I’m in a transition period in my life and to be honest I haven't been very content with that lately. While I have an idea of what I want to do for a career, I don’t know the steps to get there or how long the process will even take. I feel a lot of pressure, because I feel like people expect me to know what I’m going to do next. I tell myself if I could just know all the details, then I would be content. But that’s not the way God works.
Contentment is sometimes viewed as a negative thing. We think that if we are content then we are comfortable and if we are comfortable then we’re not going to be ready to move where God calls us next. But, I believe that we get contentment and complacency confused. Contentment is a state of happiness and satisfaction. It means we are fulfilled. Complacency however, is a self-satisfied state of negligence or carelessness. The difference here is that complacency grows out of false security, whereas contentment is fostered out of God security.
The Bible verse "I can do all this through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13) is a very well known and commonly used verse. It is often referenced as more of a "prosperity verse" in which an impossible task is ahead or even used when someone has set their mind on something. We hear it all the time. But lets take a look at a few verses ahead to get some context.
"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength."
Paul is saying in these verses that he can endure all circumstances ---good or bad--- because God is with him. He can be content, whether he has nothing or he has much, whether he is suffering or he is prospering. Paul went through many trials (2 Corinthians 11:24-27), but he was still content with where he was and who he was in Christ.
This is absolutely crazy to think about. Contentment even in suffering?! Contentment even when I don't have all the answers?! Contentment when I'm not really where I want to be?!
This is something that I am just starting to realize. I need to find my strength in Christ to find contentment. Once I find contentment then I can thrive where I am and things can change.
Complacency is a trap. It is a false security that sets up road blocks for the Spirit to work in us and through us. Complacency is prideful and self-indulgent. When we let complacency rule our lives, we get stuck in the rut of doubt, unfaithfulness, and stagnation.
Rather than being complacent and doing nothing, we must be like Paul. We must find strength for contentment in all circumstances.
Even if you don't have all the answers and even if you don't feel like you are where you want to be, learn to be content because you have Christ.
- Be content with where God has you right now.
You might not be where you want to be forever, but God has you in this season for a reason. There is something that you need to learn or there is someone that you need to encounter. So figure it out and deepen your understanding of who God is. You will never regret time you spent in the Word of God.
- Just do something and do it with love.
This kind of goes along with the point above, but sometimes we have to be like Nike and "Just Do It". Maybe you feel a bit lost or confused or frustrated and its causing you to get complacent, but don't let it. Just do something. Find something to do and do it fully with love. You may not know your specific calling, but one thing we are all called to is to love others and make disciples.
- Put in an effort.
I have personally been in the position where I have decided I'm not going to put in a lot of effort, because I don't know how long this season of life will be. I'll put in "just enough" effort. But that's not okay... that's complacency. So whatever you are doing, put in an effort. Do it to the best of your ability.
- Things happen when we least expect it.
A lot of times, things happen when we least expect it. The change happens when we are so content with where God has placed us that we don't even have a chance to fall into complacency. If we can be faithful with the little things, God will trust us with bigger things.
"But godliness with contentment is great gain."
1 Timothy 6:6