Contentment is something I think we all struggle with. I think it’s a part of our human nature, actually. Or maybe it’s a result of culture, but either way, we’re taught to never settle. We’re taught to constantly chase the next bigger and better thing. We’re told to always be dreaming and as little kids we can’t wait to grow up. So from a time of being really young we’re taught to subconsciously think that what’s next will be better.
Regardless of what stage of life you’re in right now, you’ve experienced this. If you’re single, maybe you can’t wait to date someone. If you’re married maybe you can’t wait to have a home of your own or to start a family. If you’re in college, maybe you can’t wait to get out and get a real job. Whatever it is, there’s something “better” that you’re longing for.
This is unfortunately a bit of a curse for us, especially as Christians. Dreaming and anticipating the next thing isn’t necessarily bad in its own right, but where the sinful side of discontentment comes in is when we think God hasn’t given us His best yet. While we day dream about someday we forget that THIS is where God wants us right now. THIS is His best for us right now.
Think of all the times you were discontent or wished you could skip past to the next phase of life. Maybe it was middle school (Lord knows it was a bad time for all of us!) or maybe it was while you were engaged that you couldn’t wait to be married. Now, thinking back on those times, can’t you see what God was teaching you all along?
In those moments our vision for God’s plan is clouded by our desire to have what’s next. We tend to just fly through life with wanting the next best thing and completely miss what God was doing while we were waiting. There are so many things I learned in every stage of life that have shaped who I am today. If I had never been in a long distance relationship, I wouldn’t have learned how precious time with your significant other is. If I had never struggled through the things I struggled through, I wouldn’t have learned about God’s faithfulness in those struggles.
Contentment isn’t even always about not wishing you could move to the next step. God wants us to dream, He wants us to imagine our lives in five years, He wants us to cast vision for our lives. But He wants us to do all of that while at the same time knowing that HIS plan is perfect, HIS timing is perfect and ultimately our discontentment casts doubt on His plan. We doubt God’s ability to work right where we are. We start to believe the lie that He can only work once we are in college, we have a job, get married, have a house, once we move abroad to do missions, have kids, etc. When we think like that, there’s no end to the things we need to allow God to work.
I struggle with this and know I will for a long time. But I have to keep reminding myself that God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called. God wants to use you exactly where you are. Because of that truth, we can all settle into contentment a little easier.
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