lack of contentment; dissatisfaction with one's circumstances.
Discontentment sneaks up on me like a cold sometimes. One day, I went to the mall to window shop. I knew I couldn't buy anything cause I had financial priorities but it didn't hurt to look around right? Wrong! Looking around was torture, and I walked out of there feeling down. I kept thinking to myself, “I have no nice clothes, I have nothing to wear, I need this, I need that, Ugh I hate the way I dress, I need to buy more makeup, I need better shoes”.
Now some may say this attitude is normal, especially for a woman, but it doesn't have to be. There is nothing wrong with desiring nice things, but don't allow that desire to consume you and make you stop appreciating the things you do have. My desires pushed me to discontentment, which lead to complaining. And my complaining annoyed the people around me. So I took a step back, and looked to scripture for advice on being content. Here's what I found
The bible addressed contentment in 4 categories:
1. Be content with your wages
As someone who has always worked by hourly wages, I'll admit that I'm never content with my wages. It is never enough. And if I could find a way to make more money, I would gladly do it. But in this verse, John the Baptist is addressing tax collectors, and soldiers who want to know what to do in order to be saved from the fire. John knows that they take advantage of their power, and use threats to extort money from people. So he tells them to be content with their wages, and only collect what is authorized by the government.
For me, I know that God wants me to learn how to budget and spend my money wisely no matter how much I make. Being content with your wages is part of trusting God and being a wise steward of what he has given you.
2. Be content in your weakness
In this chapter, Apostle Paul talks about the thorn in his side that prevents him from becoming conceited. He prayed 3 times for the Lord to take the thorn away, but God told him “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness”. So not only is he content in his weakness, he is boasting in his weaknesses. By boasting in his weakness, he knows Gods power will rest on him and make him strong.
I personally prefer boasting in my strength's like most people! But when I look back at my life, God used the moments of weakness to show me his ability to provide, protect and love me. My proudest and memorable moments in life were when I overcame an obstacle or accomplished something against the odds. So as hard as it is, we should try to boast in our weaknesses, and let God get the glory.
3. Be content in your situation
This verse directly applies to me because I always think about how my situation is temporary, and one day I will be better off. But regardless of what situation I'm in, I should be content. Paul goes on to say that he knows how to be brought low, and how to abound. In every circumstance, he learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. Then he wrote the famous line “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. Philippians 4:13. Its interesting how people use this line to motivate them to do selfish things, but really Paul meant this verse to ask God for the strength to be content.
4. Be content with your possessions
This chapter talks about true contentment, and Timothy says that if you have food and clothing, you should be content with that. But as an American, living in the heart of consumerism, I know that's not easy. Honestly, there are days when I chose to stay at home 'cause I don't want to spend money. It's impossible to not want to buy things.
In verse 7 Timothy says, “for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world”. My man went straight to the point. This hits hard for me because I love my stuff, and I have a long list of more stuff I want to buy. Cash is the motive! But Timothy says in verse 9 that “those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs”. There's nothing more I can add to that. It's simple, cash can't be the motive because the desire for riches will make you wander away, and put you through unnecessary stress. This doesn't mean you should stop working or improving your life by acquiring things, but be truly content with what you already have.
Now there is no excuse for being discontent. It's not easy cause we are constantly bombarded with propaganda telling us that what we have isn't enough and by buying more things, our lives will be improved. Being content with who you are and what you have helps you to stay focused, centered and stay original.