In our world today, being content is harder than ever before. There is more to do, more to compare, more to see, and more to buy. Not to mention the marketing and social media most of us are exposed to daily—convincing us we need more to keep up with the Joneses. But what if I told you that if you allow God to strip away all the stuff you think you need to be happy, you’d actually be more fulfilled?
I don’t know about you, but I get tired of running out of time. There’s never enough time in the day to do everything I have planned—play with my kids, try that new recipe, learn French, write that book, work out, pick up groceries, visit my sister—the list goes on and on. What is it for you? We all have things we would do, “if only we had more time.”
After getting tired of my excuses, I started praying. I asked God to show me where things in my life needed to change or where I could cut back to find more time. And He showed me that being content is the key thing I needed to learn.
So, I set out to discover what being content really meant, and what I found changed my life. I read this about contentment in 1 Timothy 6:6-7 NLT: Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it.
Does contentment and godliness really make someone rich? Yes, but not just rich—extravagantly wealthy.
Here’s what I know: I love God, and I love a good bargain. But I realized when a bargain steals my time, it becomes much more expensive. Here’s what I mean: Those $10 shoes didn’t just cost me financially. They also cost me time I could have spent reading a book with my son. The great piece of furniture I wanted to get cost me an entire afternoon riding bikes or journaling. Buying things was stealing my time with my family and with God, and I wasn’t okay with that.
Not only was buying things stealing my time, but also it was also stealing memories, date nights, travel adventures, exploring worms in the front yard with my kids, and watching the stars at night before bed. Instead of spending time with God and being content with what I already had, I was choosing to buy more, which was also costing me time cleaning and managing the great stuff I had bought. It was costing me money in the bank, sure, but it was also costing me energy and stress that wasn’t worth it.
Now, I’m not a shopaholic by any means, but even small things here and there were costing me. Consuming material things was slowly consuming me, by stealing from me in so many ways.
So, what is it for you? Do you struggle with comparing your life to others’? Do you wish you had different skills? Do you want to look different, drive a different car, or talk a different way? What is it for you that’s causing your discontentment?
Once you pinpoint that thing, you’ll start to see things in a different light. I started to notice that I didn’t need a closet full of clothes because I really just wore the same 15 things. So I got rid of all the excess, stopped looking at what other people were wearing, and quit shopping online. I learned that my house is a lot easier to pick up and clean with less in it. I realized I’d rather not stress out about my kid marking up the floors with crayons, so we have less furniture, scratched floors, and our house is full of love and room to play. I learned that we can save and give a lot more when we spend a lot less, and it’s far more fun! I learned that my kids don’t care about their toys; they just want to spend time with us as a family and see or learn new things.
I discovered that the more stuff I bought, the more I thought I needed. But being content wasn’t about consuming more. It was about appreciating what I already had.
Being content means recognizing that God is all we need, and that’s the end of the story. God will take care of our every need, and as it turns out, the secret to more is actually less. We don’t need more trinkets from the gift shop on our vacation, newer furniture, a nicer home, more compliments, better clothes, a different job, or a new haircut to make us happy or content. God asks us to seek Him, and He will fill us completely with all we’ll ever need.