Many people seemingly have little or no regard for material possessions. While the rest of us are driven by four words, bigger, better, faster, and more. These words drive our lives, our schedules, our relationships, and even our souls. Those words also define and shape the world that many of us live in.
Behind this fast-paced lifestyle is an unconscious belief system that we can do it all, be it all, and have it all. In the workplace, schools, and in our homes, we’re always feeling pushed to be everything, do everything and have everything. As a result, we live in a continual state of fatigue and depleted relationships. I’m a goal-oriented person I always have my eye on a goal, whether it’s writing a book, exercising daily, improving my blog, waking early, losing weight, or one of a dozen other goals I’ve set for myself in the past few years. And once I’ve achieved a goal, I immediately begin looking for another.
Most of us are not conscious that we’re chasing after things, but our actions reflect this. What about you? Is your life moving too fast? Do you feel like you’re constantly going and going? Do you have moments when you find yourself saying, “Next month, I’ll slow down,” but then it doesn’t happen? I don’t think that I’ve met anyone who hasn’t struggled with being content while living in such a complex world filled with so many demands. So, contentment itself isn’t a matter of being content with your situation in life and never trying to improve it. It’s a matter of being content with what you have.
Some people accept poverty as a normal living condition, and their primary concern is where they will sleep that night or eat that day. In contrast are the affluent, who have the best our society has to offer at their disposal. Their houses, summer cottages, winter chalets, and automobiles are the envy of the community. Does either scenario bring contentment? No! If money can’t buy contentment and poverty doesn’t provide it, what is contentment and how is it attained? The Bible teaches us to “be content” no matter what our circumstances are. In Philippians 4:11, Paul said, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am in therewith to be content.”
In the Bible being content is described as “satisfied to the point where you are not disturbed or disquieted.” It doesn’t say satisfied to the point where you don’t want change but satisfied for now until God brings the change. So contentment isn’t a matter of being content with your situation in life and never trying to improve it. It’s a matter of being not being upset about anything, no matter what is happening around you Pray about it and tell God your need. While you are waiting for God, be a very thankful and grateful person for all that God has done for you already. Philippians 4:6-7 sheds more light in this area by saying, “Have no anxiety about anything, but in all things by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, continue to let God know what you want”, and in verse 7 “the peace that passes understanding shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”.
So how do we break out of the high-pace, high-demand, guilt producing disease in our souls and simplify our lives? For most people, their attempts to do so are usually focused on time management or more discipline. But these are only temporary fixes. To be content, we can’t start with a list of to-dos. Contentment, contrary to popular opinion, does not mean being satisfied where you are. Rather, it is knowing God’s plan for your life, having a conviction to live it, and believing that God’s peace is greater than the world’s problems. Only then will you have tremendous peace and contentment no matter what state you are in while you are waiting for God to work out His will in your life.