“I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Philippians 4:12b
Last week I took all four kiddos to the grocery store. Like always, I felt like I’d met my quota for exercising for the week after our shopping trip.
After picking up my groceries in the parcel pick up area, I started to pull away from the building, but a very old woman and her daughter stepped out of the store’s deli just in front of me. They could have easily waited for me to pass, but I stopped and waved them forward. They both graced me with beautiful smiles and then the older woman began to step off the curb with her walker. It took more time than I’d anticipated and my girls in the back seat asked why we weren’t moving. I told them we were waiting for the ladies to pass.
The little old woman continued to smile at me every once in a while and I smiled back, enjoying this moment to pause in the midst of my busy day. Eventually they moved past and we waved at one another. They both seemed so happy.
Which got me to thinking and I said to the girls: “I hope that woman has had a happy life. I hope she’s had a lot of joy and love. She looks happy, doesn’t she?”
The girls said she did. And I saw this as a great learning moment.
“Who decides if you’re going to be happy?” I asked the girls.
My oldest said she determines it and my younger daughter said God determines it.
“You’re both right.” I told them. “God made a decision even before you’re born that He wants you to be happy. In the Bible Paul called it content. Now you have to make that decision for yourself. You can’t expect other people or things in your life to make you happy, because if you do, you’ll always be disappointed.”
“I want to be happy,” said my oldest.
“So do I,” said my second daughter.
I love teaching my children real lessons during real life experiences, so I’m always looking for opportunities during our day. This won’t be the last time that I talk to them about the importance of being content whatever their circumstances, but hopefully this moment will be tucked away into their hearts as a good memory and they will think about it as they navigate through the ups and downs of life.