The month of February offers a cafeteria plan of emotions—from blessing to boredom the menu items are endless. Consider our options as women. We can be encouraged because we are making progress on the goals we set for the new or discouraged because it appears that we regress more than move forward. The quiet and solitude of the winter landscape can be enjoyed or the fact that “the Groundhog” saw his shadow may propel us to despair because it appears that winter will last forever. The “season of love” spanning February 1 to 14 can be delightful or disappointing. What we place on our emotional plate is largely determined by choosing emotions that produce contentment. Paul teaches us that contentment is an acquired character trait (Phil. 4:11), while Proverbs 4:23 teaches us to
Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.”
I have learned that a diligent heart is maintained by choosing to integrate thoughts that are noble, just, pure, lovely, and of good report (Phil. 4:8 and 9). Meditation, according to The MacArthur Study Bible, is “to read with thoughtfulness, to linger over God’s Word.”[i] Notes from Psalm 1:2 suggest that the spiritually “happy” woman is characterized by the consistent contemplation and internalization of God’s Word for ethical direction and obedience.[ii] Reading thoughtfully and lingering over “The Contented Woman’s Meditation Alphabet,” along with its companion verses, will provide you with spiritual thoughts for keeping your “heart with all diligence.”
The Contented Woman’s Meditation Alphabet
A Attitude sets the pace of your home environment. Keep yours positive . . . focus on Philippians 4:8-9.
B Beauty... maintain careful grooming habits...even when you don’t feel like it. Do consider 1 Peter 3:1-6.
C Cook... creative meals within your budget! (Prov. 31:15)
D Diligent...apply enthusiasm to your role as a Home Manager whether single or married! Allow Proverbs 4:23 to guide you.
E Everything . . . give thanks for all situations. Consistently apply 1 Thessalonians 5:15-22.
F Festive Occasions...build an album of precious memories in your home by establishing traditions! Implement the practice of “memorial stones”—Joshua 4:4-7.
G GOD . . . keep Him as the head of your household to ensure that your home is a welcoming environment! (John 14:3)
H Happy . . . apply Proverbs 3:13. Find wisdom and gain understanding to acquire consistent happiness.
I Imagination . . . use your God-given gifts (1 Cor. 12:1-31) to their fullest extent in your home.
J Joyful thoughts . . . look for a blessing in every situation. Remember there are no problems, just challenges . . . Nehemiah 8:10b!
K Kindness . . . treat others in your home as you want to be treated. Strive to model Dorcas’ reputation in Acts 9:36.
L Love as Christ loves. Purpose to memorize and practice 1 Corinthians 13!
M Manners . . . conduct yourself in such a way that you stimulate other’s BEST responses—implement 1 Peter 1:13-16. Consider the truth of Proverbs 11:16 and 22, “A gracious woman attains honor . . . as a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a beautiful woman who lacks discretion.”
N Nothing is impossible when we trust God in faith. Meditate upon Hebrews 11:6.
O Open communication. Speak the truth in LOVE and harbor no bitterness—Ephesians 4:26-32.
P Plan ahead...it saves time, money, and energy. Focus on Proverbs 29:18.
Q Quiet Time...a daily time of fellowship with your Lord. Psalm 119 teaches what God’s Word will do for you!
R Remember the little things that are BIG things to those in your household! Proverbs 31:27 presents the balance of home and ministry.
S Submission . . . willingly apply the teaching of Ephesians 5:21.
T Television...turn it OFF! Don’t let an appliance consume precious times of fellowship! Apply 2 Corinthians 10:5 to your viewing choices.
U Unexpected surprises...an extra special menu, a fancy dessert, using the good china . . . all make home a welcoming place. Remember John 14:2.
V Variety . . .God is the author. Follow His pattern presented in the Genesis account of creation!
W Welcome others to your home with warmth and expectation! Model Hebrews 11:31!
X (E)Xtra kindness. Learn to give extra attention to those within your home when their spirits need a lift! Recall the truth of Proverbs 25:11 and I. Timothy 5:8.
Y Your health...know your limitations and work within those parameters. Be sure that your family knows them too—1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
Z ZEST!! Approach each day with a zest for the opportunities that it holds. Ask our LORD daily, “What wonderful things are we going to do today?” Practice Psalm 118:24!
Just as good physical health is the result of implementing sound health practices, so good spiritual health is the result of applying sound spiritual practices. God's Health Plan for the heart of the Contented Woman contains four essential elements:
Weight: a need to eliminate unneeded cares (1 Pet. 5: 7-10).
Pulse: the rhythm of one’s gratitude (Col. 3:12-17).
Blood pressure: reading of anxiety over trust (Ps. 55:22).
Diet: regular intake and submission to the life-giving thoughts of the Lord (Jer. 15:16).
The application of God’s Health Plan allows our Contented Woman to mature in a number of godly character qualities including:
· Submission to her Lord (Col. 3:18)
· Submission to her husband (Eph. 5:22)*
· Respect of her husband (1 Pet. 3:1-6)*
· A commitment to loving her family (Titus 2:4)*
· Care of her household (Titus 2:5)
· Self-control, kindness, and purity of heart and mind (Titus 2:5)
*A note to the single woman. If practice submission, respect, and love in your current season of life you will be have a strong foundation for these behaviors to be transitioned into a marriage relationship.
The consistent development of these godly character qualities produces visible evidence that we are cultivating a heart of contentment. The following questions drawn from Proverbs 31:10-31 assist us in diagnosing our level of contentment!
· Do others affirm my character (am I worth more than fine jewels)? (Prov. 31:10)
· Do I gain the confidence of my husband or others who consistently observe my actions? (Prov. 31:11)
· Do I approach my work eagerly and vigorously? (Prov. 31:14,17)
· Am I hospitable to my children and others? (Prov. 31:15)
· Do I practice sound money management? (Prov. 31:16, 18, 24)
· Am I willing to share my goods with those who are needy? (Prov. 31:20)
· Do I prepare ahead of time for my family's needs? (Prov. 31:21)
· Am I confident and dignified? (Prov. 31:25)
· Am I a wise and a good teacher? (Prov. 31:26)
· Do I willingly oversee the activities of my household? (Prov. 31:27)
· Have I earned the respect of my family? (Prov. 31:28)
· Do I fear the Lord? (Prov. 31:30)
Well, what was your contentment diagnosis? What are the areas that could stand some improvement? It is my prayer that you will allow contentment to be the primary entree item on your plate of emotion.
THE EVERYDAY HOMEMAKER’S MONTHLY MEDITATION THOUGHT
God has said, “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain you” (Psalm 55:22).
Therefore, I may boldly say, “Though I am incredibly busy I am continually sustained.”
[i] MacArthur, John. 1997. The MacArthur Study Bible. Nashville, TN: Word Publishing, 305.
[ii] Ibid, 743.