Content (and)/or Satisfied?

The cartoon above is indicative of what I believe is a misunderstanding of the two words, content, and satisfied.

Philippians 4 tells us this:

11 “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances12 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. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

The way I have navigated this reality, besides having learned the “secret” myself, having lived as a missionary with very little, and having lived with plenty; is to understand that to be content, is to be perfectly good and at peace with whatever I have and where I am at in my journey… just enough or plenty. God takes care of me either way.

The issue of being satisfied is something different. For example, there is alot I still want to do in my life. There are projects like writing books, developing leaders, and such, things I still want to accomplish. So in that sense I am not “satisfied”, and in life I hope I never am. Why? Because it motivates me to follow through on these things that God has planted in my heart. You will notice, I am content with where I am at, what I have, what I am doing, etc. at the same time I am not satisfied.

If I am not content however, my sense of dis-satisfaction can have me striving to fill up the lack of being content and settled, with more and more of whatever I think is going to fill up what I am trying to fill up. I had a talk with a friend today, and he was sharing how he has chased body building to a fault, bigger and bigger, for no reason. He competes to a fault with everyone. He is angry, edgy, over competitive and has struggled with porn, etc.

The root issue is that he is still trying to prove to his dad that he can be successful, and is still trying to earn his approval. (This is very common). I told him this root has to be taken out by forgiving his dad, and releasing the judgement against himself, because he can never be content under these circumstances. He is driven to fill the hole, but his lack of being content has been traded for dis-satisfaction. When that happens, addictive behavior, greed, competition, and viewing everyone as a rival are the results. Then the final piece, guilt and shame, blaming others, and on and on.

God wants us to be content in all circumstances, then we are settled, have peace, we don’t strive to “reach our potential,” but rather, start walking in our purpose.


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