A toddler-sized pair of skates wired to an evergreen spray and adorned with a bow — that’s the best I can do! But not everyone is craft-challenged like I am, and Sarah O. Maddox has made a practice of hanging a beautiful wreath on the door of her home no matter what the season as a symbol of contentment, a sign that her heart has said yes to the gift of that particular house in that particular location — a sign that her heart has said yes to God.
In You Can Learn to be Content, a book that incorporates both memoir and devotional inspiration, Sarah describes her discovery that she had an uneasy relationship with contentment, and then shares her journey toward living in the light that Isaiah speaks of:
Who among you fears the Lord
and obeys the voice of his servant?
Let him who walks in darkness
and has no light
trust in the name of the Lord
and rely on his God. (Isaiah 50:10)
Hebrews 10:35-38 reminds believers that the root of discontent is a mindset of doubt and fear, admonishing us not to “cast away our confidence” in Him.
While there’s nothing wrong with having an eye for improvement, Sarah shares three common obstacles to contentment that steal our joy:
- Unmet expectations lead to disappointment, frustration, and regret, and “when the circle of regret becomes [our] resting place, contentment flees out the door.”
- My response to others gives them power over me. Poet Fran McDaniel shares this wisdom: “Choose not to be offended; rather, seek to understand.”
- The truth is that “what’s down in the well may come up in the bucket!” When under pressure and plagued with uncertainty, walking in the way of contentment has to be a conscious choice that comes from within.
From Jehoshaphat’s prayer in the midst of what looked to be a losing battle, Sarah encourages her readers that even when we feel powerless in the battle for contentment, the answer is to look to God for guidance. Peppered with examples of her own struggles through perplexing circumstances, she shares homely wisdom from her museum of memories:
- “Because God wants you to trust Him, He will see to it that you have to.”
- “God: Vacate and let me occupy.”
- “A contented woman is not dependent on anyone else for her satisfaction. She has not made her house, her financial situation, her husband, her children, or her friends slaves of her expectations.”
Psalm 62:5 gives words for the heart of the woman who desires contentment in her bones:
Wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him . . .”
With this wisdom, even in the midst of changing circumstances, the woman who believingly follows Jesus Christ can live with a heart that is wreathed in contentment.
This book was provided by the author in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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