Something we search for our entire lives, and many never find, is so simple: contentment. Not happiness, although many mistake the two for being the same. I know that I searched without success for that elusive “happiness” for years. Oh, there are moments of pure joy, and events that give us a momentarily taste of happiness, but it always fades. As it does, we are faced with a choice. Can we hold on to the contentment and be satisfied with it, or do we immediately go on the search for another jolt of “happiness,” akin to those adrenaline junkies we see going to extremes for that momentary, transient feeling? Addicts, especially, are at risk. Searching for the next high…. and it can come from alcohol, illegal drugs and prescription drugs, sex or food… even something as innocuous as shopping. It takes more and more to reach that fleeting feeling, until it spirals out of control for so many. Yet we continue.
My conclusion, at least for me, is to simplify. Simplify my desires. Sure, it would be fun to have a huge house were all of my family and friends could gather together, but the truth is that I would be content in a little cottage with a vegetable garden for a backyard (with a tiny pool, of course!) and flowers filling the front; close to people I care about. All that’s a pipe dream, because it would be entirely too small for my partner, and I care too much to abandon him. My other dream is be to have a bigger place, where my mother could come to live with me. Just dreams at this point in my life. The point is that I can spend my time searching and dreaming of these things, and make myself miserable because they aren’t possible, or I can open my eyes to what I have and choose to be content.
Honestly, at times I validate from contentment to disillusionment. By now in my life, according to some standards, my house should be paid off or close to being paid off, and I should be retired with a decent retirement. Neither are even close to being true, except that I am unemployed, though not by choice. Because of circumstances, I could choose to be bitter and discontented, but what would that do, other than make me and those around me miserable? Contentment is definitely a choice, one that I don’t always choose. Sometimes I want that fleeting happiness so badly that I succeed in making myself feel wretched, and where is the benefit in that? It can be a tremendous effort, at times, to choose contentment over the disgruntled, angry, depressed feelings the enemy wants us to be.
We can be as Joshua and Timothy say: “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (http://bible.com/116/jos.1.9.NLT)
“Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.” And we can also make this choice: “But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.” 1 Timothy 6:6-9 (http://bible.com/116/1ti.6.6-9.NLT)
It is through the Grace of our LORD Jesus Christ that we are able to choose, and find, contentment. Working to support yourself and your family is not wrong, in fact, it is what we are supposed to do. It’s that search, that longing, for more and more, bigger and better, that can destroy our contentment, and even our lives. Think about it. Where do you find yourself? My prayer is that you find contentment with Christ.