

You can connect with Patty Hall on Facebook and Twitter.