Contentment vs Settling
“ I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength”
I had a conversation years ago with someone who believed that we, as humans, can never truly become content. She was of the belief that because we always want a better life and because we constantly want to improve ourselves, then no one can really ever claim contentment. As the conversation continued I then realised that what she described as contentment was in fact settling. In order to continue, both terms will be defined so that we’re on the same page.
Contentment: feeling or showing satisfaction with one’s possessions, status or situation.
Settling: to make one’s permanent home somewhere.
So, because she saw contentment as “making her permanent home” somewhere or in a thing, she could never be happy in any state of her life because she feared this could be settling. Had I been wiser in those fine years, I would have referred her to Philippians 4:12-13, Paul tells us that whatever situation he finds himself in, he is always content. He then goes on to say that he can do all these things through the strength given to him by Christ.
From Paul’s statement we can gather that being content does not come from the things we have around us but rather it comes from being in Christ. Of course we should holistically seek to improve ourselves as people — but we must be careful not to strive for so much “success” that we end up relying completely on those things for our contentment.
I truly believe that even when Jesus was telling us to “seek first the kingdom”, He knew that if we find our contentment outside of God we would forever be chasing endless winds.
As we strive to be the greatest in all that we do let us remember to be content in all situations.
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