Whether Fed or Hungry

The last two weeks have been rough. I’ve been very sick. Still battling fatigue and a horrible ear infection. While dealing with a broken body, I’m puppy sitting my daughter’s very energetic dog. My elderly dog is sick and has puked on my new carpet twice. I missed my grandmother’s 80th birthday party, a concert, a Mariners game, and seven and a half days of work. My kid got stranded in Europe without her luggage. I miss my husband… he’s not gone, but I have been in a fog and sleeping on the couch so I miss him. We’ve had financial ups and downs. And this upcoming week back to work is going to be the kind of storm that should only be in the toilet.

I was asked to choose a meaningful scripture for a meeting that I’ll be attending tomorrow. I immediately knew my choice.

“… I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13 NIV

It’s fair to acknowledge the brutal last couple of weeks; it’s not like I can ignore them even if I wanted to. But my woes are NOTHING compared to what Paul experienced and the fact that he is literally in prison when he pens these words about finding contentment in Christ regardless of not only the madness that life hurls at you, but also to hold fast to the contentment that only Christ brings when you’re basking in the blessings of this amazing life too.

Last week, I went to my acupuncturist. As I lay on the table with 20 needles in my hand, on my ear, on my head, neck, and feet, I felt overcome by gratefulness. It’s hard to describe. At that point, I’d been sick for about a week. I felt like garbage. It was literally a supernatural feeling of contentment. And it made me yearn for more of those moments. Contentment that transcends whatever life’s circumstances are.

Life’s been challenging, but it has been so helpful to cling to this passage. I have woken up two morning extremely frustrated that I’m still sick. And even though there haven’t really been moments of crazy-happiness-dance-around-the-living-room-singing-at-the-top-of-my-lungs… I’ve experienced peace and contentment and acceptance most of the time.

I was telling my son the other day that there is lots of advice out there on how to be happy and find joy and find meaning and true contentment and all the things we are searching for. There is a ton of great suggestions. Do what you love… yes! Exercise and get fresh air… yes! Get therapy for your past traumas… yes! But in the end… it’s all for naught if you miss the main ingredient.

In many Bible translations, verse 13 commonly says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” This doesn’t mean that I can go join the WNBA or take the court at Wimbledon, or achieve any specific goal just because I believe in Jesus. It’s better than that. In this verse, Paul is telling us, regardless of our circumstances, we can be content. Whether I wake up tomorrow with the infection-induced ringing in my ear still or I wake up to quiet. Whether it’s rainy or sunny. Whether I have blueberries for my breakfast or whether my son ate them all. There is a reality where all that doesn’t affect my soul, my attitude, my contentment. And that reality is only found when I find my arm linked with Christ’s and my eyes solely fixed on Him.

PS… Side note… it’s weirdly empowering to have a pounding headache, a ringing ear, with the dogs in the backyard barking incessantly at ghosts behind the fence and smiling, maybe even chuckling a bit and just knowing… I’m gonna be fine. Life is good.