Being content is not talked about that much. There’s not much profit in it. Companies want you to be discontent with your car so that you buy a new one. Major department stores want you to be discontent with your house so you buy things from them to fix it up. In short, if you are discontent, you tend to spend money.
The other reason that being content is not talked about that much is that there is a common misconception that if you are content, you lose all ambition. No one wants to give up on their goals, dreams, and everything else they’ve always wanted. That’s just sad. But what if you could find a way to be content with your life where it is now and be content with yourself, while still working on making it better? It doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing scenario.
Being Content Meaning
What does being content actually mean then, if it’s not an all-or-nothing scenario? According to vocabulary.com, contentment means “a state of being happy or satisfied.” But there’s another part that I think is more helpful. “Contentment isn’t an excited kind of happy, it’s more like a peaceful ease of mind. It’s being satisfied with what you have, whatever that is.” That’s the essence of being content.
Being Content Scripture
When I was starting my quest for contentment, I was reading my Bible and a certain being content scripture jumped out at me. It jumped out at me so much, it was one of the original taglines for this blog.
“Not that I speak in respect of want; for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content.”Philippians 4:11 KJV
Wow! The words went right to my heart. But there was one word that seemed to scream at me. That word is “learned.” The Apostle Paul says he learned to be content in whatever state he was in. So, being content in your life is not because of what you have or what you don’t have. It’s not about the external circumstances that surround you. The Apostle Paul spent time in prison and under house arrest for preaching the gospel. That’s not a very fun place or state to be in. But he still learned to be content. How was that?? He elaborates on that point in the next verses, ending with “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (verse 13)
Do you know what else that means? It’s possible for us (you and me!) to learn to be content as well, no matter our circumstances. When we set foot down that journey of being content, God will strengthen us. Not only is it something we can learn, but God will strengthen us while we are going through it!
Bible Verses About Being Content with Yourself
If there’s a big lesson in the Bible, it’s usually in several different places. Here are some more Bible verses about being content.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and rainment let us be therewith content.”I Timothy 6: 6-8 KJV
“Let your conversation be without covetoussness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”Hebrews 13:5
“My bretheren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.James 1: 2-4
“Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith.”Proverbs 15:16
“The fear of the Lord tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.”Proverbs 19:23
Being Content With Life is Not a Checklist or Something Someone Else Can Do
When we first start questing for contentment in our lives, we start trying to fix what’s wrong. I had a mental checklist of everything that I thought I needed to be happy. The trouble was… I had checked most of those boxes.
- Fantastic husband – check!
- Great kids – check; got 2 of them!
- House – check!
- Decent car to drive – check!
- Enough $$ to pay the bills – check!
But I still wasn’t happy.
Being content is not a checklist. It worked about as well as trying to have a mental checklist for “Why is my baby crying??” (That doesn’t work at all either, in case you are wondering. Sometimes they just cry and you don’t know exactly why!)
Being content with your life is also not something that someone else can do. The other thing that I tried at first that didn’t work was thinking that my husband could do something to make me happy. He tried – everything that he could think of- and we both ended up sad and frustrated.
How Do you Start Being Content With Life?
If it’s not a checklist or something that someone else can do for you how DO you start being content with life? It starts with cultivating self-awareness. You can’t fix problems if you don’t know what they are. Self-awareness is characterized by wisdom, honesty, confidence, and humility. It will help you take a step back and look at how you react to things as well as what set you off. It’s internal work that you do in your own mind. Sometimes it’s downright messy and it involves a lot of stopping yourself.
There are different techniques to develop self-awareness. Some of them involve journaling to reflect or asking yourself personal development questions while others involve actively listening to others, observing your self-talk, and becoming aware of your emotional triggers so you can respond instead of reacting.
It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. Some days will be great and you will think you have it all figured out. Then something will happen and you’ll feel like a monkey wrench has been thrown into all your hard work. It’s picking yourself back up and trying again; going back in your mind and replaying things as you WISH it would have happened. It’s reframing your thoughts to be more positive and focusing on the things that you can actually do something about. There are a lot of steps. I go through all of them in detail in quick little lessons in the Questing for Contentment Course.
Just like working out and exercising our natural bodies, all those little mental steps and work add up to big results, especially when you put them all together.
Does Being Content Mean that you Stop Chasing Your Goals and Dreams?
Absolutely not! Being content with your life does not mean that you totally stop, sit down and lose all ambition. How sad would that be?! Being content means that you still chase your dreams and pursue them, but you do not let them drive you to the point of discontent. It’s a balancing act. You can be content with your life and still have goals, plans, and dreams. Being content does not mean that you stop moving forward; it just means that you are happy and peaceful along the way.
Being Content With What You Have
One of the common things that we try to do when we start our contentment quests is to try to fix it with stuff, which costs money. So we try to work harder to get more money so we can get more stuff, which leads to a vicious cycle of always wanting more money for more stuff. It never seems to be enough. So how do you start being content with what you have?
The first thing to do if you find yourself walking in a circle is to stop walking. This largely comes down to thinking through the consequences of your choices. When you find yourself saying “I need a new * fill in the blank *” Ask yourself,
- Do I really need this?
- Why do I want it?
- Does my old one still work?
- Can this wait till a better time financially?
An Example of Being Content With What You Have
I’ll give you an example – a while back, my van started giving me trouble. The check engine light came on and the diagnosis was it needs a new engine. A new engine is more than the van is worth at the moment. I could have taken it down to a dealership and traded it off right then and bought a new vehicle with new payments. But I didn’t. I stopped and asked myself those four questions above.
I wanted to trade it off really badly, but my husband and I concluded that the van still works for the moment. We also have another vehicle, an old Honda Accord with 350K miles on it that we plan to use for our oldest son’s first car. It burns some oil, but it’s overall reliable. It’s not going to win any beauty contests, but who am I trying to impress with my car? I can drive it to places I don’t want to drive the van.
What’s the purpose of a vehicle? To get you from point A to point B. Do both vehicles accomplish that task? Yes. Does it boost my ego to drive up in a car that’s 15 years old? Nope. It’s rather humbling and I’m sure not impressing anyone with my vehicle. But both the van and the car are both functional. I didn’t NEED a new car, I wanted a new car. (If I’m being honest, I still want a new car, but I don’t want the payments right now that come with one.)
So for now, I’m content with what I have. I put my ego aside and I will enjoy driving a paid-for car that’s fairly reliable. (It’s 15 so it does have issues that pop up from time to time, but I have the other one to drive.) Do you know what else I discovered? That old car gets great gas mileage!
I will eventually get a new one when the time is right, but for now, I am content to wait. I thought through the consequences of my choices and I was mindful of my spending and what I’d really rather have.
Being Content in Every Situation
Being content is a feeling and state of mind. Are you going to maintain it perfectly? Nope. That’s asking the impossible. You’re going to slip up from time to time and that’s just part of the journey. But You can certainly get better at it and be overall content with your life. I did it the hard way.
I first had to raise my self-awareness and figure out what the problems were. Then I researched them and found the answers and painstakingly applied each one. It’s a lot of mental work that did not happen overnight. But while I was going through that I also had the thought of “What if I’m not the only one that struggling with this?” If I ever get this figured out, I’m going to share it!
It started with this blog, but more recently I put everything together into a course. Being content in every situation is a lot of small things all put together. Each one makes a tiny improvement, but the result of all those tiny steps is huge!
If you don’t want to struggle like I did, I walk you through everything in the Questing for Contentment Course. It’s put together in bite-sized pieces so you can work on one thing at a time or binge-watch all the videos and put it together in less than half a day.
5 Things You Can Do Today to Start Being More Content With Your Life
If you are in the same spot that I was a few years ago where you’re sick and tired of not being content with your life, here are 5 things that you can do today to get you started.
1. Stop Worrying too Much
I used to have a friend that told me “You worry too much.” While I felt the truth of that statement, I didn’t know how to fix it for a long time. At first I thought it was just affecting me. But I was wrong – my worrying was affecting my family too and how I interacted with just about everyone else. That’s why this is one of my favorite lessons from the course.
2. Take a Walk Outside
I noticed that I always felt better after a walk outside and that it made me think better. There are many benefits to physical activity as well as benefits to being in nature. It’s calming, it helps reset our internal clocks, it helps release happiness hormones and a whole host of other things. If you find yourself needing a break, a walk outside is one of the best ways to restore yourself.
3. Tell Your Inner Critic to Take a Hike
Speaking of walking…. tell that mean inner critic of yours to take a hike too! We all talk to ourselves with an inner voice. Sometimes it’s nice, but other times it’s so mean! My inner critic would say things to me that I would NEVER tell anyone else. At times it would tell me I was fat, ugly, stupid, worthless, etc. No one deserves to be talked to that way – including you! Next time your inner critic comes up with that remember that it’s a big fat liar fueled by insecurity. Intentionally tell yourself something nice instead with some evidence to back it up.
4. Manage Your Time and Schedule Well
Ever feel like there are not enough hours in the day? Sometimes there aren’t when we plan too much in one day and we don’t prioritize what really needs to get done. Learning to manage your time and schedule well is a bit of a balancing act, but there are several ways that you can do this. That way you can feel accomplished and productive while still having time in your life to take care of yourself, and your family, pursue your hobbies, and just relax!
5. Spending Time With God
I don’t know how to tell you about being more content with your life without God. He is my source of strength. I find when I take the time to spend some time with Him, reading my Bible, praying, and trying to think about what HE wants me to do and making the decisions that agree with his teachings my whole life is better. I’m more content and happier. Everything is more peaceful. When God is first in your life, everything else falls into place.
Being Content Quotes
“Contentment does not come from achievement.” – Paul Henderson
“There is no end of craving. Hence contentment alone is the best way to happiness. Therefore, acquire contentment.” – Swami Sivananda
“If there is any one thing that will bring peace and contentment into the human heart, and into the family, it is to live within our means.”– Heber J. Grant
“He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.” ― Socrates
“Hope combined with action is the only thing that will bring you contentment.” ― Shannon L. Alder
The Last Thing You Need to Know About Being Content
Being content is not an exciting type of happiness. It’s a peaceful state of being satisfied but it doesn’t mean that you don’t have dreams either. There are several Bible verses about being content and things that you can do to be more content with your life. I go over all of them in the Questing for Contentment Course, but the five that you can put into practice right now. They are to stop letting worry consume your life, spend time with God, go for a walk outside, tell your inner critic to take a hike while you’re at it, and manage your time and schedule well so you have time for the things that recharge you. What’s your best secret for being content? Leave a comment below!