The state of contentment is a hard place to live. You have television and other ads screaming at you to upgrade your life with this or that product. You have others telling you what you should be doing, then you have yourself to contend with as well. Whew!
I have known people who had to have the latest gadgets as soon as they became available. They were the most miserable people, always striving to buy the latest. At the time, we were so poor we were barely able to buy groceries, so it was upsetting to be around these people. They would tell us how much money they spent on an item, and mentally we were calculating how much groceries that would buy.
Another form of discontent is always having to be going somewhere to be happy. Some people just aren't pleased unless they are traveling most of the time. We would call this person restless but a lack of contentment is the root cause. An additional reason this happens is a person who has recently lost a loved one, and they can't stand to stay at home, always have to be on the go.
Here are a few questions to help you ascertain how content you really are:
What makes you happy? Shopping, going somewhere, buying the latest gadget, being with loved ones? Are you happy within yourself or do you need others to be around or some external thing to happen before you can truly be happy?
Are you sensitive to the needs of others when you tell them about what you have bought? Your 'necessities' could be someone else's basic needs. In economics, we were taught that the word "need" is substituted for the word "want" in many people's vocabularies because we need to buy what we want. For example, "I need a Corvette because I want one."
Does your job history show your discontent? Many people jump from one job to another because they are never content with the one they have. Sometimes money is the deciding factor, but mostly just that restlessness to be moving on.
I have seen people unhappy when they changed jobs to one they thought was a better one. But when they got what they wanted, they were unhappy because the people weren't as nice or whatever. Did you consider these other factors before you made your job changes or did you act impulsively? The money angle can be a trap because the renumeration part looks good but it masks the problems underneath at the company you are planning to be employed by such as the type of boss, the environment of the workplace, the stress factor, how people get along, and other factors you may not consider when you only look at the money angle.
Are you a thermometer or a thermostat in the way you conduct yourself? In other words, do you react to the environment you are in, letting it shape you or are you proactive and create the environment as a thermostat would? Do you let the attitudes of others change you or are you happy anyway, no matter what is happening around you? There is always going to be someone complaining and making trouble wherever you are. Can you surmount that and be content and happy anyway?
Do you know what you should be doing and do you accomplish it? People can make you discontent by saying "You should be doing this instead of what you are doing". Do you listen to these comments or do you forge ahead in what you already know you should be doing. Even if it is not exactly what you had in mind, can you stlll be content and happy doing it?
There is no substitute for contentment. Your life will be wrecked without it because you will never see anything through to its conclusion. You will always be preempting your opportunities before they blossom. Impatience is the driving force behind discontent. You think you have to be in control and keep moving in order to be happy.
Look at your life and see what it contains. What makes you happy is a start at seeing your life as it really is. God knows your desires better than you do. He promises in Psalm 37 that if we delight ourselves in Him that He will give us the desires of our hearts. This boils down to trusting God with our desires instead of ourselves. Where does your trust lie?
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