Contentment is the key to happiness. It is one of the greatest Christian virtues. Paul wrote: "11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need" (Philippians 4:11-12). Since it goes directly against the most dominant aspect of our sin nature (selfishness) it is also one of the hardest Christian virtues to truly obtain. I personally have made it one of my life goals.
Not that I have too much to be discontent with. I have a fulfilling job which I enjoy. Since I work in the ministry I don't make tons of money, but all of my needs and most of my wants are easily obtainable. I have a wonderful relationship with my family. My life contains very little bad. Most people would agree that I have an easy life. Because of this it has been easy to be content and truly happy until recently.
There is only on thing that I deeply want, but do not have. A wife. Ever since I was a teenager I have wanted to be married and raise a family. Unfortunately, I'm not so great at dating. It is probably my worst life skill.
About three years ago I was in a serious relationship that ended poorly. After that, I accepted that perhaps I was never going to find someone. I didn't stop looking; I just didn't worry about it. I became very content with my circumstances. Seeing the benefits of the single life I embraced it. This was a good time and I grew in the Lord at an unprecedented rate.
And then it happened. An attractive Christian girl visited my church. She was sweet and friendly. She seemed interested, so I asked her out. The date wasn't so great (remember my bad life skill). It wasn't a big deal. I barely knew her and certainly didn't have any feelings for her. Of course, it was disappointing.
Discontentment reared its ugly head. Again, I had a tremendous desire to have a family. It consumed me. When I realized my failure it sent me tumbling into the depths of depression.
Why did God send that girl into my life? Does God test our contentment? If it was a test I surely failed it. If I was truly content in the first place, would I have been so easily discouraged? Could it be that I was confusing contentment with laziness? The desire to be married is pure and natural. Perhaps God was trying to motivate me. How do we balance contentment with ambition?
Let me know what you think.
You can contact Luke Joshua Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org