Contentment Without Complacency

This post is part of my series for Write 31 Days (writing on a prompt every day during the month of October). I may not be posting on the blog every day, but you can find an index page where all the posts in the series will be added here. The prompt today is “content.”

Am I content?

It’s a hard question to answer. In many ways, I think I am. As I sat in a restaurant last night, watching the groups of friends and families enjoying a meal together, there was a deep contentment. A waiter carried a cake across to a girl celebrating her 21st birthday as her friends sang “Happy Birthday, ” and though I didn’t know them, it was a joy to witness.

I think one of the positives that has come out of the last eighteen months for me is a deep sense of appreciation and contentment in the little things that I would previously have taken for granted, and I hope that is something that sticks with me.

One of my friends had the idea that on the anniversary of the first lockdown each year, people should gather with family and friends to celebrate that they can, and I love the idea of doing something to help us hold onto that sense of gratitude.

But is it possible to be content and still to long for more?

I think it is.

As I think back over how I have seen God working through the mentoring ministry I am part of, I am thankful, and I mean it when I say that if this is the only result that ever came from it I would feel it had been worthwhile.

But now that I’ve seen what I’ve seen, I can’t believe this is it. I believe there’s more, a lot more, and I never want my contentment to turn to complacency.

It’s a balance, and a tension, and it’s one I see in Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

On the one hand, he writes, “I have learned how to be content with whatever I have,” (Philippians 4:11 NLT) but on the other, he writes, “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:14 NLT)

Maybe it’s a question of remembering to look back and be thankful and to look around and appreciate what we have now, while also looking ahead, seeking what God wants to do, remaining content, but still pressing forward for more…

…And since it has been going round in my head as I’ve been writing this post, here’s a song on the theme of contentment:

7 thoughts on “Contentment Without Complacency

  1. I’ve wrestled with that, too–does contentment mean I never ask for or want anything? When Paul says he is content in whatever state he is, and he mentions hunger, I don’t think that means he doesn’t want food. Maybe it’s connected with trusting–that God knows my needs and will take care of them in His time.

    I like that idea of commemorating the lockdown by gathering together.

    Liked by 1 person

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