5 Secrets To Living a Life of Contentment

chair looking out over pond

Contentment in life is something that many seek, and few actually find. There is no formula for just how to reach a point of true contentment, but there are a few principals that are helpful, and even necessary .

Our lives are barraged with busy-ness and comparison with others, and we are so preoccupied that we miss celebrating small things in our daily routines. Somehow, this all adds up to an epidemic of discontentment.

What can we do to end the cycle of striving to have more, do more, be more in order to find the elusive way to a life of contentment?

Contentment In Life Meaning

The definition of the word content from Merriam Webster is ‘feeling or showing satisfaction with one’s possessions, status, or situation’.

Paul talks about contentment in his letters in the New Testament, and says the he had learned to be content in whatever situation he was in.

In the Greek language, the word for content is “autarkes”, and describes a person who feels satisfied with what they have within themselves (Biblically, having Christ living within them), no matter what the circumstances are or how much they possess.

The Importance Of Contentment In Life

So, does it really matter if we are content? If I gain contentment, will I feel like I can stop chasing myself and the world to reach a certain point? If I am content, will I be able to stop trying so hard?

If you read the story of how Paul was converted from a Christian-killer to a fully dedicated follower of Christ in Acts 9, you’ll see how he was completely changed from the man Saul to the missionary Paul on the road to Damascus. For the rest of his life he was committed to doing God’s will in everything he did. 

Paul fully submitted his own will to the will of God. And he was fully content, through beatings, through imprisonments, through stoning, through shipwrecks, through all kinds of dangers, through hard work and hardships, through hunger and thirst, and through so much more than most of us will ever need to endure. 

The opposite of contentment is discontent. Jude describes a discontent spirit in verses 15-16 of his epistle:

The Lord comes with tens of thousands of His holy ones to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly concerning all the ungodly acts that they have done in an ungodly way, and concerning al the harsh things ungodly sinners have said against him.” These people are discontented grumblers, living according to their desires; their mouths utter arrogant words, flattering people for their own advantage.” Jude 15-16 (CSB)

In our discontentment, are we grumblers, do we often live according to our own desires, have we uttered arrogant words or flattered people to get an advantage? I believe we see and do these things all too often without giving it a second thought.

What’s the real difference between Paul’s contentment and Jude’s discontented grumblers? There are miles between someone who walks completely in the will of God and the one who lives life completely fulfilling their own desires. You see, the one can fill us up with contentment, and the other wring the contentment completely out of us.

 But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out. If we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:6-10 (CSB)

Living A Life Of Contentment

I heard a commercial on TV lately, that was trying to convince watchers to buy or get that particular thing that was being advertised. The voice on the commercial came right out and said, “…because it’s really all about more money…” 

Well, it does sometimes seem in many ways like money would be the answer to so many problems. Somehow it makes sense to us that more money would mean more security and more contentment. But it just doesn’t work that way.

But there are some things we can do to find a way to get free from the constant striving for more things to own, more things to do, more affirmation from other people, more security – to find true contentment in life.

Be Thankful

How much do you appreciate the ‘stuff’ you have? Are you thankful for stuffed closets and spaces that you couldn’t fit another thing into? I read a quote once that asked “What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?”. It’s eye-opening to think of how many things we have that we don’t even realize we own, let alone be thankful for. 

Just telling you to get rid of what you don’t want is not helpful, for many reasons. One common problem is that we tend to overthink what we should keep because we are afraid that we might need it. 

life of contentment quote - new day of simplicity

Writing down – yes, actually writing – is a great way to realize what we appreciate, and how much. And this helps us to see what is truly important to us. Dwelling on what we have that we appreciate (not just things, but moments and much more), can bring us to the point of needing less.

On the other hand, dwelling on what we lack can cause us to be stingy, negative. When we operate from this aspect, it’s hard to find anything we’re thankful for, because we are so in tune with what we are missing out on. Just as unthankfulness leads to discontentment, thankfulness leads to contentment. 

life of contentment quote - new day of simplicity

Trust God To Provide For Your Needs

Faith in God is believing what we can’t see. It’s pretty easy to say we trust Him when we like our circumstances, but not so much when things are hard.

Trusting Him to provide for our needs is especially difficult when we can’t see the light at the end of a long tunnel. And there’s no guarantee that we’ll like what’s at the end. Sometimes He changes our circumstances, and sometimes He chooses not to. 

In order to live a life of contentment even in difficult times, we have to realize that God sees so much more than we do. Our human vision only reveals a tiny fraction of what he sees. And God e is able not only to see ahead, but to work in the hearts of other people to change things – His way. 

Most of us go through life trying hard to make changes that we consider to be for the better. But God knows best and He will always do what’s best for us in the end (what we really need, not what we think we need).

We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but GOD’s purpose prevails. Proverbs 19:21 (MSG)

Once we realize this, we can rest easier, knowing that He already knows how He plans to resolve a situation or solve a problem, so there is no need for us to labor or worry or obsess over it. 

Letting go is hard when we are trying to control everything, but easy when we hand over control and trust to the One who made the world and everything in it. 

life of contentment quote - new day of simplicity
life of contentment quote - new day of simplicity

Enjoy The Ordinary Everyday

I love some “atmosphere”. I used to habitually look forward to things with a vision of contentment, the perfect atmosphere, the prettiest view, the best-decorated hotel room….but a disappointment or change of plans would then crash my party big time. 

And I never gave “ordinary” a chance to be special: what if that cancellation allowed for some unexpected time for relaxing by the fire and some great conversation with my husband; what if that wrong turn on vacation actually took us to a wonderful out-of-the-way attraction that we will remember for years?

Somehow, along the way, I learned to enjoy the journey instead of writing the script ahead of time. After way too many years of being a controlling over-planner, I’m learning the joys of the everyday unexpected. I’m learning not to obsess over the perfect atmosphere, the perfect experience. 

God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us. Ephesians 3:20-21 (MSG)

The excitement of what God actually has planned for us can be so much better than any plans we could ever make for ourselves. And finding contentment in the everyday blips of life can be every bit as pleasant and memorable as a well-planned, pricey event. 

A life of contentment doesn’t always come naturally, especially with the world loudly telling us we need more. Learning To Enjoy The Simple Things In Life may be helpful in this area.

life of contentment quote - new day of simplicity
life of contentment quote - new day of simplicity

Stop Comparing

Who, in this day and age of social media, has not found themselves making comparisons with another person? It’s become almost natural to see what others have and wish that we had it ourselves. 

I know of whole groups of friends or coworkers that “outspend each other” on material items, whether it be purses or homes. Often we wish our lives were more like that of someone else, or that our husband was like hers in some way, or that we could have it all together as she does. 

Do we even realize that when we fall into this trap, it’s called coveting? And God has issued us a command about coveting, in fact, it’s the tenth of the Ten Commandments. It says, “You must not covet your neighbor’s house.  You must not covet your neighbor’s wife,  male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.” Exodus 20: 17 (NLT)

life of contentment quote - new day of simplicity

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galations 1:10

life of contentment quote - new day of simplicity

Slow Down

Looking for a faster way of doing something is natural. In fact, I am always looking for a quicker way or a shortcut, just to save time. One day last week, I was in such a hurry to get ready to go to an appointment that I ended up dropping several things and actually being a total klutz. I was getting nowhere fast, and actually found myself saying out loud, “slow down”.

But most of the time, I don’t even realize what a hurry I’m in. There’s always something needing done next, but trying to get ahead often puts me behind instead. Why is this? Could it be because we weren’t meant to operate in a constant rush.

We were meant to fulfill God’s purpose for us, not our own. And from personal experience, I can tell you how easy it is to appoint myself as the person in charge of…well…way too many (of my own) purposes.

How easy it is to overbook, trying to squeeze more into an hour or a day or evening than what that day or an hour can hold. Multitasking has been deemed to not be effective, and it’s high time many of us (myself included) come to terms with this.

life of contentment quote - new day of simplicity

My most common time for “biting off more than I can chew” is in the evening. I have so much to do, and I tend to stay up later than I wanted, which causes a domino effect of getting less sleep than I planned, and more tiredness in the morning than I hoped, making me less than eager to climb out of bed and start a new day.

We race from one thing to another and barely know what to do with any free time because it’s so unusual to have any of that. When the free time does come, what is your usual go-to?

If I’ve been in a race with time, I will often find myself just scrolling, then feeling disappointed that I didn’t do something more refreshing, like daydreaming out the window, or reading a book, or taking a quick nap. 

life of contentment quote - new day of simplicity

“Do you want to know the secret of contentment, dear Beatrice? We need to live each day as if it was a gift. God gives us that gift every morning when the sun rises, like the tickets they give out when you ride on the train. That ticket is only good for today. Yesterday is gone, and that ticket is used up. We don’t have a ticket for tomorrow, because life has no guarantee. Each day is a gift. When the sun comes up, we need to ask the Lord, “What would You like me to do for You today?”, That’s how you’ll find contentment.”

Hannah to Beatrice in ‘Though Waters Roar’ by Lynn Austin

secrets to a life of contentment

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *