One cannot set much store by physical beauty, though it is a force to be reckoned with. Rather, I would like to be able to say that in my circumstances and relationships, I have behaved and thought beautifully.
To be honest, this takes quite a lot of time and effort and sincerity and humility, and those are not things I have in stock or am ready to display all the time, or even much of the time.
One moment I am content, and the next moment I am not!
Nevertheless, I return to a Charles Spurgeon classic that I posted about many months ago with different perspective (here), the February 16th entry in Morning and Evening, which quotes Philppians 4:11, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content,” and then expands on it thus:
Paul says, “I have learned … to be content;” as much as to say, he did not know how at one time. It cost him some pains to attain to the mystery of that great truth. No doubt he sometimes thought he had learned, and then broke down. And when at last he had attained unto it, and could say, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content,” he was an old, grey-headed man, upon the borders of the grave—a poor prisoner shut up in Nero’s dungeon at Rome. We might well be willing to endure Paul’s infirmities, and share the cold dungeon with him, if we too might by any means attain unto his good degree. Do not indulge the notion that you can be contented without learning, or learn without discipline. It is not a power that may be exercised naturally, but a science to be acquired gradually. We know this from experience. Brother, hush that murmur, natural though it be, and continue a diligent pupil in the College of Content.
At the time of posting this, I had added the following part myself: “We think sometimes that we have learned — it will take more pain before we learn more, and more to be content.” It is with some trepidation that I let myself feel joy over having opportunities to cultivate contentment. I just wonder: what greater loss in the future can God be training me to bear? Perhaps that is a silly way to think, for there is no way I would want to fail in being content, resolved, and at peace, just so greater challenges will not come. It does not work that way in any case. The game is on, and the enemies will spawn. 8)