Cultivating Contentment

Cultivating Contentment

A few years ago while reading a passage of scripture I came across a word that instantly resonated with me, and ever since then, I have been wrestling with it. I realised along my journey how important it was and how many factors in life competed with it. Contentment.By definition, the word contentment means a state of happiness and satisfaction. In a world where circumstances, position, and possessions compete with a content heart, and where anxiety, depression, and comparison are the by-product, how do we cultivate a life of contentment? How do we get to a point where our soul stands secure despite the seasons we face or the distractions that try overwhelm us. It must be rooted in something deeper.

Paul speaks about it so profoundly in Philippians 4:11-13 MSG “I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.’ Paul, who went through many different seasons [seasons of ease, power, fruitfulness, despair] & circumstances [deserts, shipwrecks, beatings, mocking, imprisonment, etc] encourages us that living in a state of contentment is learned [this is good news!].”

Thus, contentment is not dependent on circumstances but in spite of them. That true contentment is rooted in trust & surrender in the triune God. The great I am, who makes me who I am. 
Therefore, in the daily wrestle, I have realised that contentment is not settling, or religious complacency (as Tozer puts it), but rather:Contentment is:
• living in a state of gratification, enjoyment & delight no matter what situation I find myself in
• not the dream killer but the foundation on which the dream stands
• rooted in the creator rather than the created
• not a physical idle position [passive] but rather a learned attitude [active]
• a soul rested and surrendered in GodDave Ramsey says, ‘Contentment is not a destination, it is a matter of traveling. It is not a place you are leaving from, and it is not a destination you are heading toward. It is how you are going about getting there.’ I have learned the journey of cultivating a life contented requires intentional daily choices such as: trusting God instead of worrying about the future; surrendering my will for his; not comparing myself to others; guarding my mind with the word of God; gratitude over complaining; rest over striving; and cultivating an inner resolve that fellowship with the living God brings a satisfaction like nothing else.

In closing, C S Lewis once stated: “There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.”

I pray we choose the former on our journey towards cultivating a life of contentment.

Cassidy Clark