In a world where “look out for #1” and, “at the end, the one with the most toys wins” are ideologies that are so prevalent, basic contentment seems to have gone the way of the Dodo bird. I see so many people, many of them women, who are trying one thing after another to reach a state of contentment. Whatever might satisfy that hole in the soul becomes the focus: new clothes, new hairstyle, new car, new friends, new hobbies, new job, a new relationship . . . . this list could go on and on. The trouble with all these “new” things is that the “new” eventually wears off. Then,
…there you still are.
None of us can get away from ourselves. We are kind of stuck in this body until we die. So what’s a discontented girl to do?
Quit Seeking Contentment in Stuff.
For starters, our looks and hobbies and possessions, and the right social circles will dazzle us at first, but they won’t fulfill that longing in the soul. They all will produce a temporary fix, but that bandage will soon fall off.
There you are, back at being discontented all over again, and the search begins for a new “thrill” to bring that elusive contentment.
My Mother was Right
The older I get, the more I realize that my mother was right. Mom wasn’t right just because she was my mother, or because she was a wonderful and wise woman. She was right because she was a godly woman who had her priorities straight. She was definitely a godly woman who was content in her life, and in continuing to seek all that the Lord wanted for her and those around her. The life she lived was one of seeking the Lord first, of reading and studying His word, of listening for His voice, of stepping out in faith to obey His will. She lived I Timothy 6:6: “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”
Contentment is a Deeper Satisfaction
Contentment is deeper than just being happy with a little thrill. Contentment is a deep satisfaction in the soul, where the soul rests on solid ground. In Proverbs 3:5-6, we read these words:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
Let’s face it, sometimes it’s hard to let go and let God have things. We like to control what happens (even though we really can’t), and when things don’t go as we planned, we get a little irate. Remember, God knows us better than we know ourselves. His wisdom and His plans go far beyond what our limited minds can conceive. He’s already in charge. Let Him take the lead.
No Contentment in Good Health
The past few years in our lives have been somewhat challenging, and I’m not even considering the Covid-19 pandemic. Life in general had many ups and downs. Health issues with myself and my husband required hospitalization and several series of tests. Both of us had long recovery times from those illnesses. Thankfully they didn’t happen at the same time, and praise the Lord, we have both recovered completely! In addition, situations with our two grown children required us to step in and care for grandchildren (and granddogs) sometimes. I have traveled many a mile to go spend the night with them and help out with things. We have even had our children move back in with us for a time now and again. For those of us who are “empty nesters,” suddenly having your routine interrupted and turned topsy-turvy is very difficult.
Dreaming of better health, of getting back into a normal routine, of “doing our own thing” has been a recurring thought for me often. But then the Lord gently reminds me that in giving of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are all fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) We are able to bless our children and grandchildren because the Lord has blessed us, and in helping them when they ask, we are sharing these fruits of the Spirit with them. I smile because I am reminded that my contentment comes from Jesus, not from what I want for myself. What a way to spread the love of God in the family!
Contentment Comes from Jesus
Thinking back on all my mother taught me, I can hear her reminding me, especially when things didn’t go my way, to
“Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33).
In seeking what God wants, I learn that my contentment comes from being in tune with Him, not from getting my own way all the time. Over the years, I have come to know more and more that contentment comes from the peace that the Lord gives, not from having what I want all the time. The apostle Paul said,
“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…” (Philippians 4:11-12)
No matter what, the Lord is with each of us. He takes care of us each and every day. If we try to control Him, we will never be content. If we let Him have control, contentment will come…in time. I Timothy 6:6 says,
“Godliness with contentment is great gain.”
This is so true. Only when we seek the Lord, listen to His voice, follow His teachings, and trust and obey, can we be godly women. In the process, we will be more and more content in the Lord, and we will gain all that He has for us.
Glenae Atchison is a native of Indiana, and a long time resident of Mississippi. She graduated from Asbury College in 1983 with a BS in Music Education. She and her husband, Skip have been married for over thirty years. They have two married children and three grandchildren. Glenae is active in choir, two group Bible studies, United Methodist Women, and is a certified lay servant in the United Methodist Church. Her favorite activities include singing and playing the piano, sewing, quilting, and making Swedish weave blankets.