The Heart of Contentment: Finding Contentment in Everyday Life
If we are being real, contentment is something that I’ve always struggled with. When I was going through high school, I would remember hating my small town, wishing I was in a more exciting and upwardly mobile city. I was so excited to move away and start college life. When I finally made it to college, during my last couple years at Howard, I was so ready to be a career woman living life on my own in a nice apartment. I always thought that my striving was because of my goal-oriented spirit, but little did I know that I was disguising my discontentment as ambition.
My striving for more wasn’t solely because I wanted to better myself. It came from an unknown source of scarcity and lack, and that same source of discontentment subtly seeped into other areas of my life as well. I found myself being lured by the life of bloggers and YouTubers. There was no logical reason why I found myself waiting for a MAC lipstick to launch just so I could have the one that my favorite YouTuber recommended. It also made no sense why I could watch engagement videos and then all of a sudden justify all the reasons why I should be engaged too. The smallest acts of comparison led to unchecked feelings, which planted seeds of insecurity and envy, and those seeds sprouted into discontentment.
Comparison breeds discontentment
Discontentment is birthed out of a place of comparison. It is experienced once you’ve compared your life/circumstances to another person or past situation, or even a future dream. It makes you realize your shortcomings and disappointments, and it highlights what you lack. Why? Because those situations, people, and things were never meant to bring you satisfaction in the first place.
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In Philippians 4, Paul described his source of contentment - Christ. Paul had every right to be discontent. He was in prison, wrongfully being persecuted for his faith in Christ, but yet he was still encouraging the Philippians. Although he had every reason to be depressed, discouraged, and discontent, he remained unbothered because he had mastered the heart of contentment.
I’m sure that Paul wasn’t thrilled about his situation. I’m sure that he didn’t care to be where he was in life, and I’m sure he would’ve liked to have more, but he was satisfied with his portion. Paul didn’t look for contentment in his situation. He didn’t look for contentment in the world; he looked for contentment in Christ.
The dangers of discontentment
We must be careful where we pull our contentment from. When we look to our money, possessions, people, and situations for contentment, we risk the danger of making these things our altar; making these things our gods; and can I tell you, my friend? That’s a dangerous place to be.
Money, people, and possessions will never fill your void, and life won’t always go as planned. These things cannot and will not provide you with peace, joy, or the answers you need to live a purposeful life. Possessions aren’t meant to satisfy your thirst. Situations aren’t meant to provide peace. Money isn’t meant to determine your wealth. Your contentment and all those other things are found in Christ.
So how can we become content?
1) Cleanse yourself from comparison.
We all know that comparison is the thief of all joy. It’s nearly impossible to be joyful and content when you are constantly comparing your life to something or someone else. When I find myself caving into comparison, I turn to Galatians 6:4:
“Pay careful attention to your own work for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else”
2) Create a posture of humility.
Contentment isn’t found in possessions, accolades, or rewards. It’s found in the process of humbling yourself before God. 1 Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that at the proper time he may exalt you.” If you’re praying to God for more or for Him to enlarge your territory, the best way that you can show him that you’re content and ready for promotion is to humble yourself before Him.
3) Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
Humility is the foundation of a thankful heart, and a thankful heart can be cultivated by showing gratitude toward what God has already given you. Gratitude is practiced by exchanging scarcity for abundance. It’s about realizing that you may not have everything you want, but you have everything you need through Christ, and that’s enough.
4) Rest in God’s Provision.
Because God is Jehovah Jireh, our provider, you can rest assured that all of your needs will be met. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:19 that God will take care of all of our needs from His riches and glory, and we know that if we seek Him first, He will give us everything we need (Matthew 6:35). If you’re struggling with contentment, ask yourself if you truly trust in His provision.
5) Seek satisfaction and strength in Christ.
At the end of the day, this world is fading away, and all of the people and things are fading away with it (Matthew 6:19-21), but the one thing about God’s Word is that it remains the same. It’s consistent. When people and situations fail us, and when the novelty of money and new pleasures wear off, we can put our hope and faith in the thoroughness and consistency of Christ. He is where we get our satisfaction and strength.
I’ve realized over time that the best place we can be is where we are right now. Don’t spend your life wishing it away. More money equals more problems; each new season has its own set of trials; and of course, with new levels there are new devils. Although we may not be where we want to be or have everything that we would like to have, the best thing we can do is embrace the heart of contentment and find it in everyday life right now.
I’ve created a free scripture guide to use when comparison and discontentment get the best of you. Click the button below to download your free scripture guide. (Please Note: This scripture guide is available in the Resource Closet for Fearfully Fashioned subscribers. Please log-in to download).
What were your takeaways from this post? Let me know in the comments below!