I remember vividly the emotions in my heart when I had to work on Valentine’s Day…single. It seemed like the worst day to work. I was eighteen and longing to be in a relationship. I’d never gone out on a date and had some disappointing and hurtful experiences with guys. To have to work that night and watch all of the couples have fun together–paired off, infatuated–felt unfair.
Why am I still single?
When will I be pursued by a guy?
Will I ever experience a relationship?!
Sadly, I chose to be discontent and bitter that night.
Maybe you’ve felt the same way about being single, or not being able to afford your dream college, not having the newest technology, or wishing you were skilled in a certain way.
We think that if only we had a significant other, an ivy-league education, a new iPhone, or incredible artistic talents, then we’d be happy.
Is that really true though?
the deception of discontentment
Discontentment seeps into our lives in subtle ways at first. We start comparing ourselves to others or even our own expectations. The desire turns into a want which, in our minds, turns into a need–but really, it isn’t.
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:19
Jesus is all we need–and more than we deserve. We don’t “need” anything aside from Christ to forgive our sins, save us from the consequence of our rebellion, and give access to our heavenly Father. There are so many incredible benefits from that supernatural gift. The shadow of the cross and the joy found in Christ alone gives us perspective.
So saying that we “need” a boyfriend or an iPad Pro to be happy isn’t true. That may be a duh, but if you really think about it, that’s what we start saying by our thoughts and emotions. We put so much energy into hoping for and obsessing over something or someone who can never fulfill us.
We become discontent over things that can’t even make us content.
When we realize that ULTIMATE joy and fulfillment is only in championing Christ, we can rest assured that even though we still may desire certain things, we have everything we need.
So how do we battle those very real longings with truth? How can we practically cultivate contentment until it’s a habit?
the daily decision
I used to think of contentment as more of a status. That you’re discontent one moment, but then eventually after fighting it over and over again, you stay content, for the most part.
I’ve found myself getting frustrated because I can’t seem to stay content, that I can’t seem to “get there.” When will I ever?
But contentment is something we fight for every day. It’s less of a goal to achieve and more of a choice.
Daily we have to choose what or who we put our value in. Many days, often several times a day, I have to choose what I believe and trust to be true:
Do I believe that I’ll only be happy when I get into a relationship, or do I believe that Jesus is enough for me?
Do I believe that I will be happy if I never get married? Do I believe that Jesus is enough for me?
The answer is a resounding YES.
Contentment isn’t a kinda-sorta emotion. It’s a negative or affirmative choice. Contentment and discontentment are decisions–we’ll choose one or we’ll choose the other.
so, what’s it gonna be?
In John 6, Jesus said that “whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (v. 35).
If we chase after achievements or relationships or feelings or possessions, we’ll always want more. Discontentment is fed by idols. Contentment is fed and satisfied completely in Christ alone.
So what are you going to choose today?
I’d love to hear from you! Comment below if you’d like to share:
- What verses have helped you realign your heart to remember that Jesus is totally satisfying?
- What has God taught you through unfulfilled longings and disappointment?
One thought on “Contentment is a Choice”
I have to whisper to myself, “Jesus is better.” Jesus is better than a canceled mission trip, an unusual school year, and all the things I can’t control.
I’ve had to learn that God’s plan is better, even if it doesn’t feel that way right away. God has been teaching me a lot this year, more than I would have learned on the mission trip, and I’m thankful for that.
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