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Learning to be Content

Are you tired of feeling unsatisfied? What would it be like to not worry about climbing the corporate ladder, buying that new car, or going on a spectacular vacation? What about not worrying about being pretty enough, smart enough, or worthy enough?

Learning to be content isn’t easy!

A content person is satisfied with what they have and doesn’t worry about such things. So how can we become liberated from worldly desires and bask in contentment; to trust that in Jesus we will always have what we need and that will be enough?

Learning to be Content - lady walking on beach

Contentment versus Happiness

Society makes us feel that happiness is the ultimate goal in life. Social media posts are filled with smiling faces and fairytale lives. We tell ourselves that everyone is happy, so I must be, too.

Even though we know social media is a facade, the lies that it tells us are very powerful and convincing. On the contentment versus happiness scale, we want happiness and we want it NOW!

The problem with happiness is it’s a very fickle emotion. With one bad hair day, happiness is flushed down the drain.

Contentment, on the other hand, allows us to be satisfied with what we already have. When we can begin to appreciate blessings in our lives, we don’t face the constant pressure for everything to be perfect so we can be “happy”.

If we can learn how to have contentment in life, happiness will come naturally and won’t be such a daily struggle.

Contentment in the Bible

Contentment in life has been a struggle of the human condition for a very long time. As soon as we get a taste of what “more is out there”, we want it.

The lessons for contentment in the Bible show us that the goal for our lives has always been contentment over happiness.

These four Bible verses about contentment will give you some food for thought on the power of contentment. Let them help you assess what priority you have put on contentment versus happiness.

1. Beware of love of money!

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
 “Never will I leave you;
 never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 NIV

2. Learn to be content with what you have

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Philippians 4:11 NIV

3. Align your life with God for contentment in life

The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble. Proverbs 19:23 NIV

4. God + Contentment leads to the most fulfilled life

But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6 NIV

Learning to be Content Life Lessons:

1. Adjust Your Perspective:

But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 1 Timothy 6:6-7 NIV

“You can’t take it with you,” the saying goes. We know this, but we like fancy cars, designer shoes, and fancy handbags.

There’s nothing wrong with owning nice things, but what is your intention of the things you buy?

 To flaunt it? To spite your ex? To make you feel good?

The next time you want something you don’t need, challenge yourself to being content with what you have. You have control over your perspective.

2. How much is enough?

Does a closet full of shoes and handbags make you feel content? Probably not. Things generally don’t satisfy us – at least not for long.

Think about your desire for more things. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll admit that having things doesn’t make you content – maybe it just makes you want even more.

Contentment is about not wanting. Contentment is not needing. Contentment is being fully satisfied with what you have.

Learning to be content requires you to change your thinking that having more “things” will lead to greater happiness.

3. The Challenge:

Challenge yourself to stop splurging and flip your habit. When you feel the urge to make a frivolous purchase, do something for someone instead. Donate the money you would have spent to a worthy cause or donate some of your never used items.

One of my favorite sayings is, “The best things in life are never ‘things’.”

Take a step back and take stock of your life. Using the perspective of an outsider, do you have enough?

Are you ignoring the blessings of family and friends and choosing to desire ‘things’ instead?

4. What about Wealth?

But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.  Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:8-10 NIV

We have a practical need of money to survive but we sometimes get trapped into feeling like we never have enough. How much money will you need to raise your family? To retire comfortably?

Can you draw the line between the pragmatic necessity of making enough money to live versus a compulsion to make more money?

Your relationship with money is a mindset that’s within your control to change.

5. Decide to be Content

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.   Philippians 4:11 NIV

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul taught us that contentment in life is a learned behavior. That means it’s in our control and we have the ability to change it if we aren’t currently content with what we have.

Find the blessings you currently have using these tried and true methods:

  • Make a list of everything you’re grateful to have.
  • List three blessings you experience each day.
  • Say a prayer for someone needy. Pick a different person each day.
  • List the people who have less than you do.

Don’t give up when you stumble. Reconditioning your mind and heart will be a work in progress. Decide to focus on contentment versus happiness and you will soon find it easier being content with what you have.

6. Turn your struggle over to God.

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.  Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.   1 Timothy 6:11-12 NIV

Open your mind and heart to God. You will find your greatest contentment in life with Him.

  1. First and foremost, thank God for everything you do have. Say it aloud. Say it often. Say it whenever you recognize the blessing, for example, you see the man in the wheelchair, thank God, then and there, for your ability to walk.
  2. Ask Jesus to help you accept your current circumstances. Talk to Him when you’re feeling dissatisfied as if He’s a friend standing beside you – because He is.
  3. Turning your life over to Jesus is a quick way to gain a perspective that leads to contentment – but, how do you do that?

Turn your LIFE over to Jesus

What does it mean to say YES to Jesus? You can read my suggestions on that HERE.

Put Jesus at the center of your life instead of yourself or even your children or spouse. You’ll be amazed that when you start living according to Jesus’ teaching, worldly goals become petty and meaningless.

If you don’t know how to live according to Jesus’ teaching, read one of the Gospels. You’ll find Jesus is literally speaking to you there.

Do you think a ‘contentment’ or gratitude journal will help you? These journals have plenty of very good ratings on Amazon. You might want to check them out.

Do you struggle to be content? What methods do you to overcome it? Let me know in the comments.

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