I have been thinking so much about how to live a life of contentment. In general anymore, I don’t envy people who do the things I used to do – exercise, work a full-time job, travel, and all the other things I used to love. I realize I am on the journey I’m on for a purpose. Yet day-to-day contentment and peace can be such a challenge at times.
I have been studying Philippians over the past several weeks and I believe that Paul reveals the secret of overcoming that feeling of discontentment. Imprisoned at the time he wrote the letters, he was full of gratitude.
Philippians 4: 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4: 12 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 well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
I am called to give thanks in all circumstances and at all times. And I have so many reasons to be grateful.
The level of my spinal cord injury really should have kept me on a ventilator for the rest of my life. Even one of the nurses at the rehabilitation center told me the medical team working with me was convinced that I would never breathe on my own. What a different life that would’ve been. I admire those that live on a ventilator day in and day out.
I was unable to speak the first month after my injury because of all breathing apparatus attached to me. It was so humbling and I feared I would not be able to speak going forward, but God had a purpose for my voice. My voice is the way I dictate to my laptop to write these blogs, to read books, to share my life and faith with others. I am grateful to breathe on my own and speak out loud.
The reality is, I was never satisfied as an able-bodied person. I’ve written this in so many of my blogs and sometimes I have to repeat it even to myself. I stayed in debt, never looked perfect enough, and for much of my adult life, drank my sorrows away. I laid in bed many nights asking myself what was the purpose of my life. I had a big empty hole inside that I couldn’t seem to fill.
I have so much gratitude for the women who introduced me to the real Jesus in the Bible. I always assumed Christians were uptight and had no fun. I assumed the Bible was not relevant in this day and age. I assumed all of these things without ever cracking it open and reading it. Reading the words on those pages changed my life. I became a confident woman and was able to let go of the past. My empty hole was finally full.
Without my relationship with God, I would never be able to endure all of the things that I have gone through over the last four years. Sometimes I reflect back and it’s really been a lot! I don’t say that to feel sorry for myself, I say it because it reminds me of God’s incredible power that works inside of me. I know there are more hard times ahead, but this wheelchair has taught me that I can do everything through him who gives me strength. I know what it is to live in need and I know what it is to have plenty – but I can be content in all situations.