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I Have Learned...

better living faith leadership marriage mental health parenting personal development professional development Nov 05, 2022
hardships, contentment

7 minute read
By Bethany Rees

It seems most of my friends, family, students, and clients are going through a hard time at work where they feel more stressed out than ever. They feel overworked, underappreciated, and like "they just can't even..." And to be honest they're drinking more "on the rocks" than normal. 

Like them, are you going through a hard experience right now?

Do you feel like you're working or living in an environment or having an experience that is sucking your soul dry? 

Call it a season or a rite of passage, but every single human being will have their moment in the "sun" where the scorching rays of stress have them questioning their job, their career, their relationships, and even themselves. 

And when we experience these times or seasons, we all tend to want relief. But might I suggest that it’s not relief your soul really longs for…your soul really longs for contentment: peace and satisfaction no matter the circumstance. 

So how does one find contentment? Read on my friend. Read on!

No matter the season, environment or situation you're currently in, remember that you always have a choice in how you react or respond.

If you can let your imagination wander free for a few minutes I would like to describe how many of you may be feeling when it comes to the stress of your work or life by using an extended metaphor.  

You are a grape.

The sweet fruit produced from the vine of creation. As you grow on the vine you obtain the juices of knowledge that fill your head and skin of who you are and the world around you. 

But at some point, you are picked from the vine; picked or hired from the cluster for a reason. So you take with you all the knowledge you have and go forth. 

But since you are no longer attached to the vine, you are experiencing a new environment that doesn’t sustain you, and this is stressing you out. 

You quickly begin to feel overwhelmed and unsure, and before long you begin to feel the heat. You feel the sun with its expectations bearing down on you, but this time you don’t have the vine to resupply the sweat equity you are pouring out. 

And it’s here in the scorched sun moments that you decide between your options: 

First you can choose to compare your job, relationship, or life now with 1) what you expected, 2) what you’ve known in the past, or 3) what other people have. 

But by living in this constant state of comparison you give into the heat. And by giving into the heat you begin to dehydrate, all the fleshly knowledge and joy of life you had begins to shrivel up. Before you know it, you’ve turned into a dried out raisin… destined to be a short term snack.


You take a second option as a plucked grape and you choose to allow the new environment to push against you. Squeezing you so that the little bit of fleshly knowledge and joy you have flows out of you to turn into the juice of insights and understanding. 

Juicy insights you now have that are now able to adjust to any environment because they know how to take the shape of the container (environment/relationship) you find yourself in.

But it’s here where you have a third choice.

A choice to continue on your journey of purpose.

Should you allow your sweet juice of insights to experience a complete breakdown of yourself (pride, selfishness, unbelief), through time you will find that your fermented yet Godly blessed experiences have transformed you into a fine wine of wisdom. 

You become a fine wine pouring out wisdom. You become the very thing that refreshes and enriches the environment in which it is served. 

Like in the grape metaphor, your environment, job, relationship, etc will expose you to the feeling of being stressed or being parched (dried out and cut off from your supply of nourishment in identity, purpose, confidence, peace, etc). 

But remember, you are not a victim. You have a choice in how you will respond to this stressful environment.

You can compare your experience with what you used to know or see other people living and dehydrate yourself so much with jealousy and cynicism that you shrivel into a raisin, in which people can now only stand for a short time. 

You can allow your grape of a self to be squeezed and juiced by your environment to develop insights or newer levels of understanding that can be applied to multiple situations. 

Or upon having insights squeezed from you, you can then allow those insights to continue to be humbly broken down and fermented. Allowing each new experience to break down your pride and unbelief to remake you into a fine bottle of wine that pours out humility and wisdom. 

When each of us finds ourselves in an environment that is leaving us feeling parched and begging for relief, each of us comes to a point where we decide our next move. 

 So what is the secret to finding contentment in any parching, squeezing, or crushing situation?

There is no secret.

Contentment is something to be learned:

To continue to learn the lesson of humility and faith being taught in each hard situation you experience. Because there is always a lesson of humility and faith being taught by God if you are only willing to learn it. 

Contentment is a state of mind that you have learned to have no matter the situation or environment you are in. 

To find contentment in leadership and in life is to have learned what it means to be brought low, and to have learned to know how to abound. 

In any and every circumstance,  to have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 

To have learned the secret to contentment, you must have learned that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. 

Christ, who refines you. Who remakes you. Who restores you. Who helps you build your life on the rocks so that you may become wise.

So remember that as you face any kind of trials (trials at work, trials in your marriage, or trials in your parenting) don’t  become so chained by the comparison of “the way it should look and feel” that all joy in life is shriveled up. 

Yes, your job may be stressful. Yes people cause conflicts.  Yes you didn’t marry the perfect spouse. Yes you aren’t raising perfect kids. BUT, there is much wisdom, joy, and contentment to be found among the imperfections of life if only you are willing to learn. So don’t rob yourself of the beautiful lessons learned.

Instead have confidence in knowing that you are imperfect yet wonderfully made. And that all contentment and peace that passes understanding comes from having learned to depend on God alone. There is joy to be found in the humbling lessons learned from the environments and experiences that squeeze, crush, and remake you. 

So see the good. Keep taking steps of progress and when you fall or fail…get up, learn the lesson and keep going. Keep moving forward. Be present. Be grateful.

And as you are being poured out in humble service to others, be able to pour your wisdom out by being able to say “I have learned…”

If you’d like to hear more about the finding contentment, especially in leadership listen to episode #27 on the Leadership on the Rocks podcast. 


Know Better. Do Better. Live Better. Learn to Be Content.

Rocks before Sand!


“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

~Philippians 4:11-13

Theme Song: 

It Is Well With My Soul - Chris Rice

References Used:

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