My daughter seems to have been born with a smile. Her happy-go-lucky spirit keeps those faint dimples on the side of her fair face forevermore present. Not all of us were born with such a disposition. Nonetheless, we can navigate our way to contentment.
Discontentment, if it is the right kind, can lead to Godly ambition and goal setting. What I am addressing here is the negative type of discontentment that can be a destructive force in our lives.
It can hinder our decision making process.
It can distort our perception of God, and people, and life.
It can cause us to destroy our relationships.
It can create financial difficulties.
It can lead us down paths of destruction.
The culprit of discontentment usually boils down to this: We experience it when the basis of our inner joy is our outer circumstances.
I’m no expert on being content. It’s a journey. But here are some things that God shows me along the way:
1. Make sure that your eternal future is secure if you haven’t yet done so. There is nothing more important in life! If you need help, please click on the key in the sidebar. There can be no true peace until you have that settled.
2. Take control of discontentment by taking responsibility for feeling it.
3. Understand that contentment is cultivated. The apostle Paul writes in Philippians 4:11 “for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
4. Don’t focus on your troubles; focus on Jesus and trust Him. (2 Cor. 10:5) Rather than zooming in on the present struggle, realize that He knows what He is doing. As a child of God, your future is bright. He plans for good to come from your difficulties, including building your spiritual growth and character.
5. Leave tomorrow in God’s capable hands. Future planning is practical; future fretting is pointless.
6. Follow and obey Him. There’s nothing like disobedience to rob us of our peace. Your job is to go where He leads, and do what He asks. He'll take care of the rest.
7. Walk closely with the Lord and lean on Him. There is an indescribable peace that comes from oneness with Him.
8. With thanksgiving, ask God to help you to be content. (Phil. 4:6) He will, but it won’t magically happen. We have to do our part which may include simply choosing contentment each day, rather than choosing dissatisfaction with our plight.
9. Don’t play the blame game. “It’s because of ol’ So and So,” or “If only I had such and such,” etc.
10. Refocus your mind from what you don’t have to what you do have. “Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith.” Prov. 15:16
11. Purge any attitudes of entitlement or comparisons: “But I deserve better than what I have,” or “Why am I without when they have?” Those kind of thought patterns multiply and can become destructive.
12. Don’t give up; give in. Be submissive to His will, which is where you will find great peace. The Apostle Paul’s infirmity was not removed even though he asked repeatedly. But, what God did do was give Paul the grace to endure it.
I leave you with this – a hymn written by blind Fanny Crosby when she was only eight: