Finding Contentment

By Jill Briscoe

What’s going on inside you?  Are you sitting under the gripe tree griping?  Are you holding together or are you falling apart?  When we are content with the choices God makes for us, we can respond rightly to everything life throws at us in all its shades and shadows.  In other words, when we say a loud YES to God’s decisions for us, we will find ourselves content? 

Our life does not have to be in turmoil for us to be discontented and griping.  One thing that can get us griping so that we lose our joy is not crisis but comparisons.  These usually begin with the words if only.  Think of the Israelites.  They lamented: “If only we were back in Jerusalem!”  “If only” is the language of discontent.  If only I lived there instead of here, I’d be happy.  If only I was pretty, sporty, or clever like so—and—so.  Or, if only I was married.  Then, if only I wasn’t married!   (Someone said that marriage is like a besieged city—everyone inside is trying to get out, and everyone outside is trying to get in!)  “If only I had a baby, “lamented a woman who was struggling with infertility.  She found she was comparing herself to her classmates, who all seemed to be pregnant.  She had never suspected that she could not get pregnant when she wanted and how she wanted.  As a result, she lost her joy.  “If only I had a more interesting job—like my best friend,” complained another woman.  But contentment isn’t dependent on outside circumstances (good or bad, men or women, jobs, or even having children.  I have come to believe that the content of contentment is Christ!

We must be in the will of God to be content.  When you believe you are exactly where God wants you to be, you won’t be happy anywhere else in the whole wide world!  Even if you feel you are sitting by the waters of Babylon as the Israelites were, you should know you cannot be truly happy outside the will of God.  When we lay our complaints down about His workings in our life, we will be held together inside.  In fact, the dictionary defines contentment as “to hold in or contain together”!

As I struggled as a young wife with being content with a husband who traveled a lot, I realized I would only be fully content if I and he were in the center of God’s will.  Since I believed it was God’s will for Stuart to be doing what he had been called and commissioned to do, I knew I would not be happy if he were home!  That mental acceptance helped my heart to begin its journey toward the peace I had been seeking.  Peace of heart and mind, after all, is not dependent on a person but on being in the center of God’s calling on your life.  Therein lies peace and therein lies an inner cohesiveness that only the Holy Spirit can engineer.

What’s going on inside you?  Are you sitting under the gripe tree griping?  Are you holding together or are you falling apart?  When we are content with the choices God makes for us, we can respond rightly to everything life throws at us in all its shades and shadows.  In other words, when we say a loud YES to God’s decisions for us, we will find ourselves content!  In fact the word aye (yes) is used in the British House of Commons as an affirmation vote.  It has often been hard for me to glance heavenward and say aye to God’s plans and purposes for my life.  But a life of saying “yes, Lord” makes it easier to accept God’s no’s when they come.  So to be content, we must determine to stay in the will of God, accepting what the will of God allows.

Enjoy the articles JBU has compiled on finding contentment to help you embrace your circumstances and ultimately find peace.

It doesn’t happen overnight. I call it “the grumbles” - a gradual seeping in of negative thoughts. Life can be hard. But God is faithful and, as we cling to Him, He will show us how to live and love. more

Emotional Health

How often have you thought "If only my circumstances would change, then I’d be happy!"? Why do we struggle so with discontentment? more


The secret to defeating comparison is to simply remember that God wants to use you in the place of His calling - a place that only you can fill. more

Self Esteem

Envy is an equal opportunity foe. Learn how to battle envy when it strikes and transform envy with gratitude. Gratitude is the key to your victory over envy. more

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Handling discontentment requires that we lose ourselves and our possessions completely to the Lord. He calls us to sacrifice our wants for the needs of others and find our true worth in Him. more

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Envy is rooted in a basic discontent with ourselves and is often expressed through jealousy over someone else’s opportunity. more

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Be careful...before you know it, social networking can breed a discontented heart. more


Three transforming truths to silence your inner critic. more

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How we, as pastors' wives, can learn to be content with ourselves even when others are not. more

Pastors' Wives

Finding real contentment that only comes through Christ. more

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Learning to see that every season of your life has something magnificently ordered by God for you to learn and do. more

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Whatever contentment issues you face, God desires to give you all the strength you need to live a contented life. more

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Advice on materialism - learning how to lead a “God-filled” life instead of a “stuff-filled” life. more

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How do we pray with faith when there's no guarantee our desires will be granted? more


How do we embrace life – living fully, joyfully, and passionately with faith, hope, and trust – even as our hearts ache with unmet desires? more

Relationship with God