Causes of Discontent

Mary Lynn, Kristin, Jennifer, Savannah, Wesley & Lori

Always Wanting More

“What would you want if you could have anything?” The question was posed to a group of my friends. I thought they would dream of money, popularity, or opportunity; but “contentment” was a frequent response.

When Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:13 that we can do all things through Christ, he is speaking not about grabbing for more but about being content. Paul had experienced being in need and having plenty, and he had learned to be content in all circumstances. We too can be assured that God will help us find contentment in every situation.

—Mary Lynn Johnson, 21


Focusing on the Negative

I am not content with my life. I do not like who I am, how I look, or how I relate to my family. I look at everything with a negative attitude. So my dad challenged me to begin making a daily list of ten good things that happened that day. It wasn’t easy at first, but each night I looked back over the day and picked out what had made me happy. My nightly reflections have helped me to realize that I have a good life but a bad attitude. Yet, each good thing I write helps me move one step closer to having a positive attitude. God and my family are helping me to change my outlook on life, which is another reason to be grateful.

—Kristin O’Connor, 18


Wishing for Better Options

For years, I was not content with my life. But I didn’t want things; I wanted friends and status. Finally, I realized that much of my discontent stemmed from always wanting more options. So I gave up dreams of finding a perfect best friend and chose to enjoy the people who were already in my life. I gave up finding a perfect job, choosing to do my best in the job I had. Ultimately, I turned over my longings and heartbreak to God, knowing that contentment was a choice God would help me make over and over again. My life isn’t perfect, but I never knew life could be this good.

—Jennifer DeGroot


Obsessing Over That One Thing

I think, As soon as I get that one thing, I’ll be content. Yet, with that perspective, contentment doesn’t last, because as soon as I accomplish that one thing, another comes along. For a long time, people have been trying to find the one thing that leads to contentment. The author of Ecclesiastes tried having fun, being wise, being rich, being in charge; and none of them kept him content for long. In the end, he learned what I too have discovered: Discontentment leads us to obsess about that one thing. Contentment comes from being grateful for what we have and serving God wherever God has called us.

—Savannah Wood, 19


Trying to Make Things Perfect

Most of the time, I feel that I could be a better person with a better life. Yet, sometimes I realize that I don’t need to worry about how to make things better, that the life I have is good enough. I wish I could learn to be content instead of trying to make my life perfect. Being content is a difficult skill to cultivate; but if we are always trying to change, we may never realize how lucky we are.

—Wesley Overhults



The Secret of Contentment

It’s not that I don’t dream big dreams
or that I lack in self-esteem.
It’s not that I don’t strive for more
or kick ambition out the door.
It’s that no matter what my goal,
I keep obsession in control.
It’s that I work hard, hope, and sweat,
and do my best without regret,
then set my efforts at the throne—
a gift for God, and God alone.
Results, no matter what I’ve spent,
are in God’s hands; so I’m content.

—Lori Scott

—from devozine (September/October 2013). Copyright © 2013 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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