Recently I was talking with some friends about contentment. Why it is so very hard for us to be content with what God has given us, especially when we really lack for nothing. I find myself very focused on those things in my life that I am not happy with. We all have them. Maybe we want our children to be better behaved. Maybe we want to fit into the jeans we wore BEFORE we had children. Maybe we want a nicer house or car. Maybe we want a better relationship with our spouse.
We get almost tunnel vision as we focus on that one aspect in our life that we would change if we could. We look at everyone around us and compare our “failing” to that aspect in their lives. We size up everyone based on that one thing. Some people are “worse” than us. We feel better than them. Some people are “better” than us. We feel worse than them.
At least, I do this. I guess I’m using the “royal we” here.
Something occurred to me recently. When I get tunnel vision and compare myself with someone else, I’m not taking in the whole picture. That person that I envy because she looks great in size 2 jeans (just so you know, I’m not thinking of anyone in particular. It’s just a good example.) what else does she have going on in her life. If I want her great genes, do I want all that God has given her, both the good and the bad? How do I know what she’s struggling with?
We all have both the good and the bad in our lives. Things that come easily to us and things we struggle with.
So I came to the conclusion that my focus is wrong. Instead of focusing on the things I don’t like about my life and the things that others have that I want, I should focus on Christ. God has put me here in this place, in this time, for His glory. He has blessed me with many things. He has also given me challenges in my life for His own purposes. Whatever those challenges are, they are for my good.
Maybe I can be more content if my focus is on Him and on all that He’s done for me.
4 thoughts on “Envy and Contentment”
Most things in life seem meaningless to me. My biggest struggle is more basic than envy. I really don’t care about physical realities that much. I want to know why life is. If I fall into this struggle, I tend toward nihilism and apathy (and I have lately). I know–I’m changing the subject a little. But it’s related because it’s hard for me to covet what others have when I don’t understand the meaning to any life at all. Maybe I can arrive at the point of envy after I’ve come to terms with that. 😉
It must not be “new” problem as Paul addressed it in I Timothy 6 and Jeremiah Burroughs wrote “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment” in the 17th century. I have adopted the motto “Contentment without Complacency” now that I live on Thistle Dew Farm.
Love love love, so true. But why must all your posts tattle on me! LOL
Thanks for writing from the heart about heart issues we need to hear.
“God has put me here in this place, in this time, for His glory.” This is fundamental yet I need to be reminded of it daily!