Resolved: To Be Completely Content and Dissatisfied
Say what? How can you be content and dissatisfied at the same time? Isn’t contentment and satisfaction the same thing? Well, no – they’re the same but different. Let me explain.
According to Webster’s New World Dictionary (1982), contentment is: the state, quality, or fact of being contented. Being content then is defined as: happy enough with what one has or is; not desiring something more or different.
Satisfaction (or more specifically, satisfy) is defined as: to fulfill the needs, expectations, wishes, or desires of someone. Having needs and expectations fulfilled.
The words are very similar, but also very different. What seems to set them apart is a division of the state of your soul/spirit versus the state of you mind/body. Put another way, it’s the difference in perspective…eternal vs. temporal.
The Problem With Satisfaction
About this time every year we hear increasingly about New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions to lose weight, exercise more, eat less, be healthier, break old habits and start new ones. Schools know this, so do advertisers, and boy don’t the health spas, gyms, and YMCAs know it!
Part of the reason for this focus has to do with our state of dissatisfaction. Advertisers have a stated goal of making you think you’re dissatisfied so you’re more inclined to accept their offer of greater satisfaction. The focus is on your present set of circumstances and nearly always on your mind and body. The problem is that circumstances change, happiness is based on feelings, and satisfaction is fleeting and must be constantly addressed.
The Peace of Contentment
On the other hand, contentment is not rooted in our circumstances and has more to do with your perspective. It’s the state of your spirit and your soul.
There’s an old hymn titled, It Is Well with My Soul. Written by a man who lost his son at age 2, his financial wealth in the Great Chicago Fire, and his four daughters (and nearly his wife) in a ship wreck crossing the Atlantic, all within 20 months. If you’ve never read the story behind the song, it’s a must read. (If that song doesn’t move you to tears, you likely have no heartbeat.)
The basis of contentment is not having it all now but having exactly all that we need. Yes, we may have unmet desires or wishes but our confidence of spirit is firm, rooted, and unwavering. The bottom-line is a difference in perspective. One perspective focuses on your circumstances and the other focuses on the Truth despite your circumstances. Contentment is found in a Person, not in things or situations.
Content And Yet Dissatisfied
This then is how you can be content but dissatisfied. You can be content by having your focus and perspective on eternal things and relationships rooted in love and truth. At the same time, you can be dissatisfied with your circumstances and realities of your life. And get this, it’s okay that it’s this way. In fact, let me go as far as to say it’s supposed to be this way.
The reality is that you will never be satisfied with the circumstances and situations of this world and your life in it. It will never satisfy because it is constantly changing and feeds only your flesh. It’s your soul that needs to find contentment. When it does, much of the worries of this world will become increasingly pale.
Being content does not mean that you grow complacent, lazy, or accept the status quo. Your desires, ideas, wants, and dreams are given to you for a purpose and that purpose should be pursued with great ambition. You should want to be better, healthier, stronger, and transformed in mind, and conformed in the image of Christ (see Romans 8:29; 12:1-2).
Maybe you don’t have any idea what I’m talking about when I make reference to Truth, contentment of spirit, or true peace. That’s okay. I’m willing to share with you and answer any questions you have about it. Getting this right is foundational to having and living the life you’re capable of living.
Part of my goal is to help people set their minds on the state of their spirit and find true contentment while remaining free to be dissatisfied with the status quo. So long as you can find contentment in the Truth, you’re permitted the freedom to explore how to make changes to your life, work out circumstances, and achieve many of the wants and desires you have. After all, nearly all those desires, in their purest sense, have been given to you has a gift to explore. Part of your purpose is to pursue those interests and desires in relationship to your passions filtered through a right perspective to serve others and share the Light. It’s really cool how it all works together.
So, make a resolution for 2017 – Be content but always dissatisfied. Meaning, find contentment in the Lord and consistently pursue becoming better, growing, and developing your gifts and talents.
1 Timothy 6:6-8
Live your potential in 2017!