Wow. Not wanting more or anything else. How often can we say: "I'm content," or "I'm satisfied with who I am and what I have?"
There have been seasons of contentment in my life. Even now, I can say I'm content with some things, but not with others.
As a young woman, I longed to be married and begin my life. After I was married, I longed to be done with college (we married during our college years). After college, I longed to buy a house. After buying a house, I longed to have a baby. After having a set of twins, I longed for them to be older and more independent. Now that my children are growing older, I long to hold on to their childhoods.
As a writer, I longed to finish my first novel. After I finished it, I longed to have an agent. After finding an agent, I longed to have a contract. After signing a contract, I long to have more.
In each season, I seek to be content. Truly, I do. But it's not easy. What is easy is looking at other people and fighting envy and impatience.
Today, as I was scrolling through Facebook, I saw three new covers for three of my author friends. And, I'll admit, I had to fight envy. I'm thrilled beyond words that my friends are achieving their dreams, but a niggle of jealousy rose up in my heart and I had to turn off the computer before I let it blow up into a pity party.
I'm disgusted with this discontentment, because I've been blessed beyond measure. My cup runneth over. Above I stated all the things I longed for and God gave to me. Everything my heart has desired, He has granted.
So why the discontentment? Why the longing for more?
I think there is a two-part answer to my questions. First, we live in a fallen world, and we are a fallen people. Didn't Eve long to be like God? Wasn't that why she ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? Clearly, this was Lucifer's problem, as well. He wanted to be greater than God. He was the one who lured Eve into disobedience. Is it safe to say the enemy of our souls continues to whisper this desire into our hearts? The desire to be more and to have more? To strive and be envious and without peace? These feelings leave us weak and defenseless. A perfect target for the enemy to attack. I think this is a struggle for all humans, and it's yet another reason we need Christ.
I think the other part of this longing is deeper still, and speaks to our eternal longing. There is a part of our souls that long for the Court of the Lord. We long to see His face and to be cradled in His arms. We long for our eternal homes. And we long to be loved. I think sometimes our discontentment can be born of our longing for Christ, yet we so often try to fill the longing with temporal, earthly things.
Paul speaks to discontentment in the Book of Philippians, chapter 4, verses 12 and 13. "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.I can do all this through him who gives me strength." As I look at my discontentment, and I see others reaching milestones I long to reach, I recall a promise: I can do all this through him who gives me strength. This was Paul's secret to contentment. Christ is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Strength. All I need to remember is that I can do anything, including wait, when I lean on Him. He has perfect timing for everything and for everyone. I need not be discontent, because He is in complete control. When I trust Him, I don't feel envy, strife, or loss of peace. I am strong and no longer a target for the enemy. I am thankful for what He's already given me. If I've learned anything, it's that as soon as I gain something, I will start reaching and longing for something more. That's part of the human experience. We have goals, dreams, and ambitions. But I must rely on the One who brings everything to pass. Then, and only then, will I learn how to be content, whatever the situation. What about you? Do you struggle with discontent? Have you learned Paul's secret to being content, whatever the situation? What areas do you struggle with discontent? What areas of your life are you content?