Finding Contentment is hard on the day to day, but what if it takes forever to get what we want, or we never get it? Is it still possible to be content?
We desperately wanted to get pregnant. Fertility treatments and doctor’s appointments dominated our lives.
But it seemed like every day another “It’s a Boy!” announcement from a friend’s post dropped across my newsfeed. and each time, I felt my stomach drop.
My emotions bounced between wanting to be happy for my friends and wondering why it couldn’t be me.
Finding contentment in my current state was easy on some days… on others, I was plummeting into discouragement and grief, wondering if I could be content if I never became a mom.
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What is contentment anyway?
Are we supposed to “be happy” all the time, never acknowledging our true feelings?
That’s an easy NO for me. Mostly because I spent a couple years in counseling learning how to understand and process my emotions rather than denying they were there.
I discovered the importance of emotions, but being discontent is frowned upon. And, we’re called to be content in any situation as Paul was (Philippians 4:11-13). Scripture encourages us to be joyful in all circumstances and to rejoice in our suffering, which seems unattainable, even on my best days.
So what does it really mean to be content, and how do we get there?
What Being Content is not:
Contentment is not an achieved state of having zero emotions
Contentment doesn’t mean we’ll never feel the pain of what we lack or that we’ll forget our desires, giving up on them.
It means that when we feel that pit in our stomach and bend over in grief, that we bring our longings back to Him. He can heal our hurts and restore us to peace.
We can’t “will ourselves” to be content all the time.
Life ebbs and flows. We are human and we have emotions. One day we might be on cloud nine, enjoying our careers, friends, or a fun day in the sun.
The next day we see a new mom with an adorable baby (or whatever you’re longing for), and we’re hit with the pain of what we’re missing like a freight train speeding down a mountain.
At our weakest point, Christ’s power is made perfect. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). He gives us strength when we have absolutely none. So finding contentment is not about being emotionless or strong all the time; it’s about what we do with our negative emotions.
The more we have our hearts transformed to understand the peace God has for us, the faster we can return to contentment.
Contentment is not “never wanting anything else” ever again.
When we get what we want, we immediately start wanting something else. It’s human nature.
That doesn’t mean necessarily that we’re ungrateful or don’t value what we have. (It can, but doesn’t always)
As humans, we’re always looking to what’s new, what’s ahead, what’s next. We’re designed to keep moving forward.
Once I became a mom, it became natural to look ahead to my kids sleeping longer and being potty trained, or my husband returning from deployment so, among other things, I wouldn’t be solo-parenting.
Some other things I now want after having kids:
- To not be constantly feeding someone
- 5 minutes to myself
- To go to the bathroom just once without another human being (or several) clamoring in after me.
Yes, some of those are surfacey desires, but it’s amazing how they can affect my emotional and mental state of contentment if I don’t watch out.
What does Finding Contentment Mean?
Pretty much anything we want but don’t have can cause is to fall into discontent. Whether big or small, the question is “do we have it or not?” If not, we have to guard our attitude about our lack of it, because the enemy is sneaky and will try to get us down however he can.
So what is contentment?
Contentment is a place of trust in God’s provision.
Does He have our best interests in mind? Can we trust His heart? Is He able to work this out for our good and redeem our losses, even when it seems 100% awful?
We ask these questions in the depths of pain and find the answers in the depths of scripture. Only the presence of God can bring true peace into our situations.
Well-meaning friends and family often add hurt with empty cliches and false promises of “it’ll happen one day.”
The fact is, we don’t know what the Lord has for us in regard to our heart’s desires.
The enemy would have you doubt God’s love, His presence, and His ability to work in a dire situation. But we have to fight with spirtual weapons. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
Contentment is a place of honesty about how we feel.
If we’re not telling the truth (to ourseves and to God, for starters), we can’t get back to peace. We can only “try harder” and put a bandaid on our discontent.
But honestly processing our emotions helps us figure out the root of our unhappiness and then we can allow God to heal our hearts in that area.
(If you want to save this info, pin above image to your fav Pinterest board!)
Contentment is fixing our imagination on the Lord.
Isaiah 26:3 says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
The word “mind” means not just our thoughts but our imagination. When our imagination is fixed on God, we aren’t caught up in negative thoughts such as, I must not be “ready” to be a mom… I’ll never be a mom… I’ll never get pregnant… I don’t deserve to be a mom…
It’s so easy to spin off into negativity, what-ifs, and eating lots of chocolate to soothe our sadness (or maybe that’s just me lol).
But God can redeem our imaginations by helping us dwell on thoughts of Him and what He can do!
How do we change our thinking?
We don’t know if God will provide us what we are asking for. We know He CAN, but we don’t always believe it in our hearts.
It’s important to dwell on the truth of scripture in order to combat our negative thinking. The Holy Spirit can use scripture to literally transform our minds (romans 12:1-2) — our brains can structurally change— so that we live out our beliefs and truly rest in His peace.
I like to write out verses on cards and post them on the wall in order to see the truth regularly.
(Recently I created a printable sheet of Contentment Scriptures and Prayers. They’re the perfect size to cut up and post pretty much anywhere. If you want a free copy, you can grab them below.)
My Foundation Of Contentment
We have three beautiful daughters and feel incredibly blessed to have them.
We conceived our first two healthy babies through IUIs, experiencing three miscarriages during that time.
Our third was a complete surprise blessing, no fertility treatments needed.
The other three we believe to be in heaven in the arms of Jesus.
Becoming a family of five was an emotional roller coaster ride. It was hard. It was beautiful and joyful. It was devastating and painful.
I had to come to a place of realizing that God’s goodness truly does not depend on whether or not I get what I want.
He is good. That is a fact and a foundational truth, even when I don’t feel like it is. Even when my circumstances are not good. Even when I’m weeping and mourning.
I learned that if I base my contentment on the times I get what I want, I won’t ever be satisfied, because soon I’ll want something else.
So it turns out that finding contentment didn’t depend on if I became a mom or not. Because as a mom I still fall into discontentment at times.
When discontentment rears its head, I pull out my Bible phone app or my verse cards and let God’s truth wash over me, His power lifting my heart and mind. And that’s where I find peace to face each day.