I grew up enjoying the childhood activity of follow-the-leader. Back in the Prairies, it was especially fun to play after a fresh snowfall on our way to and from school (a four-block walk). With hockey stick in hand, we’d take turns being the leader. We’d take big steps, hopping steps, sliding steps, climb snowbanks and jump down making tracks as we went. We would expect the others to do exactly what we did with both our steps and our stick (acting like a cane, a pole vault, or a sword). You could tell how well your friends were following by their boot prints in the snow.
For several years a woman had been having trouble getting to sleep at night because she feared a burglar breaking in. One night her husband heard a noise in the house, so he went to investigate. Sure enough, he found a burglar. “Good evening,” the husband said. “I am pleased to see you. Come upstairs—my wife has waited 10 years to meet you.”
Do you become paralyzed by “what if” questions? What if it happens? What if it doesn’t? That’s what I call living hypothetically.
“We miss contentment if something other than food, clothing, and shelter becomes essential to our physical lives.”
- Charles R. Swindoll
Contentment is so valuable because it’s so rare. It doesn’t rain down like loonies from heaven—in fact, money may be the hindrance to contentment, though it need not be. The trick is to possess it regardless of your possessions.
The Nazis stripped Victor Frankl’s life down to almost nothing. Once a renowned psychiatrist, Frankl was reduced to being a slave labourer at the notorious death camp Auschwitz. He could have seethed with hate and self-pity but, instead, Frankl realized that the Nazis could never steal, shape, or dictate his attitude.
Some picture meditation as a process of discharge—carving out internal empty space. Biblical meditation is not a void to maintain with empty head and heart. There is content to biblical meditation. We are to consider deeply the works and words of God. Paul commanded that we think on things that are just and excellent (Philippians 4:8). The cup is to be filled, not emptied.
This lesson will help us open up the lines of continual communication with our Lord, giving us joy, hope, and stability in our anxiety-producing world.
Contentment comes through choices we make. The Apostle Paul said he had learned how to be content (Philippians 4:11–13). Following Paul’s teaching and example can help us learn how to be content.
It’s not about the change in the weather, how young or old you are, or any other circumstance. None of these things matter. Life is to be celebrated, not merely endured.
Here are five key lessons kids learn through going through hard times with the sensitive guidance of their parents.
There are days when it’s wise for us to stop and look and listen. Some people schedule such days once a month. Others make time once in every season of the year to consider their lives. Whatever the frequency, we place everything else on hold during these times, thinking through where we have been, where we are, and where we want to go. We scrutinize our lives, examine Scripture, and spend extended time in prayer as we gain a clearer sense of what God is doing in our lives and what He has for us in the future. As the new year rolls around, take some time for reflection and renewal.