I was praying using my Spiritual Circle Journal. I had told the Lord about my dissatisfaction with my appearance, my kids’ behavior, and the progress I had made (or really had not made) on the language arts curriculum I’m writing. I waited to hear the action steps He would give me for fixing these problems.
Instead, He said:
The real problem is you aren’t content. I think you wrote about that.
I was surprised by that answer. I found the series of blog posts I had written on contentment (you’ll find them at the bottom of this post) and was convicted. But I wanted more than what I had written. The Apostle Paul said that he had learned the secret of contentment, regardless of circumstances. But what was that secret? I was on a mission to discover it and I wanted to share it with you.
Why Contentment Matters
1 Timothy 6:6 says that godliness with contentment is great gain. It is an amazing blessing to be content and miserable to be discontent. Proverbs 19:23 tells us that when we rest content, we are untouched by trouble. That doesn’t mean that we won’t HAVE trouble. We know we will. Jesus says that’s a given. But Proverbs says that our trouble can’t have its way with us. We will be at peace despite our circumstances if we are content. If I’ve sold you on the value of contentment, read on.
The Secret of Contentment
1. Receive Christ
In Philippians 4:13, Paul tells us that he can do all things (including being content) through him. If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit working in your life, it will be difficult–if not impossible–for you to have contentment.
2. Surround Yourself With Contented People
In verse 14 of Philippians, Paul goes on to tell us that despite the power of God enabling him, he is comforted by the encouragement of other believers. If you spend most of your time with people who are never satisfied, how will you be content? But when you share your burdens with contented believers, they will remind you of the promises of God and your contentment will grow.
3. Focus on What You Know
In Psalm 131:1 the psalmist tells us that he doesn’t concern himself with great matters or things too wonderful for him. We can become discontent when we want to know the answers to difficult questions like, “Why did God let this happen?” or worrying about the future. We KNOW that God is good and He loves us. Focusing on that truth gives us contentment.
4. Get Out of Situations That Make You Discontent
The psalmist continues in 131:2 to say he that he has calmed and quieted himself like a weaned child with its mother. As a mom, I know that when my baby is fussing, the best thing I can do for her is get her out of the situation. She needs to get away from the noise. I was watching a lot of home remodeling shows and found myself being discontent with my house. Suddenly, everything seemed so 80s! I have stopped watching those shows to quiet myself.
5. Fear the Lord
Truly the only thing we have to fear is God, because He is in control of our lives. Even if He permits something into our lives that we don’t want, we can be confident that He will give us His grace to endure. He will use it for our good and His glory. That truth fosters contentment. (See Proverbs 19:23)
6. Rejoice in Your Relationship with God
He is our portion, better and more satisfying than anything we are pining away for. He will never leave us or forsake us. Hebrews 13:5 tells us that this truth is what makes us content. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us that continually rejoicing, praying, and thanking God is the antidote to discontentment. Our blessings can be like the bucket of popcorn at the movies that we mindlessly consume. The 5 Minute Journaling app has been helpful to me in focusing on my blessings. I have copied and pasted these contentment Scriptures to pray through on my Pocket Prayer app on my phone.
Do you have any other suggestions for fostering contentment in your life? Comment or tell me about them on Facebook.