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Faith Imagined: The Gift of Contentment

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

September 12, 2010

The Gift of Contentment


We were at the beach, and my oldest son was collecting seashells. I asked him what he was going to do with all of them. He said he was going to make a necklace for a special girl. I thought of all the little girls in his circle of friends, and one in particular came to mind. I asked, "Does her name start with a C?"

He said, "No, her name starts with an L."

I went through the short list of little girl L names I knew, even mentioning some of the mommies with L names. But with a smile, he said no to each one. Then I thought of my name. Although my name is Alisa (uh-lĭs-uh), my husband usually takes out the beginning A and calls me (lĭs-uh).

I called my son close to me and whispered in his ear, "Is it lĭsa?" He smiled and blushed and nodded his head yes. I gave him a big hug, and all that day I felt like a treasure. My son may have confused my name, but it didn't affect how I felt about his eagerness to bless me.

Isn't it beautiful how the love we have will overlook the small mistakes and focus on the show of devotion? However, when I thought about this, I remembered that early in my marriage I was not very good at forgiving oversights. My husband would go out of his way to do something nice, but many times it wasn't according to my anticipation. I would zero in on what I didn't like, instead of appreciating the beauty of his sacrifice.

After a time, my husband stopped trying to do special things to spoil me. I didn't blame him, because I had filled his gift-offerings with negative energy. Why would he continue giving when he could never get it right? I quickly discovered my mistake and worked hard to reverse the damage I created. I changed my perspective and openly accepted everything he did for me and gave me. Moreover, I started to realize that I enjoyed his taste and ideas. Now my husband rocks at giving!

We live in a very self-indulged society. We are used to getting everything exactly how we want it; and if we don't, we show our discontent. We are swimming in blessings, and we don't realize that everything we receive is a gift. When we start being picky, we might need to shed off some pounds of selfishness and let go of our self-entitled attitude. The gift is not as important as the person who gives it.

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances" (Philippians 4.11 NIV).



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40 Comments:

Blogger MTJ said...

Hi Alisa,

Too often I've allowed my expectations to overshadow an expression of love and appreciation; I was so wrong. I'm learning contentment as an aspect of God's peace; not focusing my eyes on the gift but where they need to be, on the giver.

Thanks for sharing words of encouragement today.

Blessings and peace.

MTJ

7:53 AM  
Blogger Joanne Sher said...

Fabulous encouragement, Alisa. Those little things ARE easy to get caught up in, but can be SO deadly to contentment. Blessings to you.

8:00 AM  
Blogger Joan said...

This post spoke to my heart. People often mistake contentment for complacency, but learning contentment is essential in our Christian walk. If we are not content, how can God move us to the next step in our journey with Him?

Blessings,
Joan

8:30 AM  
Blogger Deborah Ann said...

That is so true. There are so many blessings all around us, that we never even notice!

8:41 AM  
Blogger Missie said...

So true...great insight. Thank you!

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Alex Marestaing said...

That's so true. Sometimes we're so willing to openly cherish gifts like messy scribbled pictures from our kids, but when it comes to receiving gifts from adults, like our spouses, we become less graceful.Thanks for the reminder to focus on the giver rather than the gift.

12:56 PM  
Blogger Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Alisa -

How often do we do this not only with our loved ones, but God? He gives us a blessing, and we find something to complain about.

Let's not allow the enemy to turn our treasures into trash.

Blessings,
Susan :)

3:08 PM  
Blogger Braley Mama said...

What a sweet boy you have, and an awesome God!!!! Yes, we are so blessed in this country and thanks for the reminders:O) HUGS!

4:24 PM  
Blogger Jeanette Levellie said...

"The gift is not as important as the person who gives it." Wow. I learned from this post. Thank you, Lisa. I think you have one awesome son, too!

Love
Jen

4:31 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Ouch...I have been guilty of this...very good reminder of what is important....

4:52 PM  
Blogger Stuff could always be worse said...

Oh, did you get it right again. We have so much to be thankful for. I do want to be content...Thanks for reminding us.

5:37 PM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

We are indeed "swimming in blessings " and I too am guilty of being ungrateful.
I am ashamed to say that while I was cleaning my toddlers room my DH made me a coffee, he put it in my car travel mug and I complained that how it would stay too hot to drink and would tip over and how could he be so thoughtless and not just get me the coffee in a regular cup- oh dear!! No thank you for the kindness or even a pause and look at the heart of making it for me - just a sharp tongue criticizing what I wasn't happy about- you are right - even after 17 years of marriage I need some big lessons at appreciation and maybe silence,
Thank you for this post today,
Have a lovely week,
Blessings in Him,
Carolyn

5:43 PM  
Blogger Connie Mace said...

to be content...not to murmur, grumble, complain...thank you Alisa...faithfully pointing our hearts where they should be...

6:08 PM  
Blogger Dionna said...

What a special way God spoke to your heart.

8:18 PM  
Blogger Carlos said...

Thank you for the post. My wife struggles with this in relating to her family. She tries and tries to find ways to be kind and bless them but they often are unappriciative of her efforts. This is very hurtful for her and I try to be supportive, but I sometimes have to remind her that she was like that once upon a time. God dealt with her heart and she allowed Him to help her grow. So now we pray for God to give them an experience to help them grow as well, rather than fussing about their selfishness. I am going to share this post with my wife - I think it will give her hope in her situation :)

8:18 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Thanks "Lis-uh",

My wife and I have been separated for over a year; one of the great rifts in our relationships is the manner in which she continuously demeans my attempts to please her; after a time I quit trying, my attempts at reconciliation "filled ...gift-offerings with negative energy".

I continue to pray for her, for my daughters and for the relationships among the four of us. It's hard and it is a wonder to read of someone who made the "turn" and saw renewal and blessing in return! He's a great God!

Thank you!

9:25 AM  
Blogger Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

isn't God just so good!! he certainly gives us treasure when he gifts us with our children (and grandchildren!).

11:32 AM  
Blogger Wanda said...

Alysa, thanks for the reminder that it really is the thought that counts.

12:56 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I really appreciate your honesty Alisa. Thanks for another great post!

4:15 PM  
Blogger Warren Baldwin said...

Neat, neat story, and great application. This is one of those stories to treasure for life.

11:05 PM  
Blogger K.M. Weiland said...

This totally just made my day. What an awesome story! The worth of a gift is determined by the person who gives it, not always the person who receives it - but it's nice when they're on the same page! Love that pic too, BTW.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Bernadine said...

Aww Alisa, your son is so sweet. Love this story and the lesson that goes along with it.

5:34 PM  
Blogger Michele Williams said...

Being content is a lesson I learned the hard way a few years back. I enjoyed your post and blog. Thank you.

9:18 PM  
Blogger Reign and Shine said...

Yes, you are so right,God is the giver of all good gifts. The love of a child, the fact we can recognize our own name is a gift. Showers from the storehouse of heaven. Thank you Lord for rainy days of love.
Thank you "aLisa" for pointing us to Him.

4:00 AM  
Blogger Toyin O. said...

So true Alisa; that is a great revealation that will continue to bless your relationships. Imagine the people that don't have anyone to give them gifts. They probably will take anything they are given.

Great post.

2:01 PM  
Blogger Toyin O. said...

So true Alisa; that is a great revealation that will continue to bless your relationships. Imagine the people that don't have anyone to give them gifts. They probably will take anything they are given.

Great post.

2:01 PM  
Blogger Heather Spiva said...

Very good, as usual.
Thanks Alisa.

7:32 PM  
Blogger Amy Sullivan said...

I love this sweet story. It's funny. I've only bounced around to a few blogs today, and they all deal with similar subject matter...that's pretty cool.

Hmmm...I wonder what I am supposed to take away from my reading, oh yes, I think I already know:)

8:45 PM  
Blogger V said...

O Alisa never EVER stop blogging, when i am old and grey and my eyesight fading away YOU must still inspire me and show me the way!!
Thanks so much for this. I saw me there a lot and i am so jealous of you and your son, thats so blooming special and sweet!!!!!

11:58 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Yes...I think we could "shed off a few pounds of selfishness"!! Thanks so much for your thoughts. Love your blog!!

5:16 PM  
Blogger Michael Manning said...

Alisa: Our culture has changed so much over the years, and yet, I haven't seen things so intense and uncivilized as I have in the past couple of years with respect to behaviors in public.

This post was really timely for me to take a "time out" and refocus. Along with the commenter above, I too love this blog site! It is always refreshing!! :)

12:34 AM  
Blogger D.J. Hughes said...

Such a sweet story!

I know what you mean about picking out the one part of a gift or gesture that I didn't like. I had to change that early on in my marriage.

Wise words here.

2:17 AM  
Blogger Karen Lange said...

We ARE swimming in blessings! A thankful heart is a good thing to cultivate. Good post. Your son sounds adorable:)
Blessings,
Karen

5:06 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

Wow! Contentment has really been a reapeated message for me this past week. The boys and I were just reading this verse from Philippians yesterday. What an adorable story about your son making that neclace for you. :)

11:56 AM  
Blogger Carmen said...

Soooo true!! How quickly we think we deserve what we have instead of appreciating it as a gift! Wonderful post!

1:29 PM  
Anonymous Julie@comehaveapeace said...

This is so true, Alisa. Our world has such unreachably (is that a word?) high expectations ... exhausting and defeating. Real love, Christ style love, loves with gratitude and that resulting contentment. And thank you so much for sharing that beautiful story from the beach. That one is worth pulling out and absorbing over and over again. :)

3:03 PM  
Blogger LisaShaw said...

Both your son and the lesson taught here is precious!!! Thanks for sharing with us.

Love and hugs!

3:23 PM  
Blogger lioneagle said...

Greetings -

I loved the son/mommy message - it caused my spirit to smile.

Also, your overall message is so true...!

12:40 PM  
Anonymous LeAnn Weiss-Rupard said...

Great illustration about marriage, Alisa! Keep writing for Him and encouraging others to deeper relationship with God and others!
Hugs,
LeAnn Weiss-Rupard
Encouragement Company

5:27 PM  
Blogger angelonwheels said...

How old were you when you began your career as a writer? You have amazing talent! This is a great post!

1:13 PM  

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