We all experience moments in our lives when we feel discontented, maybe even trapped.
Type A women are especially susceptible to this. We like to be in control and, when something happens that gets our schedule off kilter, well, our discontentment shifts into high gear.
Here’s a little lesson about deserts, scouring pads and chameleons which will help you find contentment in all circumstances:
Times which frazzle, frustrate, or sometimes even devastate us can be called our “desert” experiences. They’re a natural part of life. We won’t always be totally in control of our situations or enjoy them, but we can always learn from them.
Jesus chose to experience a time in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11). Desert experiences in the Bible are a time of testing and result in growth and strengthening.
Remember how Jesus reacted to His desert experience? He quoted God’s Word! He showed us the key is how we react to our circumstances (and the devil!). Like Jesus, we shouldn’t let the devil tempt us to do the wrong thing.
That’s where the scouring pad comes in. A scouring pad has a rough side and a sponge side. When we have our “desert” or frustrating experiences, we may become abrasive like the scouring pad and spend a lot of time complaining. On the other hand, we can choose to be like the sponge side and absorb the situation and figure out what God is teaching us or preparing us for. It’s all a matter of becoming bitter or better.
Another option is to act like a chameleon, the animal which changes colors according to its background. Like a chameleon, we often let our circumstances dictate how we look and act. That’s not a good idea. A lot of us start looking (and sounding) like monsters when we are in monstrous situations. Watch out world! Listen to us roar!
-How about calming down and focusing on something else? Think about someone you admire.
We all know people who inspire us. They reflect light regardless of their circumstances, always sharing joy, even in the midst of tragedy. They are not like chameleons. We can learn from these people.
Is there hope after desert experiences? Of course! Isaiah 58:9 tells us how God will comfort us in the wake of our desert experience – if we CALL ON HIM!
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
We can also learn a lot from a man called Paul. He wrote much of the New Testament. As a matter of fact, he wrote most of it in jail. He had been beaten, whipped, left for dead and ultimately, put in jail simply for proclaiming the Gospel. Even when jailed, he wrote about contentment. In Philippians 4:11-13, he said,
“…for I’ve learned to be content whatever the circumstances…
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
When we’re in frustrating circumstances, we should look to God for strength. Also, we should remember this “desert” experience will not last forever. God has promised hope for tomorrow. God is, in fact, our only hope!
I’ve heard a great saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” In fact, Proverbs 19:21 says
“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
Please don’t be distressed if your plans have been sidetracked! Wait and watch. God is doing something. Avoid being a scouring pad or a chameleon.
Most importantly, remember, God has the BEST plan for you. Just read Jeremiah 29:11-14:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
If you feel like you’re in the desert right now, make like a sponge and soak up some wisdom with God’s help. Seek Him with all your heart. He will bring you back from this captivity.
God has plans for you! Trust Him and keep moving forward!