deeper things: Contentment by Rosemary Shaumburg

This was too good to not share. All of it. Rosemary is the wife of counselor and author Dr. Harry Shaumburg (he wrote this book and this book). I hope her wisdom challenges you.

Twenty years or so ago I stood in my tiny kitchen in New York City preparing dinner for my husband and two sons. I had the radio on, listening to an interview with Francis Schaeffer. He made a statement that burned into my head and heart:

“If I’m not content, it’s because I am not letting God be God or I have ceased to be thankful.”

Those words came to me during a period of great discontent. We had had significant and long-term issues to deal with concerning the health of our children. I hated living in the city without so much as a blade of grass for them to play in, even at the park. Life just seemed utterly difficult in every way. I could not make sense of it, nor come to terms with what God was doing—or not doing.

Dr. Schaeffer’s statement played in my mind like an endlessly cycling tape. It was obvious that I was not content. As for letting God be God, I knew that I wanted him to do things he wasn’t doing. I had accused him of inactivity in our lives. He seemed rather inattentive when it came to good things. Plenty of bad stuff happened, but we were very lacking in what I would have considered his “blessing.” As for thankfulness, I had a very short list.

Hearing Dr. Schaeffer make that statement on the radio as I chopped vegetables in my tiny kitchen was no haphazard incident. It was definitely God at work in my life, very faithfully, as he had been all along. He was about the business of changing me, not my circumstances—which happened to be the exact opposite of what I had in mind, hence my discontent. That moment marked a huge step forward in my thinking and my mind being changed regarding God’s purpose and my/our circumstances.

Since that time I have had plenty of opportunity (thousands of times, I’m sure) to revisit that statement. Discontentment seems to live just barely beneath my skin, ready to erupt at a microsecond’s notice. When it does, I have to deal with the fact that I am not letting God be God, or I have ceased to be thankful. Probably both, since I’ve found that I can’t really do one without the other. Recognizing discontentment immediately and renewing my mind with what God has revealed about himself in Scripture and who I am in light of that has the spontaneous effect of thankfulness. When I understand who God is, I am happy to turn all over to him with a thankful, grateful heart.

An overall attitude of contentment affects every aspect of life, great and small. I don’t think it is so much a matter of ‘looking’ for things for which to be thankful. That seems artificial to me, and when I’ve tried that, it peters out pretty quickly. Genuine contentment is spontaneous, an outcome of loving God’s sovereignty. If meditating on God’s character is the starting point in dealing with my discontent it has a true foundation rather than making out a ‘thankful list’, helpful though that may be.

1 Timothy 6:6-7 says, “Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” The godliness comes first. It is–and I know this a scorned word these days—foundational. Without godliness, all we’re left with is trying to manage our own happiness. That can work for a while, but it will not endure when the going gets tough.

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4 Responses to “deeper things: Contentment by Rosemary Shaumburg”

  1. Susan Says:

    This part was my favorite:
    “I don’t think it is so much a matter of ‘looking’ for things for which to be thankful. That seems artificial to me, and when I’ve tried that, it peters out pretty quickly. Genuine contentment is spontaneous, an outcome of loving God’s sovereignty.”

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Leann Says:

    Thank you for sharing; it is very challenging for me and my walk with God. Sometimes, or should I say a lot of times, I wonder what in the world we are doing in Argentina. I need to focus on HIM….thanks!

    • Stacey Says:

      I know…it’s not Argentina but sometimes I feel the same about Colorado Leann…we’re praying for your little family and the work the Lord is doing through you guys!!!

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