I’ve always had a hard time with that word. Gratitude and gratefulness, no. But contentment…I don’t know why but that word seems to invade my comfort zone.
Perhaps it’s because I am a go-getter. I’m a natural born leader and a Type-A perfectionist who likes to think ahead and plan for the future. Contentment seems to get in the way of my wants and needs while challenging my goals, expectations and priorities. I feel like I am always striving for more and working towards (or looking forward to) the next thing, as if what I have or what I achieve is not enough to satisfy or settle this ongoing desire within me.
I know contentment stems from gratitude, which I have no problem seeking and accepting (hence, the mission of this blog). Still, contentment is a continuous battle for me and it bothers me more than I let on.
It bothers me because the world we live in is filled with lots of “more.” More possessions, more promotions, more opportunities, more to-dos, more money, more___ … more, more, MORE!
“More” lurks around every corner, whispers in our ears, vies for our attention and hides in unexpected places. It doesn’t help that the fast-paced world we live in thrives on the “more” mentality and proudly supports a “more” lifestyle. If we don’t buy what the world is selling then surely we are missing out on ___ and/or falling behind.
It’s that whole “the grass is always greener on the other side” lie or the “keeping up with the Joneses” trap we willingly fall or unknowingly stumble into.
The thing is, it takes a lot of work to attempt to keep that grass green and pristine. Work that no one person could ever humanly accomplish on their own unless they dedicated their entire life to that darn grass. In which case, they would miss out on enjoying everything that is on the other side and perhaps, everything that is already right in front of them.
And those Joneses? The world forgets to disclose that attempting to keep up with them means you will share in cleaning up their messes. In other words, comparison, greed, and envy of more than what you currently have been gifted means you will likely inherit the junk buried beneath the surface. Because everyone has junk. Some people are just better at hiding it or pretending it doesn’t exist.
So yes, all of these reasons trigger my issue with accepting contentment because I allow myself to imagine the “what ifs” and dream up the “if only” scenarios in my life. It’s a slippery slope I’ve fallen down time and time again. In recent days, God has been dragging me back up the hill to show me that the content of my life will lead me to discover true contentment, if only I can remove the filtered lens of worldly perfection and instead choose to adapt God’s lens of spiritual contentment.
The thing is, we will never be fully fulfilled in this life because every person who was born into this broken world possesses a God-shaped hole in his or her soul. That hole can only be made whole when we are reunited with our Maker in eternity. Until then, we will always crave “more” unless we choose to patch the hole in our heart with godly contentment.
Pure contentment is not easy to find, adapt or come by but is possible when you silence the noise of the world, remove the filters that disguise the world as perfect, and tune into God’s goodness. God’s goodness reveals the gift of godliness. Godliness opens our eyes to recognize the content of our life, which was gifted to us to bring us contentment. It’s like nutrition for our soul and it fills us up when we acknowledge and are grateful for the many blessings we have been given. But sometimes it’s hard to see what’s right in front of us when we’re looking at what’s to come or comparing ourselves to what’s next to us. Or when the world is swiftly passing by or blurring our vision with filtered views of perfection.
But we must remember, the “more” of the world is like junk food that rots our bodies while leaving us hungry. It is easy, cheap and accessible but it will leave you feeling empty inside.
The “more” God offers has conquered the world and defeated death. God’s “more” is named Jesus and living a life for Him will lead us towards the “more” we were made to discover.
A more that is not of the world but rather is out of the world.
More than anything this world could ever offer.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, andwe can take nothing out.” ~ 1 Timothy 6:6-7 (NLT)
“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. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” ~ Phillippians 4:12-13 (NLT)