Contentment. It goes against everything this fast-paced, materialistic world screams at me to be. Amidst the whirl of busyness that blends weeks into months, it leans in and quietly whispers ‘When is enough going to be enough?’
If I am looking for my happiness in material things the answer will always be ‘never.’ No amount of security, wealth or prestige will ever be sufficient to infuse life with love, joy and happiness. They are qualities from a different realm, not summed up on spread sheets or built up in bank accounts.
Life has a way of pushing me along its tracks, a locomotive chugging with relentless force. It takes a concerted effort to be free from this force, to lift my head from the grind and look around at the views that actually give meaning to life. We need certain things to live, but it is a sad life that lives for those things.
The Bible has a lot to say on this subject, but one of the verses I’ve been looking at lately is this:
Hebrews chapter 13 verse 5 (NIV) – ‘Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”'
Looking out for others
Money can buy a lot of things, but the love of it can outdo its physical provisions with its inward destruction. It is a selfish love, a love that seeks personal gain rather than the good of others. It is easy to devote my life to looking out for myself, that is the natural course of things, but when I start looking out for others I find my life takes on a depth and meaning I never thought possible. The irony of it – the more I look out for the happiness of others the more my own happiness increases!
But, being content with what I have is hard to do when constantly comparing myself to those around me, especially when what I’m seeing is only half the picture. Social media gives off the illusion of peers living idyllic successful lives, arousing envy and jealousy from their series of highlights without ever seeing the ups and downs in-between.
I think being content is about knowing that you have all you need to live a fulfilling and satisfying life. You don’t need any extra things to bring your life up a level; the building blocks are already at your disposal.
God is enough
As a Christian, my relationship with God is my source of happiness and fulfilment. His promise to never leave me, never forsake me, enables me to live a life of confidence that I will always have a firm rock to stand upon. My security is not in paper and numbers but in a God whose word never fails.
It is hard to resist the urge to ‘need’ more things to have a better life. Every corner in life has a billboard promising more fun if you just get this one more thing. Just one shinier toy, one more piece of plastic. But God quietly whispers ‘I am here, I won’t leave. I am enough for you.’
Thomas Devenish lives in Hobart, Tasmania. He works as a motion designer and enjoys the diverse experiences life has to offer, from wake-boarding to curling up with a good book on a rainy day.
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