Friday, July 6, 2007

The Art of Contentedness

The Art of Contentedness
Again I seek
My wish-list has increased
More of things I sought yesterday
Yet satisfaction I have not gained;
So many friends have I lost
‘Cos I could not value their worth
So many opportunities missed
‘Cos my expectations were big;
Loved ones and valuables gone
Yet I did not sense the loss
All because I failed to learn
The art of contentedness;
If I cannot appreciate
Simple things that stare me in the face
If I cannot be in glee
That HE has supplied all my needs
If I cannot be content
That HE has given all that pertains to life and godliness
I may never know peace
And the pleasure of being fulfilled;
My wants and my desires
Will definitely soar high
Lest I learn the art of contentedness,
Having all my wants may not bring joyfulness.


The Inspiration
Two friends were having a deep discussion. Let me lay a background on the two people. Friend A has no job, sells ice blocks whenever she is in need of money, and is single. Friend B has a good paying job (the kind where she says “I have bought only 2 properties in Abuja”) lives in a well furnished 2-bedroom apartment and has a man who appears to be all over her. What is the deep discussion about? Friend B does not like her job. It takes so much of her time and her coworkers are not friendly. Her boyfriend is giving her stress – he calls only once a day unlike before when he used to call 3 times a day. Friend A is listening, offering advice and encouragement. Most of her words were tailored towards “You should be grateful for what you have because some other person out there desires what you have.” But there is something she said that really is true: “In another job, you’d have some other issues, maybe not time but probably personal development or even sexual harassment. You meet another guy, he calls you three times a day but probably he does all the talking that you do not get to communicate leaving you to crave for one call from someone you could talk to”. Human beings, systems, etc are not perfect. Learn to live.

One thing I learnt from Economics (and I always got the answer right in objective and subjective questions) was “Human wants are Insatiable”. We always want more. Having one want satisfied leads to another want. That is why we often hear, “Money is not enough!” As a child, when I draw up my list of gifts for Christmas, I realized that the money I had saved up was never enough for the things on my list. I would do a lot of cost-cutting (until I had nothing for myself) and promise myself that when I have more money, I’d buy everything on my list. If I should do that today, I’d go bankrupt. I thought someday I could fault the Economists.

I thank GOD that HIS beloved Son who walked this earth is a great example for us. HE was content. The humble way HE lived on earth did not match the King that HE is (Be sincere, if you were Jesus Christ who owned everything, would you have lived on this earth having no place to sleep?). All HE was focused on was doing HIS Father’s Will rather than complaining and regretting. And Oh! I just love the words of Paul who said “…for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have” [Philippians 4:11]. It means it is possible to be content with what we have (who we are and where we are).

I entitled the poem “The Art of Contentedness” because learning to be content is an art (a dictionary definition of art is: a SUPERIOR SKILL that you can learn by STUDY and PRACTICE and OBSERVATION). I am learning to be content by studying the Word of GOD, by practicing (what else can I do when my money is always less than my wants) and more importantly by observation. I have a most beloved friend who is thankful with a plate of meal. “Don’t you want more?” I ask. “No thank you, this is enough and I really appreciate it,” he replies. “Why are you not complaining about the traffic?” I ask. “Because there is nothing I can do about it. I can use this time to listen to the Word of God or music on my ipod,” he replies. “Why do you love your mother so much?” I ask. "Because she is the best mother anyone could have. She is wonderful, prudent, selfless, (the list is endless) and I am who I am today because of her,” he replies. I am amazed at his level of contentedness and it shows in many areas of his life. One would think that because he is very content that he takes “anything”. No, he has very good taste and does not joke with the quality of his things. He just knows he should be content with what he has and be grateful to God for HIS provision. Tell me, if you are God and you see someone who is so grateful for the little you’ve given him, won’t you want to give him more?

Rather than spending time complaining about the things you have and worrying about the things you do not have, use the time to learn the art of contentedness. Take the time to appreciate the people (especially your parents and guardians) whom God has caused to come into your life. Take the time to value the simple things around you that make life worth living. Take the time to thank HIM for providing all your needs [Philippians 4:19], and not all your wants. Take the time to praise HIM for keeping you till this day with great plans for you - plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future [Jeremiah 29:11].

While you are mastering the art of contentedness, please do not go the extreme of not desiring better things in life and not aspiring to see your God-given dreams realized. Do not say “I’m content with this relationship that robs me of my spiritual growth” or “I am content with this house that is in the centre of three night clubs!” Paul, who had learnt to be content in all circumstances, was zealous about winning souls for God. He was not content with winning only one soul.

Have a blessed day and be filled with joy.

4 comments:

Stephen said...

Rita,

Thanks for sharing this wonderful part of yours. I have read through the poems and the inspirational write-ups. I must confess that I enjoyed every bit of it and was blessed.

When God created us in His image and likeness, He intended that we should have in us His image and His likeness i.e. the totality of our way of life - thoughts, words and actions should be what He Himself is composed of. I pray God that we see ourselves as He would want to see us.

I appreciate this part of yours and I pray that God Almighty will help you to reach and touch people's lives through this medium and other means. More grease to your elbow.

God bless you.

Stephen

Bola FS said...

This message is wonderful.

I want you to know that this is a great ministry. May
the Lord continue to inspire you. May He use the
messages to touch the lives of many.

Remain blessed.
Bola FS.

John said...

:-0
What you have put in you will find a way out to express itself. This is a product of seed sown, May the word of God continue to dwell richly in you and find a way to express itself through your writings.
--- "Traffic,;-) not all the time o!!"

Esuru Rita Onyige said...

Thanks Stephen, Bola, John, for the sweet prayers upon my life. I am so blessed.

And I am more blessed by knowing people like you. God bless you too.