By Jessica E.

Dear Girls,

I hadn't thought very specifically about having a contented heart until I was asked to write an article on how and what God has been teaching me in this area. I wasn't sure what all to say, seeing as I am still far from being able to be described as a contented person, but in hope that my struggles might encourage someone, I agreed to try my hand.

As I looked at the things I've struggled with, I've found that Discontented Heart is one of the sneakiest. It very easily hides itself in some very innocent looking thoughts: "If I only had one of those, why I could... If only I could see ten years into the future... If only I had a best friend that I could talk to... If only I wasn't so tempted to... If only... If only..." Who hasn't had these or similar thoughts? These thoughts may appear harmless, but the imprint of Discontented Heart is on them. It is the telltale: "If only." Of course, this beast has other paw prints as well, such as: "I wish" or "I want."

One "I wish" that I especially remember struggling with was: "I wish I had a Best Friend." You know, the kind of best friend you can tell everything to. The kind of friend you can become attached to and love ever so dearly. I prayed and prayed for a best friend (and I came up with some very good reasons why I needed one); never realizing how farsighted I was.

Well, some time passed, and I tried a couple times to turn a good friend into a Best Friend, but nothing ever really came of these. In fact, looking back, I noticed that the four friends I especially tried to turn into Best Friends all ended up moving away. Now I see that as a blessing from the Lord, but then it was "a trial that good friends must overcome."

But through these years, God was slowly working in my heart. So subtly was He working, that until something happened last spring, I hadn't realized the change that had taken place.

Last spring, we were at a family's house for dinner. Now, this family was homeschooling their children, but their daughters wanted to go back to school because they "didn't have any friends." During the evening, one daughter turned to me and asked, "So, what do you do for friends?"

The question totally stumped me. I didn't know what to say. My closest friends lived an hour away, and hence, we didn't see them that often. I didn't correspond very much, either. And yet I didn't feel like something was missing, or that I was left out or bored or lonely. What did I do for friends, anyway?

"I do have friends..." I began hesitantly.

"Do you see them often?" She interposed.

"Well, not very often," I had to admit.

"Aren't you bored, then?" She inquired.

Bored? Oh, no. Certainly not! But why not? Then it dawned on me- I had my family. They were the "best friends" God had provided for me. God had answered my prayers before I had even asked them! In fact, He placed into everyone's life the desire and need for a friend. But He did not plant that desire without also placing in each person's life the people needed to fulfill it. He has surrounded each of us with the "friends" that will best assist us in fulfilling our purpose in this life. Finally, my quest for a "best friend" was over. I had found that the ones God places closest to us are the ones we are to be closest to.

My mother and sister are now my chief confidantes. They are the kind of best friends that you can tell everything to. The kind of friend you can become attached to and love ever so dearly. The kind of friend that will help me grow; one that has already gone through what I am now going through; one who has struggled and triumphed; who can see farther down the road, rather than just grope in the dark alongside of me. What a perfect kind of friend! I would encourage each of you to take advantage of the friends God has placed in your very home. And don't simply look to your parents and older siblings, but remember that your younger siblings need friends, too.

Though this is just one area in which I have been discontent, I feel that it has an application that lends itself to other areas as well. And this is it: God has provided everything that we need. And, those unpleasant things that we "wish not," and yet have, are here for a purpose as well. Often, their job is to smooth our disagreeable side. How often we "wish not" to be attacked by temptation. And yet I read a very interesting quote by Samuel Rutherford in which he said: "I find it most true, that the greatest temptation out of hell, is to live without temptations; if my waters should stand, they would rot. Faith is better for the free air, and the sharp winter storm in its face. Grace withereth without adversity. The devil is but God's master fencer, to teach us to handle our weapons."

Yes, we must be content not only with what God has not given us, but also with those things that He has given us. Granted, not all "I wishes" are wrong. God has placed in each of us desires, to motivate us on to greater heights. How often we "wish" to have a closer relationship with our Lord, or "want" to accomplish something truly good and noble.

So, next time you hear yourself say, "I wish," "If only," or "I want"; pause a moment and think. Is this a goal to strive after, or is it evidence of the inhabitation of "Discontented Heart"?

May God bless us all with strength and courage as we strive to follow Him more closely.

This article used by permission.


All Scripture references taken from the King James Version unless otherwise noted.

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