Contentment is the state of being thoroughly satisfied and fulfilled with one’s current life circumstances. It encompasses a deep sense of inner peace and happiness that arises from appreciating what one has at a particular moment instead of continually pursuing more.
Contentment involves acknowledging and cherishing the positive aspects of one’s life and deriving a sense of fulfillment from them. It doesn’t mean disregarding or denying one’s desires and ambitions but rather finding joy in the present while still working toward future goals.
This state of being is invaluable and can contribute to greater happiness and overall well-being, even when facing challenging situations.
If you’re wondering why you might not be content, it could be because you’re seeking meaning and happiness in the wrong places. This often manifests as thoughts like:
- Owning a new car will bring me happiness.
- Shedding pounds will make me happy.
- Watching a particular show will be enjoyable.
- Having a drink will improve my mood.
- A relationship will bring me happiness.
- Shopping will make me happy.
- Cosmetic procedures like plastic surgery, Botox, fillers, or fake lashes will make me happy.
- Achieving a certain income level will lead to happiness.
- A new house or renovation will make me happy.
The list goes on, and many of us have experienced these thoughts at some point. However, these external pursuits rarely satisfy the deeper longings within our souls. Sometimes, even when we attain these goals, the happiness is fleeting, and we find ourselves endlessly chasing temporary sensations.
In my personal experience, addiction often arises from repeatedly attempting to recapture a feeling and extend the duration of fleeting moments of pleasure. This constant pursuit of dopamine can lead to dissatisfaction and unhappiness, even among those who seem to have it all, such as celebrities.
Consider Solomon, known as the wisest and wealthiest person in the Bible. He possessed immense wealth, had hundreds of concubines, a grand vineyard, and a mansion, and authored several biblical books, including Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. God granted Solomon this wisdom to impart to us.
Solomon astutely observed, “No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content. I observed everything going on under the sun; it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind. (Ecc 1:8; 1:14).” He experimented with pleasure, seeking the “good things” in life but found it all to be futile. He remarked, “Laughter is silly. What good does it do to seek pleasure?” After much contemplation, he turned to wine for solace, still searching for wisdom amid moments of foolishness. He sought the fleeting happiness that many people chase during their brief lives in this world.
Contentment is what we all yearn for in our quest for comfort. Surprisingly, I discovered contentment in sobriety. It’s not merely about abstaining from alcohol but about finding meaning in life’s small joys, fueled by faith. Faith is the catalyst that propels the engine of sobriety.
Without faith, it’s challenging to navigate life’s twists and turns. There are moments when the allure of drinking may seem enticing, but I’ve learned not to blindly follow my feelings. It is never worth 25 minutes of feeling good and then trying to recapture it until blackout.
Feelings serve as indicators, not guides. My emotions notify me when the check engine light of my heart is on, and if I ignore it for too long, a breakdown looms.
For me, those emotional warning signs include feeling uneasy (anxious), bouts of depression, and attempting to derive self-worth from things other than aligning with God’s direction.
In my case, this can manifest as prioritizing my to-do list over spending time with God in the morning. I believe that contentment is a learned response. We must learn how to be content and seek God’s guidance.
While contentment is, indeed, a feeling, it is also a state of being. Enduring contentment can only be fulfilled through God. If we cannot find satisfaction in God, we will perpetually chase the next best thing, only to be disappointed when it fails to provide lasting fulfillment.
Trust and reliance on God require daily surrender. It means letting go of our own notions of what’s best, surrendering our plans and ways, and remaining open to God’s plan, even when we can’t see the road ahead clearly. It’s a journey of daily dependence on God’s guidance and grace