3 Ways to Cultivate Contentment (when you’re longing for the next BIG THING)

Her response was quite simple, yet increasingly profound as I studied her words. “I have to ask my mom first, I’m only sixteen!” said my new cousin-by-marriage Rachel Myrick.

It’s often moments like this, in the mundane, everyday, casual conversations where the Lord really works in my heart.

I knew he didn’t want me to miss these simple words spoken in response to the question “can you come over tonight?”

When I was sixteen years old, I wasn’t “only sixteen.” I didn’t “have to ask my mom first.”

I was an entitled teenager who demanded my parents let me do as I please, and threw a huge pity party when they didn’t allow me to go out with my friends.

The next season of my life couldn’t come faster. I focused so much on the future that it deteriorated my character and completely robbed me of joy during my later years of growing up.

I was so transfixed on the next best thing, that I couldn’t enjoy the benefits and wonderful things of the season of life I was in.

Now that I’m married, I realize there is a constant battle in my heart for contentment.

I’m right where I wanted to be all those years ago, yet I have a bad habit of wandering into the anxieties of the future.

I want to share with you three key steps I’m implementing in my life to cultivate a heart of contentment, no matter what season of life I’m in, from here on out.

Working for What’s to Come

Have you ever had a dream to do something seriously meaningful?

Maybe it’s overseas mission work. Maybe it’s motherhood. Or maybe, it’s advancing in your career in order to make enough money to make a huge impact on the world through your giving.

Whatever it is, it’s easy to let everyday annoyances mock you into believing what you’re doing doesn’t matter.

But what if you started believing that God is answering your prayers?

That he has you where you need to be, he will lead you to where he wants you to go, and he isn’t just trying to confuse you?

What if we dared to believe that what we’re doing today, in the seemingly meaningless “in-between” seasons are actually critical for eternity?

for we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7, ESV)

One of my favorite quotes by artist Ruth Chou Simons is “you don’t have to be blooming to be growing.” In other words, you won’t cross huge milestones every single month (or year). When your season is one of waiting, don’t overlook the growth God has given you over the long term.

Embrace the truth that what you’re doing now is exactly what God is using to prepare you for what’s to come.

Suffocate the lies that the mundane isn’t building your character, that a tiny act of love didn’t brighten that stranger’s life, and that you need to be doing the next big thing right this moment.

God will let you know when it’s time. He knows how best to use you.

Attitude of Gratitude

Grumbling. Over and over that’s what we see the Israelites did in the Old Testament when God didn’t answer to every wish and heart’s desire they had.

They didn’t trust in the faithfulness of God’s character and discounted his promises when the situation looked bleak.

Their desolate hearts were void of humility and caused them to worship unworthy idols.

I have to admit when I feel I’m in the wilderness of waiting I have to beg the Lord to give me a grateful heart.

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18, ESV)

The truth is, there is always something to be grateful for, even in the midst of horrific tragedy.

No matter the circumstances, the unfailing truth of Jesus’ sacrificial atonement on our behalf remains.

Even if our situation leaves us in despair beyond belief, when we cry out to the Lord he will comfort us with his presence, and that alone is worthy of our praise and thanksgiving.

The Lord is My Treasure

 Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4, ESV)

One of the best questions we can ask ourselves in this journey of choosing contentment over want is, “what is my greatest treasure?”

If that answer is anything but Jesus, friend, we will be disappointed.

There’s this one line in a song that I dearly love that shakes my heart every time I listen to it:

“The only thing I want in life, is to be known for loving Christ.” She goes on to shout, “All I once held dear I will leave behind. For my joy is this, oh the cause of Christ.”

(The Cause of Christ, Kari Jobe)

I get it. You have big dreams, you have plenty of items on your “bucket list”. Your planner is filled with goals just waiting to be completed.

I’m right there with you. I want to accomplish great things in my life, leave a legacy worth remembering, and use my life to positively impact many others.

But the greatest treasure on all of the earth and heaven is Jesus Christ.

No purpose is greater, no calling higher, no legacy is worth more than knowing Christ and desiring him above all else.

Nothing else will satisfy, nothing else sustains, none other has the salvation power we all so desperately need.

We have full and complete access to the Lord because of Jesus, only Jesus!

Reflect on Your Heart

What’s your greatest desire? Do you want the Savior above all else, or do you want to serve the Savior in the way you desire most?

Cultivating a heart of contentment is no easy feat, especially if, like me, you have a habit of wanting what’s next before appreciating what’s now.

But when your treasure is Jesus, you will know complete contentment, despite your situation, because if you delight in him he will give more of himself to you.

Leave behind all you once held dear, and let Christ content your heart with his presence.

If you want more biblical encouragement on this topic, check out my mini post What to do When Your Plans are Exhausting You

4 thoughts on “3 Ways to Cultivate Contentment (when you’re longing for the next BIG THING)

  1. It’s crazy and wonderful how the Lord has been teaching us similar things in different ways – He’s so amazing and knows how we all struggle in this area! I love how you make it clear that our everyday tasks have eternal impact, and that Christ is the secret to contentment. I hope and pray that our legacy would be as those who love Christ with everything we have. So thankful for your wise counsel and encouragement!

    1. What a wonderful prayer, my friend! I agree! And, it is so amazing how God teaches the same lessons differently in different seasons of life. I think it’s so beneficial to learn from people who are going through the same seasons of life, but it can be really profound to look to those who are older AND younger to see just how limited our perspectives are… and it is neat how the Lord ministers hearts with the same truth, differently. I love learning from the things he’s teaching you lately, too!

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