Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content
It was a beautiful day! I had just finished my quiet time and was feeling so blessed…with a wonderful husband, awesome kids and grandkids, a comfortable home, great friends and a loving church family.
Then it happened…I was surrounded. As I sat down to check recent Facebook posts, the attacks came at me from all directions…a Facebook post about someone’s new home, a story about a friend’s promotion, ads for things that I couldn’t live without, and a picture of a friend’s perfect family! The Great Distraction –discontentment – had struck again!
We’ve all been there.
- If we’re young, we want to be older. If we’re old, we wish we were younger.
- If it’s old, we want something new.
- If it’s small, we want something bigger.
- If we have a hundred dollars, we want two hundred.
- If we have an apartment, we want a condo. If we have a house, we want a bigger house. Or a newer house. Or a nicer house. Or maybe we want to scale down and live in an apartment again.
- If we have a job, we dream of a better job, a bigger job, a closer job, a bigger office, a better boss.
- If we’re single, we dream of being married. If we’re married … (you can finish that sentence yourself.)
- If we have kids we dream of…
A certain amount of discontentment can be good for our souls. The hope of something better drives us forward and keeps us working, inventing, striving, creating and innovating. But there is another type of discontentment that propels us in the wrong direction.
Identifying the causes of discontentment is one of the first steps in overcoming it.
- Unrealistic expectations – In our minds we have thoughts and ideas about how things should be, how people should behave, and how our life should be. These are just ideas…they are not truth. When there is a gap between our expectations and our reality, discontentment sets in.
- Comparing ourselves to others – When we compare ourselves to others we are comparing our inside to their outside. We may never know the issues another person is dealing with on the inside…all we see is their perfect outside.
- Attempting to live up to the expectations of others – Accepting others’ expectations or standards for our success never works out well. It leaves us feeling like no matter what we do it will never be good enough.
In reality, discontentment is a spiritual problem.
- Discontentment is a mistrusting of God – We don’t really believe that we are who He says we are, what He says He has done for us or will do for us, or that He will work all things for our good. (Romans 8:28)
- Discontentment exhibits a desire to be sovereign…or in control. Like Adam and Eve, (who lived in paradise and had it all) we desire to be like God and control our own destiny.
- Discontentment covets something God has not been pleased to give us. He gave us His Son – can we not trust Him for the trivial things? (Romans 8:32)
God wants us to be victorious over our discontentment. So, let’s consider some steps we can take to become overcomers.
- Acknowledge that we are where we are by God’s assignment. 1 Corinthians 7:17 says, “Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him”. God has given each of us a job to do. He has gifted each of us in a certain way and has assigned us a particular place in life. The issue is not circumstances. We should serve God where we are until He clearly calls us elsewhere.
- Focus on Gratitude. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. Thankfulness is a state of mind, not an accumulation of assets. We will never achieve contentment until we are truly thankful for God’s provision…in all circumstances.
- Reject a fearful spirit. 2 Timothy 1:7 reminds us, “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of self-control”. One of the most effective tools used by Satan against Christians is the question, “What if?” Christians get trapped into hoarding because they fear the “What if?” of retirement, disability, unemployment, economic collapse, and so on.
- Remember that we are visitors on earth…not permanent residents. Hebrews 13:14 says, “For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come “. We should not be preoccupied with things that don’t matter… trying to hang on to things of the world. Corrie Tin Boone said, “Don’t hold on too tightly to the things God has given you or it may hurt when He has to pry them out of your hands”.
- Our bank books are His,
- Our investments are His,
- Our calendar is His,
- Our home is His,
- Our family is His,
- Our marriage is His,
- Our children are His,
- Our future is His.
Contentment seems illusive to many of us. We feel as if we will never be able to find peace. However, contentment is not something that we must search for until we find it. Contentment is an attitude of the heart. Once we alter our attitude and give it to God, contentment will flood our souls and we will no longer be distracted by the things of this world.
Truth to Claim: God wants us to find contentment in Him.
Practical Application: Ask God to show you those things that rob you of contentment and commit to giving them to Him.
Solo Deo Gloria