October of this year, I participated in The 30 Days of Hustle by Jon Acuff. The challenge is to set a goal. Then for next 30 days Jon helps you accomplish it. The course was impressive.
My goal was to write 3 times a week and increase my website traffic to a set number. All month, I worked hard, waking up early and staying up late just to finish everything. Every day was a blast. Then October 31st finally rolled around.
With trepidation, I opened my browser to examine if I reached my goal for website traffic. Double! I had doubled my goal for website views. Wow! I was thrilled and grateful for Jon’s help…..
Then, not even 24 hours later, November 1st came around. All of the joy from my October’s accomplishments is lost because now I have November to contend with and it has to be better right? I’m stuck wanting to celebrate October but worried about November.
If we are honest, this dilemma exists in all of us. We can never stay in a place of contentment for very long. Our society and ourselves pushes us to constantly move on, get better, and do more. There is no time to celebrate where you have come from, only worry about where you need to go.
There is no more evident example than the stark contrast between Thanksgiving and Black Friday. “Thank you, Lord, for all you have given me,” on Thursday to “I need more stuff,” on Friday. We just can’t stay content for any significant length of time.
Yet deep down we know this is a race that exhausts us, and God never intended for it to be like this. Even Paul said, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.” (Philippians 4:12) The question then becomes, “How do we break this cycle of discontentment?”
Celebrate the past.
Look back in all areas of your life both internally and externally. Examine where God has blessed and moved and changed you. Then celebrate it, and not just a one-time celebration like you suddenly scored a touchdown. Rather, create an attitude of joy.
Use this new attitude as a source for gratitude fueling your contentment. Your joy eventually becomes a well you run back to every time discontentment creeps into your soul.
Enjoy the present.
Life is good regardless of wealth or poverty, sickness or health, or how many friends you have online. If you have Jesus, your life is good because Jesus makes your life better and he makes you better at life. So enjoy the present because it’s God gift to you. Contentment is found in Him and Him alone.
We can be content in any and every situation because our loving heavenly Father has a beautiful plan for our life even when we don’t understand. So enjoy the moment. Don’t worry about the future, but rather be content with who God made you to be and all the things he has blessed you with.
Make the future better.
“Make the future better” feels as if it is stands in stark contrast to the previous two points, and it could if you try to make the future better before you celebrate the past and enjoy the present.
But we can work towards bettering ourselves, accomplishing goals, or solving problems if we do it from a place of health. It is reasonable to both be content with where we are, and also pray and work toward a brighter future. The key is that we must be both “at peace” and “desire better.” If you find yourself being the latter without the former, then you are once again resorting back to discontentment.
Today I am choosing to be fully satisfied with where God has brought me from, where He has me at today, and where I want to go to in the future. I am finding contentment. Are you content as well?
What areas of your life do you struggle with contentment?