If only I had a better paying job, I would feel better about my finances. If only my children would learn to listen more, I could be a better mom. And if only my spouse would pitch in more with the day-to-day chores, I would feel less overwhelmed. There are many reasons why some of us may be lacking contentment in our lives, but the truth is that most of them aren’t valid. We have a tendency to blame everything (or everyone) around us for the fact that we simply don’t have it.
But truth be told, a lack of contentment has nothing to do with the people around us or our circumstances.
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Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. – Philippians 4:11-12
Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5
But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. – 1 Timothy 6:6-8
As Christians, we should be content in every circumstance. Why? Because we have the Holy Spirit living within us. We have been born again into God’s family. And we are seated in heavenly places with Christ. In light of these truths, nothing else should matter enough to steal our joy and contentment.
“But Alyssa, you don’t understand my circumstances…” I may not personally understand what you may be going through at the moment, but God does. And His supernatural strength, joy, and peace are in you as well. No one understood this better than Paul. He suffered unimaginable trials. Yet through it all, he was content. For him, to live was Christ and to die was gain. And that’s all he needed.
Here are three reasons you may be lacking contentment in your life:
- You’ve allowed resentment and bitterness to grow in your heart. Weeds are often difficult to uproot. And if you don’t completely remove them, they have a tendency to grow back even stronger. Resentment and bitterness are two of the worst kinds of weeds where your heart is concerned. Without realizing, we begin to grow bitter towards the people in our lives that challenge us or make our lives more difficult. We wish they could change so that we could find peace in some way. But the truth is that other people can’t steal your contentment. They have no power over your heart, your mind, or your emotions.
- Your priorities aren’t where they should be. Priorities are a funny thing. I can say that I value my relationship with God first and foremost and that my family comes before work, but my actions reveal the truth about where my priorities lie. When I’m lacking contentment in my own personal life, I usually find that my priorities are all out of whack. I’m focusing too much of my energy and attention on things that don’t matter much in the end. And because they don’t matter as much, I’m finding very little joy in what I’m doing.
- You’re looking for peace and contentment in all the wrong places. We all do it. We look for contentment in our marriage, our families, our careers, our health, etc. And while we may find moments of joy in these areas of our lives, true contentment, the kind that lasts even when things get hard, comes from God alone. Jesus told us to seek first His kingdom and then “all these things” will be added to you. God wants us to find joy in this life… to enjoy our time here and all of the amazing things He has blessed us with. But the only way to be truly content is to find our peace in Him alone. Everything else will then fall into place. And when trials come? Our peace is steady. Because when our families are shaken, our jobs are shaken, or our marriages are shaken… God is NEVER shaken.
If you are lacking contentment in your life, take a look at where you are striving to find it. Because in the end, true contentment comes from God alone.
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.