AUTARKEIA (GREEK): TO BE FULL AND HAVE COMPLETE SELF-SUFFICIENCY.
“But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanies by contentment.”
1 T I M O T H Y 6 : 6
It doesn’t matter if you are a christian or not, most of us desire to find true contentment in our lives. No one enjoys the feeling that nothing is ever enough or satisfying. Because the exact opposite of contentment is lack. Lack leads us to being needy. And who wants to be needy all the time? Don’t get me wrong, we all have needs! And God even reassures us that He knows those needs even better than we do, but there is a difference between the two.
How NOT to find contentment:
Myth: “I will be content when I…”
- lose this weight
- get this job
- finish school
- find new friends
- make this money
- meet that guy (or girl)
- buy that house
- get that surgery
- look like her (or him)
- am finally recognized
- have a child
- spend all my money
- become somebody
- get this
- accomplish that
The reason these desires do not accomplish what we are looking to do is because we seek to fulfill a spiritual need with materialistic remedies. Our true need (contentment) cannot be found by acting out of our needy behavior. Needy behavior seeks a fleeting and momentary reward of happiness, and it does not seek a continual state or constant filling at which our inner being is satisfied no matter our circumstance, feelings or mood. And let’s be honest, most of us have considered changing something in order to fix the problem of our discontent. And no matter how many times our neediness has kept us in complete lack, we don’t know how else how to find true contentment. This is where we need to renew our mind in order to be transformed.
These are false statements:
“If I only had more, I’d be content.”
“I need this in order to be fulfilled.”
These statements sound so double minded, don’t they? These statements say that we need something to be OK anything. But on the contrary, our goal is to need nothing because we already have everything.
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
How to seek Contentment:
The answer is not material, it is a spiritual relationship with our Heavenly Father. We need to continually remind ourselves that He is absolutely all that we could need (Friend, Father, Love, Savior, Truth, Shield, Provider), this life is so much more than us, and that this is not our eternal home. No matter how you feel about your current circumstance, or that one thing, practice these things daily:
- Broaden your perspective: God is a God that loves you so much and your situation in not a reflection of how He feels about you. We need to remember that there is a whole world out there filled with people who have not yet found the hope and Love that we have and they need us to show them what Love looks like. There are also people out there dying for their faith and they need our prayers. There is someone that you know that needs to be valued or encouraged. Be that encouragement. When we are feeling needy, instead of acting out of that neediness we need to take a step back and look at the world from God’s perspective. His plan reaches to the ends of this earth and He wants us to be a part of it, but we need to look beyond ourselves. This leads us to our next point.
- Give thanks: Once you understand that God wants you to be a part of His plan and story, we become so thankful. Once we realize how God has blesses us with so much, we become thankful. Ask yourself, “what do I lack?” Our initial response is to list off the first 20 things on the top of our heads. It’s easy to make a list. And it’s ok to be there for now. Understand that we are meant to grow with the Lord and expecting us to have it all together now is a false expectation. God already proclaimed us as made new, now we want a new mindset. And instead of listing off things out of neediness, we are going to make a list of all that we are thankful for. We may only find one or two things at first. But, as we continue to broaden our perspective and look at the world from God’s eyes, we see all that He is doing, all that He has already done and how you are able to be a part of His story.
- Stay consistent in love: When you love like Jesus, you become filled with Jesus. And that filling is so fulfilling. When we grow in love by choosing to be a part of the larger story (God’s story), we are able to move past our feelings and frustrations and we are in a new state of mind. We are given a new set of eyes and we are seeing the world with a desire to love and be a part of what He is doing. And that is what will ultimately drive us. That feeling of loving others is so rewarding, and God designed it that way. It feels good when helping others, because we are able to be a part of God’s love story.
Understand that contentment is not like a garment that we are able to put on or take off as we see fit. It is a continual journey of allowing God’s love to grant you perspective, maturity and health which leads contentment. You are blessed, loved and I am praying that you find a community of people that are able to encourage and walk with you on this journey.