by Josh Lawson

We had been dreaming of doing this renovation for years. It took us months and months to save up the money, and we had finally reached the point where we could pay for it in cash. The contractors came in and did an amazing job and the finished product was immaculate. During this process, my wife and I promised one another that if we could do just this one renovation we would never ask for another thing. This would be the project to end all projects.

But just one week after the project was finished, we sat in our living room and started to board the “Complain Train.” Have you ever been on it too? It goes a little something like this, “This is wrong… yeah and this…. Oh and this… Yeah and this!”

“All aboard the Complain Train! Final destination, misery and despair!”

We had this incredible product that we had always dreamed of, but we were still not satisfied. We still wanted a little bit more.

But haven’t we all been there? We thought those shoes would be the shoes to end all shoes, but 30 minutes after we bought them we were just as miserable as before. Or we thought that as soon as we said “I Do” at the altar, all of our hopes and dreams of feeling loved and accepted would be satisfied. Then the honeymoon happened. Or we think that if we can get a raise then we will finally be able to stop being stressed out by money. But it never happens.

We are never fully satisfied by the things that we think should satisfy us.

What Can Satisfy Us?
Deep in the heart of each of us we are all hungry. We have been constructed with a very legitimate need to be satisfied. But in the brokenness of our world, we believe we can fill that need with stuff. However, God in His kindness (and “smartness”) has created each of us to never fully be satisfied by the things of this world, but instead by Him alone.

The first secret of learning contentment is to realize that our satisfaction is never found in our provision, a place, or a person, but in Jesus alone.

When we are satisfied in Him alone, then everything else has its right place and can be enjoyed.
Let me explain. If I believe that God has given me my wife to be my place to find happiness, I will be constantly demanding her to make me happy. And when we aren’t happy in our marriage, then it must not be God and it must be her fault, so I will toss her out and move on to the next thing to make me happy. However, if I believe that God alone is my place of satisfaction, then I can love and adore my wife without any expectation that she meet a need that only God can. And when good times come, I am content. When bad times come, I am content. Because my contentment is not dependent upon my circumstances or how my wife acts, but on the consistency of the person of Jesus.

The Second Secret to Learning Contentment

The second secret of learning contentment is to be thankful for the provision that God has given you.

Only days before we boarded the “Complain Train,” we were in awe of how beautiful our house was. But as we noticed every little thing that was wrong, it caused us to grow more and more discontent.

The next morning I was reading in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 where it says, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” In that moment, I felt God speak to my heart and say, “Joshua, I want you to be thankful.”

I responded with a bland and robotic, “Yes sir. Thank you.”

Then He spoke again, “No, I want you to actively thank me.”

So I got up from my chair and told Jenny that I thought God wanted us to thank Him for the things in our house that He had given us. She obliged and we began to go room to room and thank God for all the little things we had been given. We sarcastically started with the toaster, “God, thank you for this shiny toaster that we have been given. It creates great toast.”

But as we continued throughout the house, our snarky smiles began to subside and tears welled up in our eyes. By the end of that time, we were weeping on the ground thanking God for His goodness and provision in our lives, and begging for forgiveness for being spoiled brats constantly demanding more but forgetting our past blessings.
We recognized in that moment that we have a good Father God who has always provided for us, but our lack of thankfulness was leading us to forget His goodness and His provision and leading us into deep discontentment.

Thanklessness + Forgetfulness = Discontentment
Thankfulness + Deeper Awareness = Deeper Contentment

Foundations of Contentment

The first two keys to learning the secret of contentment are to:
1) Know that God is our only place of satisfaction
2) Choose to be thankful for the things that God has provided.

As we learn these two keys, it will allow us to enjoy the provision of God with greater freedom and peace.

The Final Key

The third key is the most significant of all in sustaining a contented heart and we will discuss this in our next post!
See you then!

About the Author
Josh Lawson serves as the director of Community Restoration (formerly Financial Restoration Ministry) at Antioch Community Church in Waco, Texas. He is passionate about seeing families set free from the burden of debt and financial stress, so that they are free to walk in the freedom that Christ has for them.

While serving at Antioch Community Church, Josh and his wife Jenny have developed the REALIGN curriculum. During that time the total amount of debt that has been paid off by both class attendees and those receiving financial coaching has been well over $3 Million dollars.

Follow Josh on Twitter: @joshvlawson