I have finished reading the second chapter of The Resolution for Women. It speaks to a secret that we women have been missing out on for a very long time, one that holds enough weight and promise to change our lives forever in immeasurable ways. So what is this supposed secret?
First of all, lets talk about a woman, the book mentions her as well. She is the mom keeping it together in the grocery aisle as her children scream and throw a tantrum over bags of chips that will not be coming home in their cart. She’s the woman who stands at the altar every Sunday morning, a smile on her face as she praises God no matter her circumstances. She’s the woman who is completely satisfied with her place in life, her possessions are simply that, possessions; and her demeanor is unbelievably peaceful seemingly all the time.
Is it even possible that this woman really even exists? Well, for starters, I think we have all met her at some point in our lives. Met her and secretly wondered if she really was as great as she seemed when she went home at night. If that’s not enough, the Bible says she exists; that she can truly be as content as she seems to be. But how?
Am I the only one to wonder how this could be reality? To me it seems like some starry eyed fantasy. There’s just too much in life that draws on my reserves and saps my strength; could perpetual contentment ever truly exist or is this just another dream that won’t come true? So when I opened the book to this chapter I was a bit in denial. But, as is often the case, Biblical truth has a way of making itself known in undeniable ways. In this case, there are two verses that this chapter draws on: Philippians 4:11-13 and 2 Corinthians 9-8, both of which speak to the secret that it seems some women know but a lot of us don’t.
I mistakenly assumed the secret was simply contentment itself, but I was wrong. Both verses speak to how contentment is to be learned and the book expands on this in a great way. Shirer speaks to these words of Paul’s and what they really mean; that his contentment was a choice he had to make, a realization he needed to come by, a skill, discipline, and ability that needed constant attention and work. So what does this mean for us? What does this mean for moms who are in the thick of it every day, for women working their tails off to help provide for their family, for women who have been in the weeds for what seems like their entire lives and simply can’t get ahead? How is it possible for these women to be content in all circumstances, even when their circumstances are enough to cow even the best of us?
The Resolution for Women, and the Bible, speak to these questions as well. Contentment is, and has to be, a choice we make every single day. There’s so much of the world that wants to pull our attention from the reality of God’s word and His promises, contentment won’t happen unless we work for it. We are constantly being inundated with images of things we supposedly need, things that will make our lives better, make mothering easier, make our wifely responsibilities seem less taxing, less draining. These promises are so misleading though, and failing to realize this draws us into a downward spiral of self pity, dissatisfaction, and resentment towards both God and our circumstances. Nothing the world has to offer can stand in as substitutes for what God has promised us.
The end of the second chapter has a great way for us women to gain some perspective about this as well. Shirer encourages her readers to make a list of All of the things we could possibly need, and All the ways that God has provided for those needs. So I made this list, and boy was it humbling.
You see, even when it seems like there’s just not enough of my strength to last through the day, God still provides everything I need to be wife to my husband and mom to my babies. When I need to be loved, He provides it unconditionally. When I need food, and shelter, and financial security, He provides and abundance in seemingly impossible ways. When I need healing from my past, and clarity in the midst of my tumultuous emotions, His word speaks undeniable truths into my life. He lovingly provides companionship and relationships when and where I need them the most. And when it seems I simply cannot handle one more meltdown or fever, or load of puke covered blankets, God gives me strength, grace, and patience that I didn’t know was there.
Where does that leave us though? When you get done making your own list and you see all that God does every day to provide for your every single need, how can there be any room left for dissatisfaction? I dare you to try it. Make your own list, compare your needs with His provision and try to find just one thing He has ever not provided for you that you really needed? We’re not talking wants here, this isn’t a matter of material possessions that would make our lives oh so much easier, or an abundance of money that would allow us to live as comfortably as our neighbors. When we really boil it down to the things we need to get by daily God will never let us down.
Recognizing this is part of the secret. It’s half the battle. I think the second half if gratefulness. We can list all of the things God does for us and all the ways He has provided for our needs, but if we don’t feel an overwhelming surge of thankfulness, we will not experience contentedness in any way. And gratitude is as much as skill, discipline, and ability that needs to be practiced consistently and diligently as contentedness. You simply can’t have one without the other. I don’t know about you, but I needed these insights more than I realized. I am so looking forward to diving into the next chapter with you all and exploring all there is to learn there. I hope that you will join me in prayer in the meantime about all that has been revealed from this book and God’s Word!
See you next chapter!