The Neatest Little Paper Ever Read ®

Issue 974

You’re Something Special

“Contentment”

By Ron Ross

“Contentment”… sounds great, doesn’t it? After all, the dictionary defines contentment as the state of being happy and satisfied (not an exciting kind of happy; it’s more like a peaceful ease of mind).

But caution, while true contentment is worthy of being included in the Lexicon of Life Lifting Words, temporary contentment might be considered a “life lowering word” — a state of being that holds you down. The following are seven tips to help you distinguish between temporary and true contentment.

Tip # 1: True contentment is evasive. The world changes so darn fast that most of us don’t have time to floss our teeth, much less think deeply about the gifts in our lives that represent true contentment. We’re too busy solving today’s crisis, worrying about tomorrow’s headaches, and focusing on our future success; contentment isn’t even on the radar.

Tip #2: True contentment is personal. We’re all different and we all experience and feel things in different ways. Allow yourself to be content and happy with what you have (but never with whom you are). Stop comparing yourself to others; you’re not them, and they’re not you, and that is good.

Tip #3: True contentment comes slowly. Achieving peace takes patience and, recognizing it when it finally arrives usually requires deep introspection. So, don’t expect contentment to come at an early age. If you’re an ambitious person with a thirst for learning and a quest for success, then contentment may feel like a natural enemy. Take your time—be patient.

Tip #4: True contentment requires daily interaction with real people. You can’t experience contentment on Facebook or Twitter, and you won’t find it in a text message or an email. You must live in the real world with real people and personal experiences. As Barbra Streisand reminded us, “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.”

Tip #5: True contentment comes from gratitude. Remember that uncomfortable, full feeling you have following the fabulous family feast on Thanksgiving? That’s not contentment. True contentment comes from an understanding of what Thanksgiving really represents. So, become grateful and chew on this one simple truth: It’s impossible to develop true contentment without gratitude for what you already have.

Tip #6: True contentment cannot be purchased. As the old saying goes, “Money can’t buy happiness.” Look no further than Britain’s monarchy—dripping in gold and drenched in jewels. The Royals’ wealth is extreme, yet happiness and contentment aren’t guaranteed even within their ranks. When you seek true contentment, you break the habit of satisfying discontentment with acquisitions. I’ll bet you know someone who has all the stuff anyone could ask for – but they are miserable.

Tip #7: This final tip takes contentment one step deeper: True contentment (i.e., biblical) is the conviction that Christ’s power, purpose, and provision are sufficient for every circumstance. You must choose to rest on God’s promises despite what’s going on in your personal life. It’s a simple principle to understand, but one that’s difficult to incorporate into your life.

Here’s what the Bible says about contentment: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world and we take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” (1 Timothy 6: 6-12)

©2014 Ronald D. Rosss

To read all of Dr. Ross’ columns visit RonRossToday.com.