Contentment vs. Happiness

“I just want to be happy.” You rarely hear someone say “I just want to be content.” In my soul searching work, I have come to understand the difference between being content versus being happy. Most of us chase happiness and use this as a measure to accept our current circumstances or not. We often tell ourselves, “If I’m not happy, then this is not for me.” Wake up call…you were not created for your own happiness. God calls us even higher than happiness…its called contentment.

Contentment is defined as the “quality or state of being satisfied with one’s possessions, status, or situation.” Contentment is an attitude. Happiness is an emotion. In this, attitudes are more of fixed assets, whereas, emotions are liabilities and risks. A fixed asset means something is tangible, sure, and lasts a lifetime. Emotions are fleeting, wavering, and inconsistent. I think of happiness like a wave, up and down, in and out. One minute you are happy, the next minute you are spewing anger, bitterness, or resentment. Only in certain circumstances, when the conditions of life align to your wants and desires, do you feel happy. I believe this is one reason some people are in and out with God. For some, this may be the only relationship in life that is not based on their own happiness. Instead, contentment is required to make the relationship truly satisfying and successful.

Contentment does not mean you don’t have desires. Contentment doesn’t mean you don’t still have problems or pressures. Contentment doesn’t mean you are happy, necessarily. Contentment means you intentionally accept your circumstances, as they are, and you purposefully shift your attitude to gratitude. Contentment promotes happiness. Here’s the revelation…God delights in providing a contented heart its true desires.

In my own life, some of my circumstances are in contrast to my desires. I don’t experience the feeling of happiness every day, but what I have found is a place of peace, wholeness, and satisfaction knowing that whatever the state that I am in, God is in control and has my best interest at heart. Having a contented heart alleviates worry about my future. I find myself with greater appreciation of what I have and in greater expectation of what is to come.

If you want to make great gains in life in your circumstances, emotions, and relationships; if you want to move the heart of God, seek contentment and not happiness. If you choose to be content, I guarantee you, you will be happy!

Dr. TC

In my conversations with God, I plead the fifth…

I Plead the Fifth. Pleading the Fifth means to refuse to answer questions for fear of incriminating yourself. I have been working really hard lately to keep my mouth closed! Not so much towards other people, but towards myself. I am practicing not cursing my own words, and more importantly not cursing God’s Word over my life by complaining and speaking doubt.

It’s challenging. I do not remember the day I realized that I was delaying my own blessings by releasing certain words from my mouth, but it has truly been a shift in thinking, feeling, and my spiritual behavior. If God says I have the “power to move mountains”, I can no longer say “I’m powerless”. If God says “I will be wealthy”, I can no longer say, “I can’t ever get out of this debt.” If God says, “a turn around is about to take place in your life”, I can no longer say, “nothing ever changes.”

These are all real examples of the conversations I’ve had with God, and with the enemy. The moment God releases a Word from His mouth about you, is the very moment you have to choose to Plead the Fifth. It is not only your constitutional right, but your spiritual weapon to receive all that God has for you. The enemy hears what God says about you and immediately springs into action to discount, destroy, and delay the Word God spoke over your life. Here’s where we go wrong, God releases a Word and the enemy immediately springs into action against what was spoken. When we hear the release of God’s Word over our lives, we sit back and try to process and qualify ourselves with what God says about us and do not immediately spring into action. Instead, we stand in disbelief, telling God he has the wrong person, trying to figure out how it will happen, etc. We don’t immediately spring into action to guard our hearts and minds against evil talk and evil thoughts concerning the Word of God. Many of us say things such as, “I don’t want to do that.” “I’m too old/young/not smart enough to do that.” “That is too much responsibility.” “What would people say?” “I didn’t ask for all of that, God.” Meanwhile, the enemy has already taken the lead in our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

The wonderful news, God holds our position through our transition, one of my favorite quotes. He loves us so much He does not take back His Word concerning us and our future. God’s Word cannot return to Him void! There may be some delays, but never denials, unless we choose to forfeit our own blessings.

The Bible says in Proverbs 4: 23-27 (MSG), “Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts. Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip. Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions. Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you. Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust.” So, the next time you receive a Word from the Lord concerning your life, choose to Plead the Fifth. Intentionally choose not to speak against the Word. Don’t disqualify yourself, don’t try and figure it out. Just receive and expect God’s Word to come to pass, no questions asked.

Dr. TC

I stopped counting my followers…I only need two!

Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalms 23:6 (NIV)

We are living in a society where many of us are defined by the number of social media friends and followers. Honestly speaking, I do not think there is anything wrong with this, unless a person is only defined by these parameters. I think there are many people that do not know who they are or only feel valuable and special when someone comments, post a reaction, or “likes” their page or posts. This level of dependence on what others think or feel based on how they interact with you on social media may mask low self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-love.

I get it. I too have had fleeting moments of watching my followers and wondering why certain material gets more likes and followers more than material I produce, which is intentionally shared to uplift, encourage, and empower. These moments lasted only a short while until I allowed the Holy Spirit to speak to me…”Stop counting your followers, you only need two.” Of course, I was taken aback by this response and wondered, “What two followers are the most important ones to have (as I am scanning my friends list)?” And then the Holy Spirit said, “Goodness and Mercy (love)”. My emotions and spirit were immediately comforted and empowered to keep following the leading of the Holy Spirit with every written word I shared on social media, knowing that God was pleased with my work.

I’m not sure why I was inspired to share this post with others. I believe there are some out there that “people watch” on social media and are emotionally anguished when certain goals are not met. I also believe there are some that define their success solely by the number of followers they receive. Still, there are others that post material on social media because they are seeking to find their purpose, to have an impact (good or bad), or to be noticed. This is the audience I’m hoping to encourage. God defines your purpose, not people. God’s work in and through you are what will make you famous, not feedback from others. In 1 Chronicles 4, Jabez prays, “‘Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request.” When God guides your words and your work, his Goodness and Love are the only followers you need to create opportunities, open doors, and blow your name on the wind! I too, hope to grow my audience, but not at the expense of God’s plan for my life and in the way He would have me walk in my purpose. Sometimes, too, you just have not yet reached your season.

Commit daily to checking your followers, Goodness and Love. Ask yourself, “Am I doing God’s will for my life?” “Am I allowing Him to guide my words, thoughts, and actions?” “Am I making a positive impact on the lives of people?” I guarantee, just like Jabez, if you surrender to His will, your territory (followers) will be enlarged and His blessings will flow abundantly!

Be well, Dr. TC

From Employee to Partner

partner

The title of this post has been sitting in my drafts for over a year. When I created the title, I was referring to our partnership with God in our lives. Since creating this title, I have definitely grown from being God’s employee to God’s partner in life. So what is the difference? Next, I will offer my perspective…

An employee is defined as “a person employed for wages or salary, especially at a nonexecutive level.” There are “good” employees and “bad” employees. Good employees uphold their duties they have been assigned, at times go above and beyond to complete their tasks, are generally reliable, and are a good representation of the company. Employees also earn wages or a salary for their work and may do some things above their duties, but not too much, as they will expect compensation for their time invested after a while. A bad employee shows up to work (most of the time) and may or may not fulfill their full work duties day to day. A bad employee is not reliable, but consistent in their behavior. They may be reprimanded, but never quite do enough to be fired, as they know their wages or salary are attached to their role. A bad employee often brings down the morale of the company and often complain as they are performing the duties they consented to when first being hired. As an employer, it’s quite painful to pay a bad employee.

In your relationship with God, which type of employee are you, a bad employee or a good employee? Do you dutiful perform the tasks given to you? (Dutiful meaning you are obedient, but lack a real desire or enthusiasm to do the work you are doing.) Do you go above and beyond, only if at some point compensation is attached to your efforts? Are you reliable? Or do you begrudgingly show up to work everyday? Do you complain about every task given to you? Do you only perform your duties if God compensates you for your work? Do you continue to hold on to your job only because you idolize your paycheck? Are you a good representation of your employer?

In contrast, let’s explore the difference between an employee and a partner. A partner is a leader within a company and adds value to the company’s mission and vision. Here are the characteristics of a partner (some information taken from an article by journalist Katia Lavoie):

  • Partners have stronger ties and a deeper commitment.
  • Partners have better decision-making skills.
  • When an employer hires a partner, they are able to secure higher financing because that person serves as good “collateral”.
  • Partners share the wealth with their employer.
  • Partners hold themselves, the employer, and other employees more accountable for their work because of their personal and emotional investment in the company.

I believe God desires to find more partners with Him on the Earth. God desires a deeper commitment to His plan for our lives and desires our personal and emotional investment into His desires not our own. Although God values employees, good and bad, God knows who He can truly rely on to utilize their Faith, sacrifice their time, invest their time and money with or without compensation, while still displaying the same enthusiasm in helping the company to grow. Additionally, I believe God delights in compensating (blessing) partners in ways they couldn’t even imagine because of their obedience and sacrifices.

I believe over the course of our Christian walk, God desires a transition from employee to partner. God desires a deeper commitment to His will for our lives day by day. I believe God is looking for people to bless abundantly and miraculously for their obedience and sacrifices. I believe God has a storehouse of blessings for partners.

Are you comfortable being an employee or are you ready to live uncomfortably to become a partner? Employees enjoy a comfort partners do not. Employees gain some type of compensation for every tasks performed, whereas partners often sacrifice long hours without (immediate) pay. Employees perform their duties and then clock out, whereas partners are always “working” and making decisions to benefit the employer no matter the time of day. Both have a purpose, yet are different in their positions and compensation. Not all employees are eligible to become partners, not because God’s lack of desire, but because of some people’s lack of willingness to sacrifice the time and commitment required to reap the true benefits of a partnership. Partners often do not see immediate compensation but understand “in due season we shall reap if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9

The seasons are shifting, are you ready to transition from employee to partner?

Dr. TC