Contentment is not out of reach because Christ is not out of reach.
If you are anything like me, contentment is a state of being that always seems to be a few inches out of your grasp. Contentment for me feels like it lies right on the other side of my next career advancement or life stage. Even during seasons that are relatively normal, something inside of me looks at what God has given to me and, without fail, says “this is not enough, I want more.” It always feels like contentment is out of reach where I am right now, but if I just work a little harder, exert myself a little more, and accomplish one more goal, then I will finally reach that elusive state of being.
If this is true in normal times, how much stronger is our discontentment in a season like this? In this season, where decisions made by others have an even more pronounced impact on our lives and we are hearing the words “sorry, no” more than ever before, the temptation toward discontentment may be as strong as you have ever felt it.
In his devotional book, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, Puritan author Jeremiah Burroughs defines Christian contentment as “that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.” Imagine how it would feel to look at what God has given to you and, instead of thinking “this is not enough, I want more,” to think “this is exactly what God intends for me to have in this moment and I’m thankful for it.” That kind of contentment is reminiscent of Paul’s words in Philippians 4:11 when he writes: For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. Philippians is a letter of joy written to a downhearted people. Paul wrote this letter of joy from a jail cell, absolutely content with what God had given to him.
Paul was able to be content even in the most challenging of situations, and yet even this apostle needed to learn how to be content. If Paul needed to learn how to be content, it only makes sense that we ourselves also need to learn to be content. My encouragement for you is to remember that learning to be content is not out of your reach because Christ is not out of your reach.
Contentment is accessible right where you are, even at home, because Jesus is present with you right where you are. Jesus is not waiting for you to get a promotion before he loves you. He is not waiting for you to enter the next stage of life before he begins seeking your good. He isn’t even waiting for you to clean yourself up of all your selfish ambition and desire. He loves you right where you are, in the midst of your discontentment and imperfection. Draw near to Jesus, share the desires of your heart with him, and he will draw near to you. Jesus is the one who can make us truly content, even more than the right career or life stage.
My prayer for you and for me is that we would see God’s provision in our lives for what it really is – wise, fatherly, and ultimately for our good and His glory.