Happiness is something we all want, but sometimes it feels hard to find. Somewhere down the line, we’ve bought into the lie that in order to be happy, we need to keep up with everyone else. If we could just buy a house, start a family, get a better car, secure a promotion, or take a more lavish vacation, we’d finally be happy.
In Philippians 4:11-12, we get a glimpse of someone who has found the key to real, lasting happiness. It’s found in contentment: being happy with where we’re at in life and what we have, no matter what.
God wants you to be content. When you’re content with what you have in life, you’ll experience more gratitude and have more trust in God's plan. Being content helps us focus on what's truly important in life and helps us let go of the unnecessary pressures our culture places on us.
So how do we let go of the constant striving and learn to be content?
6 ways to be content with what you have in life
1. Remain grateful in all situations
Gratitude is the first step to happiness. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 reminds us to "be thankful in all circumstances." Even if you don’t feel grateful, when you train your mind to focus on gratitude, it doesn’t take long for your heart to follow.
2. Get comfortable with delayed gratification
You've probably heard of instant gratification. Ariana Grande sums it up best in her song, “7 Rings: “I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it.”
Many of us have adopted that mindset, whether we realize it or not. We may not be swiping the credit card every time we see something we want, but many of us have probably felt impatient with our hopes and desires. We want things to work out right now.
But there’s great value in getting comfortable with the discomfort of waiting. Proverbs 21:5 tells us that patience leads to good results. That might look like saving up for an expensive upgrade or waiting to buy a house until the market shifts. Practicing patience helps us grow in our contentment, giving us a deeper appreciation for what we have.
3. Quit comparing
It’s been said that comparison is the thief of joy. It’s tempting to set our goals based on what we see around us, but the problem with this is that our goalpost will constantly shift.
Galatians 6:4-5 advises, " Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct."
4. Let go of perfectionism
Many of us struggle with perfectionism. Oftentimes we have a vision of what our lives will look like, expecting ourselves to hit certain milestones financially and relationally at specific times. But our lives don’t typically pan out the way we expect them to, and it can be hard to let go of the ideals we thought we’d measure up to.
Letting go of perfectionism matters for our contentment, but it also matters for our salvation. To truly believe the Gospel – the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins and made it possible for us to spend eternity in Heaven – we need to acknowledge that we aren’t perfect (Romans 3:23). We can’t be. And that’s why God sent Christ!
5. Put God first
To be truly happy, we need to make God the most important part of our lives. When we seek God first, everything else falls into place. Matthew 6:33 says, "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
We aren’t guaranteed to get everything we want when we choose to put God over our material desires, but we are promised to get everything we need.
6. Keep one eye on eternity
At the end of the day, the possessions or status we acquire in life won’t come with us when we die. While our life here on Earth is important, it’s a small blip compared to what’s to come.
Earthly things are temporary, but our connection with God is eternal. When we remember this, our problems seem smaller, and we can settle into true contentment. In 2 Corinthians 4:18, we're reminded, "So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever."
True happiness comes from contentment, and contentment comes from following these simple, yet powerful, lessons from the Bible. If you’d like to learn more about how to be content with what you have in life, check out these resources
3 Lies We Believe About Money & the Truths to Master Them
What to Do When You Feel Like You’re Not Good Enough
Or listen to this episode of the Live Changed Podcast, where our hosts have an honest conversation about faith, comparison, and how to achieve contentment in life.
The Live Changed Podcast is produced by LCBC Church. LCBC stands for Lives Changed By Christ. We are one church in multiple locations across Pennsylvania. Subscribe to the Live Changed Podcast wherever you listen to podcasts!