A thoughtful look at how to find contentment despite circumstances, lack, or difficult seasons. Most of us spend our lives chasing contentment, leaving us feeling exhausted, drained, and never truly content. Instead of chasing contentment, let’s find a state of rest where contentment actually comes to you!
Contentment- a state of happiness and satisfaction.
There are times in life when no one has to tell you to feel content with what you have. It is simply second nature. You look around and the world seems to be bursting with beauty. Your home is filled with laughter. Your life is full of love. All is well, and your heart rests right here, in contentment.
But let’s be real there are days, seasons, maybe even years where contentment seems unattainable. In those times we often tie our joy to something we are chasing. If I only had this or that. If only he would act right. Or if only my kids could get along.
If we are always chasing the next thing that brings us contentment, inevitably we will never see the happiness and blessings of the season we are in.
This isn’t a reminder to chase contentment, this is a call to stop chasing. Stop running after something bigger and better and open your eyes to the world around you. Because if we can find contentment here, it will go wherever we go.
Look around, Mama, there is so much to be thankful for.
The Ripe Fruits of This Season
I had a dream the other night of an incredible garden. It was probably about 5 acres of row after row of perfectly planted crops. Clearly someone had devoted the time and the effort into growing something huge. But as I walked the rows of the garden I saw weeds everywhere. More than the weeds though I saw a massive harvest- wasting away. Beautiful rows of green, fruit filled vines rotting away because no one came out to pick them.
I wonder how often we do that.
How often we put in the prayer.
And the harvest comes- the garden is ready- but we are so lost in the process: we miss the blessings already ripe on the vine.
As Mamas, probably as women in general, we are always looking ahead. That can be such a good thing. Preparing, planning, and setting goals for the future. It isn’t serving us, though, if it is robbing us of the joy of today.
Maybe you aren’t where you want to be right now, but where you are can still be beautiful.
Maybe your family isn’t the size you had hoped it would be right now, but don’t wish away the sweet moments you have in search of more.
Or maybe your marriage is in a difficult place and you don’t even know where to go from here.
Mamas, life is hard sometimes. I don’t want to sugar coat that. Pain is real. All suffering is valid. I am not encouraging you to simply slap on a fake smile and move on. Instead, I want there to be a joy in your heart so pure and so serene, that wherever you find yourself, you are truly content.
So how do we get there?
How To Find Contentment Despite Difficult Seasons
A few years ago Way FM did a show around Thanksgiving where they had listeners call in and report things they were thankful for that they never thought they would be thankful for. Someone had called and stated that they were glad that someone in their family had went to prison because it caused them to get sober.
The month before that- my dad had went to jail for the second time. And we knew this time around he would be serving anywhere from 8-20 years. I vowed in my heart that day to never be thankful for it. I could never be content with all the milestones he would miss. He wouldn’t be the one to give me away at my wedding. He wouldn’t be there when I had my first baby (or as it turns out my second, third, or fourth.) I couldn’t just accept that and be happy. Much less thankful.
But here we are almost ten years later- counting down the months until he comes home. And guess what? I am content and I am thankful. He may not have been there for those big life events. But he has a relationship with my husband. He has gotten to meet, hold, and love my four kids. Our story could have been a lot different. I could be visiting a grave. Instead, I visit a prison, and while that isn’t ideal – I still have him. And I have learned to be content with that.
Mamas, life throws some hard balls. Sometimes the choices we make or the hands we are dealt put us in a difficult season. Sometimes spouses leave. Friends walk away. Our hearts get broken. Our lives get turned upside down.
And how can we be content when our hearts or our lives feel shredded?
I have an answer to that.
The Heart Behind Contentment
Mamas, our contentment should be based off of one thing and one thing alone: Jesus.
When our hearts and our eyes are fixed on Him, nothing else really matters. He is an unshakable foundation. He pours out blessings on us day in and day out. It is the reason why Job, when he had lost all he had, was able to say “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, but Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
That’s not because he was happy to lose his children, his flocks, herds, servants, or home. It’s not because he was thankful he got to be covered in sores and boils. It’s because his life was built on something greater than the things he owned or the circumstances he faced.
Mamas, when our joy and our peace rests in Christ alone. Nothing can steal it. Nothing can shift it. We may face dark times, but we have the light. We can always find a reason to be thankful, a reason to be content.
In his letter to the Church at Philippi, Paul writes:
11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to [d]be abased, and I know how to [e]abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through [f]Christ who strengthens me.Philippians 4:11-13
This is Paul speaking, of all people. The same Paul who was persecuting Christians, and struck blind on the road to Damascus. The very one whom began his Christian life being shown all the things he must suffer for Christ. Paul who was just as acquainted with prisons as he was the temple. Paul who was shipwrecked, beaten, stoned, starved, sleep-deprived, persecuted, mocked, snake bit, and denied the removal his thorn in the flesh. And yet, whatsoever state he found himself in, he was content.
Not because he liked the strife he faced, but because He loved Jesus.
3 Ways to Actually Find Contentment
So often we spend our lives chasing the next great thing in pursuit of contentment. But over and over in the Bible we see people who found contentment in hard situations. We also see others, just as we see them in our own lives, who have everything and yet they are still unhappy.
Here are 3 ways to stop chasing contentment and actually find it right where you are:
- Take Time to Be Thankful- Rather than fixating on the things you desire. Take time to thank God for all the things you have. Take 10 minutes each day to simply get alone with God and say “thank you”.
- Slow Down and Look Around- Life moves at an obnoxious pace. Sometimes when we are busy trying to do it all or keep all the plates spinning, we miss what is right in from of us. Take some time this week to slow down and just examine the place where you are right here. We always think when we get to this place or do this thing, then we will rest and take it all in. Don’t wait- pump the brakes and take it all in right where you are today. In all the mayhem and mess, every bitter and every sweet moment- find contentment there.
- Count Your Blessings- Make a list if you have to. Try and count them all. I guarantee you will discover you are more blessed than you realized. When we shift our focus from what we lack to what we have, we often find we are content with what is already in front of us!
Mamas, I have so much ahead of me that I am looking forward to that sometimes I take my eyes off of today. Other times in my life, I have been so fixated on the grass on the other side that I forget to even look at the place where I am standing. Chasing contentment only brings more unhappiness. But finding contentment- right here– right where you are this very moment, now that is a blessing.
I know it is easy to get caught up in the working, the waiting, the suffering, or even in the moments of doubt. But here’s the thing: the harvest is in- are you enjoying it?
It may not be the big harvest we are waiting on. It may not be as plentiful as we had hoped, but it is worth enjoying what is there.
You will never have your kids this tiny again. You won’t get this day back. We aren’t promised seventy years with our husbands. Don’t fast forward past the mundane days to get to what you think will be the good part. Don’t hold on to an argument just because you think you are right. Laugh and take it all in. Do something today that you think is beautiful. Make some bread, create something, run through the sprinkler with your kids, and hug your husband for a really long time!
You don’t have to chase contentment, it is right here- wherever you are.
Hey Mamas, if this blog helped you find contentment in your life today. Share it with someone else. And if you are struggling to find contentment with where you are- let us pray for you! Leave us a comment or message us on Facebook or Instagram! Let’s aim our arrows together!