Am I truly satisfied? A few days ago I started pondering contentment and complacency. As I began to seek truth, I believe I was able to get some pretty clear revelation. There is also a saying that states, "It is far better to want all that you have, than have all that you want." Why? Because Philippians 4:11 states, "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." But sometimes I fear that we confuse contentment with complacency. We also know that "Godliness with contentment is great gain"(1Timothy 6:6). It is OK to be content with what we HAVE; but we should never become complacent with what we ARE. So, is it possible to be satisfied and still want more? Yes.
First, what exactly is Contentment? Glad you asked. Contentment:
- Is foremost a spiritual matter of satisfaction with God in every area of your life; TOTAL trust in God, selflessness.
- Brings glory to God not man.
- Is trust and confidence in His purpose for your life because you know that embracing change promotes growth and discipline.
- Is Happiness (“Happiness is self-contentedness.” - Aristotle)
- Is peace and rest in knowing that God is in control of everything.
- Is not only being content in WHO you are but a willingness to be stretched and groomed as well.
- Develops character.
- Cannot dwell with anger or self pity.
- Is understanding your physical circumstances to be God's opportunity to mold and shape you.
I really like this definition from dictionary.com:
- a state of mind in which one's desires are confined to his lot whatever it may be (1 Tim. 6:6; 2 Cor. 9:8). It is opposed to envy (James 3:16), avarice (Heb. 13:5), ambition (Prov. 13:10), anxiety (Matt. 6:25, 34), and repining (1 Cor. 10:10). It arises from the inward disposition, and is the offspring of humility, and of an intelligent consideration of the rectitude and benignity of divine providence (Ps. 96:1, 2; 145), the greatness of the divine promises (2 Pet. 1:4), and our own unworthiness (Gen. 32:10); as well as from the view the gospel opens up to us of rest and peace hereafter (Rom. 5:2).
Once we actually realize that our physical circumstances should be treated secondary to our spiritual necessities, i.e., "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His Righteousness; and all these things [food, clothing, shelter] shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33), then it becomes immediately possible to be truly content. This also lets me know that contentment is an action. Notice it says "Seek". That is a verb, so it means that we have to do something to receive contentment which kind of almost seems like an oxymoron. I came across this secular blog for Leo Babauta from zenhabits.net and I loved his point of view: "Contentment isn’t a matter of being content with your situation in life and never trying to improve it. It’s a matter of being content with what you have — but realizing that as humans, we will always try to improve, no matter how happy we are. If we don’t, we have given up on life."For me, this means that I am content in knowing that I am goal and detail-oriented and always striving for excellence. I know my strengths, weaknesses, frustrations and successes. I am confident about who I am in Christ, the call on my life for worship and the call to serve and support the Gamble's ministry in whatever capacity that may be. I am at peace being a mother, business woman and supportive wife. My point is that all of these things require an action, so if at any time I become complacent or lazy, I will lose my contentedness. Does that make sense?
I can't help but to think of Elastigirl from The Incredibles as a prime, yet humorous example. Hear me out. She is confident and content in who she is and her purpose, yet able to be flexible, stretched and used when necessary. Elastigirl has to exercise her power, fine tune it. If she decides to become complacent, then what good would she be? We also know that the Bible tells us that "to whom much is given, much more will be required." (Luke 12:48) We cannot just sit around because it's just not healthy and not what God intended. We have to be willing to step outside the box and out of our comfort zone.
So what is Complacency?
- Resistance to change which results in stagnation and stunted growth or lack thereof.
- Lack of motivation.
- Lack of trust in God because you fear failure, the future or not being in control.
- Brings glory to self by complete focus or trust in oneself, selfishness.
- Unwillingness to step outside of your comfort zone in order to become who God wants you to be.
- It is like being a superhero with no intention of using or exercising those powers.
Again, according to dictionary.com, it states that complacency is a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, especially with oneself or one's merits, advantages while often unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation, condition, etc.
Wow! This is so true. Complacency is completely destructive and counter productive. Just look at the following historic events:
- The Great Flood in Genesis
- The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
- The story of Samson
- Hurricane Katrina (New Orleans had been warned for decades about this potential, but were confident in their own "security" all the while unable to see the "potential danger" that was to materialize.)
Imagine if all of those people had not become complacent. Some might have actually listened to Noah and not been fish bait; some may have turn from their wickedness, and Lot's wife may not have been a table condiment. Samson wouldn't have let his guard down, and NOLA would have secured the levees...God warns us in Proverbs 1:32, "For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them." He also sent a stern warning to the complacent women in Isaiah 32. Then in Revelation 3:14-22 speaking through the apostle John to the church in Laodicia, Turkey, He confronts them with their complacency as well. He says they are neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm. Complacency leads to indifference which leads to idleness. To stand for nothing is to stand against God. That is why it is so dangerous for us to become complacent, lazy.
So, recap: CONTENTMENT is an action and COMPLACENCY is not. Are you content or complacent?