I don’t know about you, but being content is a constant struggle in my life. I’m often tempted to look to what’s next, or to how things could possibly be different. We’ve all thought at some point that the grass may be greener on the other side.
Christmas time seems to strike a sense of discontentment in many of us if we aren’t careful. What is meant to be a season of joy and worship of the reality that Jesus came to us, can turn into a season of comparison, depression, discouragement and even an unhealthy desire to have more. This time of year brings all kinds of emotions, both high’s and low’s. This Christmas season, I’ve been trying to do my best to discipline myself in this area, to not get overwhelmed in the wrong things, but rather to be still and reflect on what I do have. I want to capitalize on this time of year, striving toward contentment and expectation as I look to 2020.
When I think of someone in Scripture who seemed to have every right to be discontentment, I think of the Apostle Paul. After Paul became a Christian, he went through a lot of suffering and opposition, yet he never gave up. Of course, he had his struggles and weak moments, but he modeled what perseverance looks like, keeping the main thing the main thing. His perspective and faith in God led him to a great contentment that we can all learn from. Paul’s example paired with the meaning of Christmas has got me thinking a lot about contentment.
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.Philippians 4:11-13
Here are some things I’ve been learning lately about fighting discontentment in my life that I hope encourage you this Christmas.
To fight discontentment, we should:
- Remember how much we do have.
In reality, most of us have WAY more than we think we do. Our culture feeds us the lie that more is better. More stuff, more money, more followers on social media…more, more more. I’ve noticed that in my own life, the more I crave and run after just for the sake of wanting to have it, the more discontent I can actually become. I get trapped in the more game, and forget that my identity is in Christ. Having more isn’t always a bad thing in itself. But basing our life around more is a bad thing.
- Remember that God is always working and sees the big picture.
What I love about God is that He’s God and I’m not! He sees the big picture of our lives and is working out all things for our good and His glory if we trust Him. I think of the worship song ‘Way Maker’.
“Even when I don’t feel it your working. Even when I don’t see it you working. You never stop working.”
It’s in our weak moments that God wants to draw us closer to Him. He’s in the midst of the details. When we are tempted to fall into discontentment, we must remember that God is working. What we may think is a failure, God can sees as a step in our journey with Him.
- Remember that other people can learn from our stories.
My current struggle can help someone else. My past struggles may also inspire someone else who is going through the exact same thing. Chances are, there is someone in your life right now who can learn from your story. Nothing is wasted. At the church I serve at, Vintage Church, we make story videos for people who get baptized. In these videos, people share a glimpse of their story on camera as to how they got to where they are. I’ve noticed that because of these videos, more people become inspired to take that next step of obedience in baptism, and they realize that God is with them, loves them, and has a purpose for them. Our stories matter and make a difference.
This Christmas, remember that Jesus came to us in humble power. Emmanuel-God with us! Let’s celebrate the gift that we have in Him, and let’s defeat discontentment in our lives. Remember, God is always working.