I’m a very goal oriented person. I love chasing after my wildest dreams, no matter how absurd they may be. However, I’m also the kind of person to not always finish what I start. I’m not very proud of this characteristic, but it’s something I constantly struggle with. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret chasing any of my dreams, but I do regret how I’ve pursued them.
I, being goal oriented, was never satisfied with my progress when it came to chasing my aspirations. I always craved more: more success, more likes, more views, more affirmation, more support; you get the idea. These desires all contributed to my overarching goal of being the absolute best at whatever I was doing. It didn’t matter to me how limited my experience was or how few resources I had; I had to be the best. As you can imagine, I was unable to meet the excessively high standards I created for myself. And thus, I let some dreams flow down the drain as feelings of dissatisfaction flooded into my heart. I couldn’t understand why these dreams that I believed would glorify the kingdom of God kept falling apart in my hands. Why wasn’t God blessing these things I worked so hard at? Questions of “why” encircled my brain until I just gave up.
But now I think I understand why; I was working harder at my dreams than I was with my relationship with God. I was so caught up in creating a beautiful fountain to honor God that I forgot to fill it with water.
“In any and all circumstances I have learned that the secret of being content- whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.
I was trying to do all things through me, instead of through Him. My cravings of contentment were never satisfied because I was trying to strengthen myself. But God is the only one who can strengthen us. Me trying to strengthen myself will fail every time, but God’s strength will never let me down. Flesh will fail every time, but God never will.
We need to listen to what Paul is telling us in this verse. The secret of contentment is not success, or likes, or popularity. The secret of contentment is Christ. We will never feel content if we base our contentment on whether or not we have abundant success. We will only be truly content when our contentment is based on God filling us, strengthening us. If we don’t let God fill us, how can He work through us and our dreams? He can’t. The only way to be truly satisfied in our lives is to let the Lord fulfill our every need.
“Better a little with righteousness than great income with injustice.”
My most recent struggle surrounding this issue is success. I felt like my ministry was pointless if it was only for a few people. I felt like I wasn’t talented enough to be serving where I was serving. I felt like I couldn’t be used where I was. I felt like I couldn’t be used if I wasn’t the best. But dang, is that far from the truth! Ministry is not about me, it’s about the body of Christ. A group of imperfect people chosen by a perfect God to serve Him to the best of our ability. There is no such thing as a perfect minister; everyone has flaws. Instead of trying to be the “best” at how we choose to serve, we should strive to have the best possible relationship with Christ. The truth is, ministry “success” is not dependent on size, it’s dependent on a heart for the Lord. In other words, it is better to reach few with the right heart than to reach many with a wrong heart.
I want to start pursuing my dreams with the right heart. I want to fill my soul with lovely things and allow God to satisfy my every need so that His goodness will overflow unto others through me. It is my prayer that in all of my aspirations, I can crave more Christ instead of more success. For it is in Him that we find the secret of contentment. We don’t have to be the best, we just have to be a willing vessel.