You’re waiting on something, and it feels like it’s taking entirely too long to happen. You’re stuck in limbo wondering when. And as we wonder when we often begin to ask why. Why is this taking so long? Why do I have to wait? Why me?

Time is a funny thing. We can wait for several years for something, but then as soon as we have it, our whole world shifts around now having it. And now that we have it, it’s easy to take it for granted. It’s easy to overlook the fact that this morning we woke up with so many things we were once waiting for.

Seriously, remember when you were counting down the days to your wedding, or prewashing all those new baby clothes with such anticipation of the day you would bring that baby home, or dreaming of moving into the new house, or interviewing for the job and praying they would choose you. Eventually the day came, and the day went, and what you had looked so forward to became reality, then reality lost its luster. How many days have gone by since you were genuinely excited about what you already have? Probably a lot.

We only seem to get excited about what we don’t have yet. What we do have is already old news. So now we just wait. Wait for the next new thing. Wait for the weekend. Wait for vacation. Wait for the next holiday. Wait for something to change. All while days are going by that we will never get back.

What are you waiting on? Can you be happy while you wait? Can you find joy in the in between? Can you count your blessings while one blessing is missing?

This is one of the greatest lessons God has been graciously teaching me over the past 5 years. He’s teaching me to trust him with the timing and choose to be happy while I wait. If I can’t be happy while I wait for this problem to be fixed, then I may be unknowingly sacrificing year after year of my life. And really, what glory does that give God if I sit here miserable in the wait? What kind of faith is it that requires all my blessings to be present before I count them?

Paul taught us about choosing happiness in the middle of a mess while waiting for it to get better. He called it contentment. Contentment is a quiet state of happiness and satisfaction. Contentment isn’t loud, it’s a calm feeling within, regardless of the storm outside. He said in Philippians 4: 11, “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself.” Notice the word LEARNED.

Learned implies it wasn’t natural to be content in his circumstances. It wasn’t automatic and without effort. Paul had to choose his mindset over and over again until he had LEARNED contentment.

What is natural for human beings when we don’t get what we want when we want it is to throw a fit. Seriously, look at a baby. If a baby doesn’t get fed within 3 seconds of feeling hungry, there’s a complete meltdown. That’s what is natural to us. We have to learn how to still be happy when we don’t get what we want when we want it.

How loud are your complaints when you are waiting? How ugly is your face when things aren’t the way you want them to be? Let’s check real life situations here …

You’re at a restaurant and you’ve ordered chicken fajitas, no rice with double beans and guacamole on the side. The waitress brings steaming hot steak fajitas with rice and the guacamole is old. Check your face? How do you react? What do you say? Are you going to throw your grown woman hissy fit?

You’re waiting in a crowded parking lot for a spot. There’s a car leaving, so you turn on your blinker and wait. Just then a truck whips right in front of you and takes the spot you’re clearly waiting on. Check your hands. What are your hands doing right now? Are you giving hand signals, speaking in sign language. Over what … a parking space?

Paul is in PRISON when he is writing about learned contentment. He’s sitting in a prison cell in a quiet state of happiness and satisfaction. He doesn’t know when he will get out. He doesn’t even know if he will survive. He is in literal need and want, waiting, suffering, yet he was content where he was.

How can we do this? How can we wait without a meltdown? How can we get the opposite of what we want, yet not become the opposite of who God has called us to be? Well, the good news is, Paul shares his secret with us.

Verse 12 & 13, “In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content. (Now, here comes the secret.). I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me.”

We often take that scripture completely out of context, when in reality, Paul was writing from prison saying, hey guys, the only way I can be happy in here and find satisfaction is through the strength of Jesus. Without Jesus this is impossible. Without his strength, I am miserable. But he helps me count my blessings even while some of my blessings are missing. He helps me see the good even when there’s so much bad. He helps me make the most of each moment, even when I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be stuck here. My contentment comes through Jesus.

Now, take that lesson and apply it to your current situation. I’ll apply it to mine as well.

Here’s what I see … there sure are a lot of things to be anxious about, but Christ gives me the strength to trust. There are a lot of things to be hurt about, but Christ shows me how to forgive. There are a lot of things to worry over, but Christ reminds me to “Give all your worries and cares to God, because he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:7) So, I give them to God and my burden is lifted.

Now, here I am with circumstances that still haven’t changed, but my burdens are lifted, I’m walking towards forgiveness and in turn I’m being forgiven, and I’m receiving supernatural strength as I trust the wait. This is LEARNED CONTENTMENT. I’m learning as I’m waiting.

You’re learning as you’re waiting. You’re learning the storm in your circumstances doesn’t require a storm within. Jesus calms the wind and waves inside you. He brings peace even while the storm continues. And here you are, now learning to be like Jesus, learning to find contentment through it all. Remember where Jesus was when the storm hit the boat he was on? Check this story out:

Matthew 8: 23-26, “As Jesus got into the boat, his disciples followed him. Suddenly, a violent storm arose on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves – but Jesus kept sleeping. So the disciples came and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to die!” He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.”

The boat was literally being swamped by waves and Jesus just kept sleeping. Jesus wasn’t disturbed by the storm. He was completely content through it all. He had a quiet happiness and satisfaction within.

Lord, teach us to be calm in the storm. Give us the faith that says, “whatever the wind and the waves do, I have complete confidence because Jesus is in my boat.”

Is Jesus in your boat? Seriously, have you asked him to be in this with you? He will be right there with you and never forsake you. He will give you the strength to be content right through this. Jesus is not flipping out here. He’s not stressed. With absolute power, he knows how this storm ends. He knows when this storm ends. And he knows hes getting you through it.

My storm continues. Year 5. But Jesus is teaching me how to have a quiet happiness and satisfaction every single day through this storm. And on some days, my happiness gets loud. My joy is on full display, even while some things are still a mess. My satisfaction overflows to ridiculous fun and sheer gratitude, even in the wait. How? Because Jesus is teaching me LEARNED contentment. It’s not natural. It’s learned. It’s chosen. It’s intentional.

And it’s yours if you want it.

Follow Pamela on Instagram –
Or Facebook –
Find out more about BIG Life –