The Simplicity of Contentment

The following is a Guest Post by Megan Hasten. You can learn more about her & her adventures on her blog “I’ve Been Meaning To Tell You“.

Sea by macieklew

After being newly married to a supportive and devoted husband for several months, contentment came up in conversation. Jay asked me if I was satisfied with our life. The question hit me hard because while my first inclination was to say, “Of course!” I realized I’d never really felt satisfaction before. Honestly, I think it’s a lifestyle more than something you acquire, but still, I’d never lived satisfaction. There was always a next step that was going to make everything better, something else to strive for and work for.

I look back and realize, in so many ways, that mentality stole from me things I will never get back because I never stopped to look side to side and smile at how far the Lord had brought me. I didn’t want the trend to continue, so I scoured the Word for every verse or mention of satisfaction and came to one very un-American conclusion, which I’m sure I’ll get hate mail for.

Ambition is counter to contentment.

I can have one OR the other. Admittedly we all want the best things in life, but the climb-the-ladder, do-anything-to-reach-the-top mentality is antithetical to finding peace. If I make it, I’ll likely be lonely and if I don’t, I’ll likely be lonely.

Ecclesiastes tells me that man “takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand” (NIV Eccl. 5:15b).

The common denominator is that what I’m climbing for isn’t at the top; it’s at the bottom. My roots, the basics. I’m so afraid of being boring, of not achieving, that I don’t allow myself time to perfect being still, appreciating where I am.

I know this much: the simpler the moment, the more satisfied I am. Sitting in a hammock on a summer afternoon watching lightening bugs. My husband’s hand on the small of my back. Watching TV with my dogs. Sliced tomatoes with my lunch.

I need to find that quiet, uncluttered space that allows me to find contentment in the incredible ways the Lord provides, and satisfaction in the work the Lord is doing now.

Henry Thoreau wrote a great deal about simplicity. One of my favorite quotes reads, “When we are unhurried and wise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and lasting existence—that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of reality,” (HDT, “What I Lived For”).

I need to slow down. I need to work hard but not work too hard. I need to make quiet moments with the Lord and with those I love a priority, and focus on finding my worth and my future in Him alone. He’ll lead me when and where He desires and my only job is to practice patience and obedience.

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all of our days.” NIV, Psalm 90:14