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This is lesson 1 of 5 in the Calm My Anxious Heart series. This lesson has been adapted from chapter 1 of Linda Dillow’s Calm My Anxious Heart novel.

Have you ever met a person who has the most amazing life yet still finds reason to be unsatisfied? On the other hand, you’ve meet someone, who by the world’s standards doesn’t have much, but they are the most content person you’ve ever met. Why does this happen? It’s all about perspective-the way we choose to see life.

In the book, Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow, the author challenges us to move beyond a life full of fear and anxiousness to a place of true happiness and contentment. The key is trusting in God and his perspective above our own.

Contentment is a state of peace separate from our circumstances

J.I. Packer says, “Contentment is essentially a matter of accepting from God’s hand what He sends because we know that He is good and therefore it is good.” Being content doesn’t mean all is well in our lives. Being content starts with understanding who God is and trusting his plan for us. It’s releasing the controls of our lives and trusting that God knows what’s best..

Philippians 4:12 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.  I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.

[Related Series: Search for Significance]

The key to contentment is in our perspective

Perspective is all about the way we see the world. We get to choose which perspective to have-our own or God’s. Choosing our own perspective limits us greatly. We can only process what has happened and what is happening. But God’s perspective is limitless. He sees past, present and future. He knows the whole story from beginning to end so his perspective is more comprehensive and therefore more valuable to us.

The way to God’s perspective is through his Word. As we read it, we learn his heart and his purpose for us. We learn that we can be content in times of trial because God promises to be with us, to strengthen us, and shape us through every situation. It’s like a good cup of tea.  The tea bag enters the water and infuses or fills the water with its herbal enhancements. The longer it’s in there, the stronger the tea. The same is true with God’s word at work in our lives. The more we read God’s word, and apply it to our lives, the more our lives will be filled with God’s perspective. And, the more we understand his perspective, the more content we will become.

[Related Series: Handling Tough Emotions]

Discussion Questions:

  1. Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
  2. Share about a person in your life who seems to have it all yet never seems satisfied. Why do you think they struggle to be satisfied?
  3. Do you know someone who doesn’t have much yet seems at peace with their life? To what would they attribute their peace and happiness?
  4. Think about the definition of contentment. Have you ever experienced a time when you were scared but had a peace about the situation? Explain.
  5. J.I Packer says that we can trust God because he is good. Do you believe that? Explain.
  6. Read Philippians 4:12. What do you think Paul’s secret to contentment was? How does perspective change our outlook on life?
  7. Why can we learn more from the harder things in life than from the good things? How has God used a challenge in your life to strengthen you?
  8. Read 2 Timothy 3:16. How does God’s word help us? How can understanding God’s character help to shape your perspective on the harder things in life?
  9. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.

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