But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. – I Timothy 6: 6-9 ESV
In a recent conversation with a sister in Christ, the discussion of wanting more out of everyday life came up. She expressed her desires for more adventure and a closer walk with God. She described a vision of her life being filled with missionary trips, extended prayer time and a family life that glistened the glory of God. It was so exciting listening to her share the vision she had for her family. All the desires she expressed were good healthy goals. Yet even in her desire for good, she acknowledged this lingering blister of discontentment. In her honesty, my friend even went as far as to say that sometimes the occasional strife she experienced within her life and her walk with God was due to her discontentment. I must admit, our conversation made me slightly uncomfortable but I knew she was on to something.
Our conversation made me do some self-reflecting. What happens when our good desires cause discontentment in our lives? I’ve had times where I could not experience happiness where I was. I spent so many years striving to get to a better place. I always felt less than worthy or like I was missing out on something bigger. Sometimes I simply felt like I wasn’t living up to my calling. I knew God had gifted me to help others and to be impactful but it was like I could never get to that “place”. I’ve spent many nights wondering when would it be my time to arrive. The internal conflict inside sent me down a path of discontentment and eventually depression. The more I fought to get to the place I want to be, the deeper I would sink into depression.
Maybe you want more money? A better job? Healthier Relationships? To start your own business? The way that you get the most out of life and reach those goals is through contentment. If you want to reach your God-given goals – be content. If you want to take your relationship to a new level – be content. Want to live the life of your dreams – be content. This idea of being content is completely counter-intuitive to what we have been taught to do. We live in a society that thrives off the flexibility to have, do, and conquer what we want whenever we want. You know the motto: Vendi, Vidi, Vici. The problem is this mindset places us in a perpetual cycle of always feeling the need to conquer something. But society’s way of doing things should not be our standard for godly living. This is the first part of the shattering discontent.
If you and I are going to step out of “being stuck”, find contentment and leave our stamp on this earth, we are not going to be able to use the world’s measure of happiness. Happiness is a byproduct of contentment. Contentment is not found in a box or even a bank account but rather contentment is found in being able to take an inventory of your life (yep the good and the bad) and seeing God’s beauty in it all. Contentment is assessing your life from the lens of appreciative humility. We can sit in the lap of contentment when we acknowledge all of the good and bad occurrences in our life yet praise God for every experience. Conversely, we will live in discontentment when we view life from the angle of lack. When we become so focused on what we don’t have compared to the lifestyle of others, we cultivate our hearts to become a breeding ground for discontentment. And trust me, discontentment is easy to find.
While it is perfectly fine to have godly desires, it is our perspective that turns healthy longings into discontent, jealousy, and idolatry. Sister, remember before David was ever king he was a shepherd. Before the disciples were ever sent out among the nations to establish the church, most were simple businessmen just trying to feed their families and before Jesus, ever took His place as our Savior on the cross, he was the son of a carpenter who probably had to help put together a table or two. With that being said, do not take for granted the great fruit that you have produced exactly where you are. While the trajectory of our futures lies within the caliber of our contentment, it is our ability to live in appreciation of today that creates that trajectory. Our lives are a reflection of the ongoing decisions we make to live content with Christ or to live in the bitter cruelty of deception called discontentment. So, live well, embrace and appreciate every aspect of your life.