We all feel discontentment at times. We then feel guilty when we are discontented because we know we are blessed beyond measure. Yet there is always the struggle within us to have more or to be more. We understand that we should be satisfied with what we have. After life and health, everything else is secondary, right? The apostle Paul told us that we should even be content if we have just food and clothing. (1Timothy 6:8)
Sometimes discontentment is brought on by regret. We regret all sorts of things though out life. We may regret that we didn’t finish school, start a business or buy that house when we had the opportunity. Perhaps we regret that we didn’t do a better job of parenting our children or wasted so much time in our younger years living the wild and crazy life.
Sometimes, we may feel discontented because we think we’ve been given a raw deal or that life has somehow been unfair to us. This is called envy and will destroy us from within if we don’t deal with it. Job warns us of this in chapter 5 when he said…
Envy slays the simple. (Job 5:2)
The longer we’ve lived, the more opportunity for regrets we have. Regret is not necessarily a bad emotion, unless we dwell on it. After all, if we regret where we messed up in the past it only proves that we’ve grown in character. But if we continually dwell on our regrets of the past, they will steal our peace for today.
Whatever the reason for our discontentment, it’s an awful feeling and we’d like to get rid of it. Thankfully, there is a remedy. It’s called thankfulness and gratitude.
Recently, I was discontented and, I asked the Lord to help me. It was one of those quick prayers that you throw up and then go on about your business.
Shortly thereafter, I heard from the Lord. You know the difference when it’s God speaking to you and it’s not an original thought. For me, it seems to sometimes come from outside my head into my thoughts.
I felt the Lord say,
You know, you no longer have to work and yet you have income streams coming in. You realize this is a luxury?
Wow, that is a luxury and I’ve never thought of it as such! I don’t feel wealthy because we live a fairly simple life. And even though my husband and I worked hard all our life and saved so that we could have this time, it’s still a wonderful blessing, as many people never get to retire. Retirement is something to be thankful for each and every day. Working does seem to get harder as we age and our energy declines, so to be able to take it easier and do things we enjoy definitely is a blessing from the Lord. This deserves our gratefulness to God.
Shortly afterwards I was lingering in the shower taking my time as I was tired and the hot water running down on my head was incredibly refreshing. Again, the Lord spoke to me.
This simple water that you take so for granted, is actually a luxury.
Yes, right again! I had just finished reading Thirst by Scott Harrison. It’s a remarkable story of how he built a non-profit for building wells so that people in remote and undeveloped parts of the world could get clean water.
In the book he told story after story of women having to walk for hours each day just to get water and, even then, many times it was dirty and not fit to drink. The germs and bacteria in it cause disease and resulted in early deaths among the people that lived in the region.
Never once in my life have I gone without water or been thirsty and not have water somewhere available to me. Most days, I can stand in the shower as long as I want and not have to worry about running out of it. It’s a simple thing which some may call a right, but in the context of so many people who don’t have it, it becomes a luxury and something for which I should be extremely grateful.
Paul the apostle, said that he learned to be content in whatever circumstance he was in. (Philippians 4:11) No doubt, he too, struggled with discontentment at times, otherwise he wouldn’t have had to learn to be contented. He surely had regrets over all the Christians that he had killed before he became a believer. Maybe even he felt bitter at times because of everything he gave up in order to bring the gospel to the gentiles. After all, he went from being a wealthy, well respected citizen in the community who was rapidly advancing in Judaism to being beaten, flogged, stoned, shipwrecked, and thrown in prison for his obedience to God.
Yet, he found the secret of facing both abundance and need, hunger and plenty with contentment. He gives us that answer in Philippians verse 4:6.
Rejoice in the Lord, be anxious for nothing, and with thankfulness let your request be known to God.
If Paul could learn to be content in whatever state he was in by being thankful and rejoicing and trusting in the Lord, so can we!
The more years we live, the more opportunities we have to look back on with regret. Regrets, however, should be acknowledged only with a grain of salt. After all those things we didn’t get to do may not have even been in God’s plan for our life. And somehow, God miraculously takes our sins and mis-fortunes and turns them around for our good, if we are committed to him. Being thankful for the full life we have been given and where God has brought us so far will help erase our discontentment.
In reality, though, we will never be one hundred percent contented in this life because we were not made for this world. Only when Jesus returns and makes all things new will we find everlasting, joy, peace and total contentment. Until then the struggle is real my friend!
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”Hebrews 13:5