Finding Contentment When Life Hasn’t Turned Out Like You Planned
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Do you know the story of the woman at the well? In that story, Jesus unmasked her hidden sin and five husbands and live-in boyfriend. I know we shake our head when we hear that account and secretly judge her indiscretions. While it’s true she made some bad decisions, we’re ultimately not that different from her.
That woman, like us, was probably struggling with contentment. She probably had five husbands because she wasn’t happy in those relationships. Therefore, she was looking to find fulfillment and the soothe the ache in her soul. Yet, those men could never satisfy or quench her desires like the One who she really sought.
What are you REALLY searching for?
What about you? Do you look for contentment in things besides the Living Water? Maybe you change careers or houses or cars in order to find contentment. Or maybe you let retail therapy be your living water and fill the void with material things.
The only problem is, all of those substitutes dry up quickly. Our souls can never find true rest or contentment through material things.
Or maybe you have long given up on the search for contentment and you just wallow in your unhappiness.
Yet that’s not what God wants from us. He designed that ache in our soul to yearn after Him. In His wisdom, He knew we would never find true contentment outside of Christ.
When we look for it in other places, we are not any different than the woman at the well. Like her, we desperately seek to fill our God-sized void with people, things, and anything to satisfy us for even a minute.
Personally, I find temporary happiness in a new nail color or in a cup of coffee on the back porch. But when the floors are dirty, the dishes are piled up, and the kids are fussing, my happiness is a empty as that cup of coffee.
And the time is now to stop searching for contentment in shallow wells.
So how do we gain contentment? What can we do to find that day in, day out peace of mind and just all out peace?
We have to be intentional
Contentment doesn’t happen by accident, especially true biblical contentment. If you are not intentionally seeking out God’s truth, then you are subconsciously filling that void with temporary imitations.
So, each day, you need to intentionally seek out contentment and true joy in the Lord alone.
This process is actually simple and can happen in several ways.
First, make Bible study and prayer a priority. You have have to fill up on the good stuff if you are going to be content in your everyday life.
Then, take inventory of the outside influences you are allowing in. Ask yourself, is this: television show, music. blog, podcast, friend, or conversation bringing me closer to God? Or are they filling your thoughts full of negative garbage that further camouflages contentment?
Be intentional about what goes in, and fill your mind with God’s word. Also, be just as intentional about eliminating the things that fill your mind with negative and frustrating thoughts.
Focus on God and not your tasks
When everything is going good and I am sipping that hot milky coffee on the breezy back porch, I can find all the contentment I need. Yet when it’s 9 o’clock at night and I am still working on laundry, it’s easy to feel otherwise. Grumbling, bitterness, and anger can easily set in when my situation doesn’t line up perfectly with my fleshly desires.
When I shift my focus to God’s truth, my attitude changes as well. It’s then I can move past exhaustion to remember that God blessed me with a family. Gratitude and thanksgiving for God’s blessings helps me to move past my temporary irritation.
It’s then I can remember my true calling and best ministry opportunity, my family. Each “chore” that comes with running a household can be used as a witness. Each job should done for be done for Christ as an overflow of love He’s given to me.
When I focus on how I can glorify God with my actions, then I don’t see chores as a task I must labor through. Instead, it becomes an opportunity to show God and my family just how much they mean to me through acts of service.
Make decisions based on how you can connect to God
Friend, your sole purpose in life is to stay connected to God and glorify Him with your life. When we allow for things (seemingly good and bad things) to interfere and interrupt our purpose, then we will not be content. We lose our contentment, or move further away from it, when we allow others and things to take priority over our connection to God.
When you make decisions for your family, whether it be vacation destinations, extra curricular activities, or even something as simple as going to a movie, ask yourself how this will affect your connection with Christ.
Ask yourself, is this activity something that will draw us closer to the Lord?
Will that vacation allow us extra relaxing and prayer time or will we be bombarded with distractions?
Will that activity help us bond as a Christian family or will we just be stretched thinner?
When we make staying connected to Christ a priority, then we naturally prioritize our lives in a way that breeds contentment.
Discontentment comes when Christ is not a priority in our lives.
I have personally struggled with this as well. I started Everyday Abiding because I needed to make Christ a priority and connect with Him in every moment of my life.
My struggle with discontentment was definitely real, but thankfully God is patient and is refining me on my journey to contentment. Join me on my discovery to seeking God in each season of life at everydayabiding.com. Together, may we trust God for the path ahead and seek His truth to fill us with contentment in Him alone.