A week or so ago, I helped my brother with an errand. As we headed back to his house, we talked about living boring lives. He said my life wasn’t boring because I had a fun job, wrote books, and traveled (not so much in the past couple of years). Then I decided our lives weren’t boring but quiet. I relayed this conversation to my mom, and she laughed and said we lived contented lives. I realized she was right—and I love living a life of contentment.
The next day, my husband and I spent quality time together, shopping, eating, and laughing, I had gone to bed with a very full heart. During the early hours of the morning and deep in sleep, I had a dream. An author whom I admired had asked me to scan through her 6750 pictures on her camera and to let her know if I felt she had lived her life well. I listed everything I’d seen in her camera roll. Her accomplishments included (but weren’t limited to) fostering, then adopting a child, teaching young minds during the school year, and writing uplifting books that gloried God. After sharing this information with her, I said her pictures showed a life of contentment. She asked what it meant to live a life of contentment. My dog licked my face and woke me up before I could give my answer.
What is contentment?
Before we can talk about what it means to live a life of contentment, we need to discuss what contentment means. Contentment is the state of being happy and satisfied. However, Christian contentment goes deeper than that.
I’m sure you’ve heard or seen the phrase on T-shirts, signs, etc: Do what makes you happy…or do what makes your heart happy.
I’ve talked in the past about the differences between joy and happiness. Joy is that deep internal satisfaction of being rooted in Christ. Happiness is an emotion that changes throughout the day, and it’s usually based on external circumstances.
If you’re longing to live a life of contentment, then consider embracing these principles:
Learn who God is.
For someone who hasn’t grown up in the church or hasn’t been on the receiving end of God’s redeeming grace, learning who God is requires a step out of their comfort zones and belief system. God is our Heavenly Father, who is the Creator of all things. He loved us so much that He sent his only son to die on the cross for our sins. Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, we do not need an intercessor on our behalf. We can go to God directly with our praises and prayers.
The best way to learn who God is and his character is to study his word.
- Begin with a few verses and read them more than once to understand what they are saying.
- Pull out key words or phrases that speak to you.
- Write down how these verses could be applied to your life.
- Then, reach out to God in prayer, which is nothing more than a conversation.
- Praise Him for who He is.
- Confess those areas of your life that may be holding you back from having an abiding relationship with Him.
- Thank Him for the abundant blessings He’s given You.
- Seek His help in every area of your life.
Lean into His promises.
Knowing who God is and what His Word says allows us the opportunity to lean into His promises. Doing so requires faith, which is simply believing without seeing. As simple as faith should be, we tend to complicate it with our own emotions. Often, we allow our circumstances to cloud our faith vision. When life is good, then our faith remains strong. When we are smacked with trials, our faith wavers.
I believe many Christians want to have a strong faith or belief in God. However, they allow what they see and feel to come between what may not be clear to them. Keeping the faith isn’t automatic. It’s a continual practice that takes time to develop. Holding onto faith over fear (yes, even when it’s hard) allows God to refine our hearts. Each time we lean into His promises, it gets a little easier.
Trust His word.
Learning to trust takes time and action. It requires a choice to be made. Will you trust God to work out your circumstances? Or will you try to work them out in your own power? God sees the big picture while we are seeing the close-up view of our challenges that cause everything else to fade.
When you make God a priority in your life, then you will be digging into His Word continually and learning about His character. Getting to know HIm will provide a solid foundation that teaches you how to trust His Word and empowers you to lean into his promises.
Embracing these principles allows God to transform you from the inside out. Then you can learn to live a life of contentment by relying on Him. Because it doesn’t happen by our own power. We need to understand who He is, recognize His redeeming power, and submit to Him on a daily basis. Instead of chasing after the temporary things of this world, God longs for us to chase after Him and dwell in His presence. By doing so, then He is the source of our joy and peace and we can live the life we’ve always wanted.
This quote by Andrew M. Davis sums up a life of contentment very well:
“Christian contentment is finding delight in God’s wise plan for your life and humbly allowing Him to direct you in it.”
What about you?
Are you living a life of contentment? If not, what stands in your way? How would you encourage someone else to live the life God wants for them?Are you living you want? If not, check out these 3 Principles for Living a Life of Contentment #tellhisstory #Christiancontentment #faithfulliving Click To Tweet
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To have true contentment we must first have JOY in the Lord and the PEACE that comes when we are in tune with the Holy Spirit.
Your post and link-up came at the perfect time for me today!
Lisa, I love Davis’ quote summing up Christian contentment. While many of us might say we live a life of contentment, the rub is right there-“finding delight in God’s plan for you”. Too many times my contentment rests in having my plans worked out in my life. Great food for thought!
Love this post Lisa!
True contentment can only be found in the Lord.
I often think of the iconic photo of the Lighthouse in the midst of the raging storm with waves crashing as high as it is & all around it but it remains solid & tranquil in its strong foundation.
That’s contentment in the Lord to me for life has a habit of storms crashing around us.
But when we have our foundation in the Lord we can be assured of our contentment in Him.
Trusting God feels like free-falling – and realizing He will catch us. . . always! You write this: “It’s a continual practice that takes time to develop.” – it’s a lifetime commitment, like working out to build muscles – and day by day – word by His word – my trust and faith become stronger and stronger – and free-falling for God isn’t so scary!
Your question about contentment challenges me. I’m content with my place in life right now but have more difficulty with the place one of kiddos is in his life. I really need to spend some time reflecting and praying.