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Character Matters
July 2010
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Character Trait – Contentment:
Check It Out. – What Does It Matter? – How Does it Count?
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Content or Contentious?
This month's character trait is contentment. To be content literally means “to hold together with.” With what? With whom? With the Creator.

This month our theme is being content with God's plan for our families, particularly His design for our children. Contentment means to be holding together with God the same view of our children. It means accepting their design even when it is different from what we hoped for or expected.

Contentment is not a passive stance of acquiescing to what others desire. Or to what God desires. It is much more aggressive than that. It carries an element of gratitude. It's not us giving in to Him, it's us recognizing the beauty and value of that design AND being thankful for it. Even at the end of a long day of butting heads and dealing with the tedious training of their design traits (e.g. stubbornness, perfectionism, different attention focus, random thought patterns, difficulty in memorization, day-dreaming imagination).

Contentment conveys a sense of satisfaction, of being satiated or full – in this case, full of God's grace that is sufficient to deal with the training at hand! Contentment leads to a place of rest – resting in the knowledge that the Creator really does know what He is doing by creating our children the way He did. In that place of rest, we can trust Him to show us how to work together with Him to see that design reach its fullest potential in our children.

Contentment is considered an expression of joy. Nehemiah 8:10 reminds us that the joy of the Lord is our strength. When we are content, when we are “holding together with God,” we have His strength sustaining us. The root word for contentment in the Greek describes raising up a barrier. In effect, we create a mighty fortress that guards our children and shields them until they are ready to face the world and fulfill God's plan for their lives.

It's interesting that the words content and contend are so close. To contend means to stretch with, to strive with, extending. It's the opposite force. Instead of holding together with God, contending means we try to extend the limits of God's will and design. Being contentious leads to striving against Him, which can only lead to disappointment, frustrations, and...let's just say it's not where we want to be.

Are you content with the individual designs God has fitly joined together in your family? Or are you still contending with Him, wishing it were different, wishing it was easier. If it's the later, then chances are you've lost your joy.
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Image Credit: © Bronwyn Photo - Fotolia.com

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