I have a new phone. My previous phone was a source of great frustration but the budget had no room for an upgrade before the appointed time. Each day brought surprising levels of self-control as I continued to resist the temptation to toss the device out the window while driving or take a hammer to it when at home.
It wasn’t always a problem. In the beginning all worked as it should. When the latest update alert arrived I was hesitant. Ignoring my instincts, I updated the device. Big mistake. It never worked properly again. You can imagine my excitement when notice arrived that I qualified for an upgrade!! I browsed the multitude of options available, read the reviews, and after several days made my selection. I returned to the type of phone I had owned prior to the troublemaker.
I received the new phone in the mail and immediately began the set-up process. Technology not being my strong suit, this took longer to conquer than it would have taken the average first grader, but I was not discouraged. I had a new phone! I was able to accomplish all that needed to be done except transferring all my contacts from the old device to the new. I made several unsuccessful attempts before deciding to take it to the experts.
Thankful when I arrived at the store that only one other customer was there, I approached an employee who was available to assist me. I explained what I needed and placed both devices on the counter. There were two young men at this counter and they both looked at me in confusion. One asked me to repeat my request. When I did so, it brought to both their faces looks of utter disbelief.
“Ma’am, you want to replace Phone A with Phone B?!?!?!?”
“Ma’am, have you ever had a Phone B before??”
“Yes, and I really liked it!”
“But Ma’am, wouldn’t you rather upgrade to a Phone A+?”
“No. I hate this phone and never want another one like it!”
“Ma’am, no one does this. No one goes from Phone A to Phone B. It’s not an upgrade, it’s a downgrade!”
The world is calling for constant upgrades, a message that keeps discontentment stirred up. The effort to keep up with the latest technology, the newest fashions, the coolest car steals the joy of contentment in today. We long to feel satisfied, yet we listen to all the voices that say it’s not possible without all the bells and whistles.
God has orchestrated a downgrade in my life this year. He has taken me into something simpler and I am enjoying it immensely. He is teaching me how to be still and content. Taking the time to do exactly that puts so many other things in perspective. My choices of where I go and what I do are now weighed by the measure of remaining content.
Contentment isn’t laziness. Contentment is being busy doing the activities we are called to do, and saying no to the others. Contentment comes from slowing down our lives so that we can discover the path God has for each of us individually. We can’t follow the crowd, even if it’s the church crowd, if we haven’t taken the time to ask God what He wants.
It would be wonderful if upon becoming a Christian we automatically became content with everything in our lives. But Paul writes that it’s something to be learned:
“…for I have learned to be content – satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted – in whatever state I am.” Philippians 4:11
Even in the church, we often hear the message that bigger is better, that participation equals obedience to God, that we should be asking for more and more. At times, those messages may be exactly what we need to hear. But often they pressure us to go where we don’t feel led, they provoke action borne out of guilt and there is no greater discontentment than to be busy doing things for God out of guilt. We can’t discern the messages clearly if we aren’t learning to be content, every prayer to our Father infused with overwhelming thanksgiving for all He has already done.
Perhaps it’s time to assess our contentment level. We may have to give up a few things in order to find true contentment. Others may not understand your decision to downgrade, but there is an Expert than will help you make the transition.