Is it apparent to you what the common theme of most advertisements is? How about the messages we receive on social media? The goal of most advertising is to convince you that “you need this” or “your life could be better if…” and in social media, we often receive the message that we’re not doing enough in life, because it seems like everyone else is doing so much better and more.
How can we be content, when we always feel like we’re lacking in something? This is the question I’ve been wrestling with lately, and I’m grateful that God has been revealing the secret of contentment to me!
Social media is an expert at making us feel less, or I could say, giving others a platform to project that they are more. What we see on social media is only what the person who is sharing wants us to see, which of course will be the highlights. Don’t expect anyone to broadcast their life trials - until they’ve conquered them at least. At which point, they will be broadcasting about the conquest of their trials, and not so much on the trials themselves.
The comparison culture that exists on social media is so dangerous because it convinces us to believe that our value comes from the positive engagement our posts generate, in comparison to others. This is not an accurate measure of our worth, yet many fall victim to it and consequently develop an inaccurate and discouraged view of themselves.
In my life, I’ve been trying to understand the difference between what I should strive for and what I should be content with. I don’t want to fall into complacency, nor do I want to strive in vain. Where is the balance? One of my greatest fears is missing out on my potential! Do I have a good enough job? What about where I live, is that good enough? Should I be doing more with my life, or am I doing too much!? These questions weigh heavy on my conscience, and I’m glad that I’ve had some time to take them to God.
What’s our hope, if we never have or never are enough? The trick is not to attain that “thing” that’ll finally prove our worth and bring contentment. The trick is to recognize that we already have it! Philippians 4:19 reminds us that “God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” This might take a reexamination of what our needs are, but it is comforting to know that they are taken care of!
For those things that we realize aren’t really needs, but rather just desires of ours, it’s nice to know that God even cares about them too! In Philippians 4:6, we’re told that we should bring our requests to God, and not worry about them!
The Apostle Paul is the author of this book (Philippians) that I continue to pull encouragement from, and at the time that he wrote it, he was imprisoned! In verse 11 of this same chapter, as he is receiving some gifts from his friends in Philippi, he expresses that he is thankful for their gifts, but encourages them not to be concerned about him, as he has learned the secret of being content in all circumstances. Can we do that? Or does our contentment often come with conditions?
Are we content if we lose a job, or get broken-up with, or if someone we love passes away? While I don’t mean to undermine the difficulty of those situations, we should remember that situations in life change, but we can root our contentment in The One that is unchanging. We can choose to live life in light of the fact that Jesus sacrificed His life for us and that we have a God who loves us, protects us, and provides for our needs.
Despite the temptation to worry about how my life could be better, I’ve chosen to adopt the perspective of being grateful for what I already have and recognize that even if I had nothing, I would still have enough to be content about.
|Photo Dillon took on his journey to contentment in Lansing|
Dillon is Inheritance of Hope's Technology Manager. A version of this devotional was first shared with the February 2020 Orlando Legacy Retreat team. Read more Inheritance of Hope blog posts >>