Contentment: Seeing God’s Goodness

Do you ever think about how much we complain? We complain about the weather: too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry. We complain about our jobs: deadlines, difficult bosses, co-workers. We complain about our families: our spouses, children, in-laws. We complain about life: traffic, waiting rooms, jury duty, illness. We complain about the church: our pastors, the sermon, the music, the a/c. And politics? Well, that too.

Whether or not we’re aware, we spend a lot of time complaining. Isn’t it just part of being human? After all, we live in a fallen world, and life can be difficult. Our bodies get sick and hurt. Our relationships suffer. Work is hard. But is that all there is to it?

In her new book,¬†Contentment: Seeing God’s Goodness,¬†Megan Hill reminds us that complaining or being discontent can often be a sinful response to our circumstances. Why is it sinful? It’s sinful because it says we don’t really trust God to take care of us. And that can start a domino effect of other sinful behaviors.

As Hill explains:

Once it takes hold of our hearts, discontent quickly leads to other sins. Because we fundamentally distrust what God is doing in and for us, our hearts give way to worry. Every new circumstance feels surprising and potentially harmful. Everything from the flu to the presidential election brings an onslaught of uncertainty. We do not believe that God is caring for us, and we have little confidence that the events in our lives will be for our good, so our minds and hearts spin with anxiety.(11)

So how do we find contentment in our sinful, fallen world?

Read the rest of this article over at Reformation 21.

Envy and Contentment

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.