Defying Discontentment

Jennifer teaches on discontentment and how to dig it up and out of your life and pursue Satisfaction Through Christ (alone!)

Do your thoughts ever take you by surprise?

Mine sure do. And not always in a good way.

I was enjoying some quiet time on our front porch recently. My husband and four oldest were at Vacation Bible School, and the two youngest were tucked into bed. I was savoring the last few minutes of daylight, enjoying the soft sounds of birds chirping and a train’s horn sounding in the distance. Lightning bugs were dotting the landscape of our yard, flashing glimmers of yellow-green against the sunset backdrop behind the mountains. A more idyllic evening I cannot imagine.

“Ah, perfection,” I sighed. But then my thoughts continued:

“Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a swing out here?”


Just like that, my blissful bubble burst as I became aware of my sin.

Yes, sin.

A home with a front porch has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. God granted that desire and many others eighteen months ago in the form of our home. A home which has been used by God in amazing ways for ministry and love and service and learning and growing.

But instead of being content with God’s super-abundant provision, my mind was concocting a new wish list.

How true the proverb: “The eyes of man are never satisfied” (27:20).

Here’s what I have to remind myself regularly: [Tweet “Material things will never bring lasting fulfillment.”] There will always be something newer…something bigger…something better…or just something different.

It’s important to use this truth to keep our thoughts in check…and to encourage our children to do the same.

Like when my son debates about which video game accessory will be his next choice…as he examines the products displayed on the back of a box containing a brand new item he has just received.

Or when my children marvel about the ginormous homes in a neighborhood we drive through frequently.

Or when my eye begins to wander toward a newer model cell phone, laptop, or e-reader.

Or even when I want something as simple as a porch swing.

You see, there’s nothing wrong with any of those things. But it’s important to realize that if I had those things, I would be wanting other things. And recalling this truth can help curb my desire for things. It helps me to recognize the sin and the trap of discontentment.

Because here’s the truth: no thing will bring lasting fulfillment.

"Lasting fulfillment comes from knowing God and making Him known." Christian quote from Satisfaction Through Christ blog

[Tweet “We will only ever find true satisfaction and fulfillment in Christ.”]

That’s why Paul could say he had learned to be content in any circumstance (Philippians 4:11-13). Because no matter the circumstance, he still had Jesus. And that was enough.

If we drink from His living water, we’ll never thirst again (John 4:14).

And when I fix my gaze on Him…

basking in the delight of His presence

remembering Who He is…

and recalling the abundance of grace He has lavished on me, undeserving as I am…

those other things that allure my sight have a way of just…fading away.


Jennifer Optimized Signature

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Loving child of Almighty God, adoring wife, and homeschooling mother of three, I am active in teaching and music ministries in my local church. I am passionate about encountering my Savior and about encouraging other women to do the same. It would be an honor to have you visit me at A Divine Encounter!

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  1. says

    Excellent. In 2013 I pledged to buy nothing new for my home. Candles were excluded although I had to use one up before I bought a new. It was liberating! And certainly helped in contentment. I’d shop my house to change things up. Great article, Jennifer.

  2. Debbie @ says

    Loved the post! It seems there is always something new to think we need, I enjoyed the reminder of God’s fulfillment.

  3. says

    Thank you for this important reminder! My husband has had three heart attacks since Valentine’s Day. At first it was so easy just to be grateful for him living through it… now I struggle with really wanting him back on his feet… wanting his rehab to go more quickly… and so on. Not that I’m not grateful that he’s alive… but human nature being what it obviously is….

    • says

      Oh my, Elisabeth! You’ve had a heavy burden to bear, and a lot on your plate, I’m sure! I just took a moment to pray for your husband’s continued recovery and good health, and for extra grace and strength for you in the meantime. I’m trusting God’s faithfulness to His promise that He will be with you both, strengthening you, helping you, and holding you in His hand (Isaiah 41:10). Thank you for sharing your heart!

    • says

      Hello, Stephanie! It’s a common and ongoing struggle, isn’t it? May our God ever draw our gaze toward Him, where true satisfaction can always be found. Thank you for reading!

  4. Vicki Sellers says

    Thank you Jennifer…we just had a message about peace and contentment at church this past Sunday and then i saw a link to your blog on Pinterest through “Gods Simple Plan for Peace” WHICH i found after having a conversation and prayer with my 15 year old daughter last night about trusting God for peace when it comes to not sleeping well because of fears…I know without a doubt that God is confirming to me that she and I both need to understand and grow more in the peace and contentment department…Thank you for your blog and for what God is doing through you..I look forward to reading more of your blogs in the future!! Have a blessed day. Vicki Sellers

    • says

      Hello, Vicki! Thank you so much for taking the time to get in touch! It’s wonderful to hear about how God is working in the lives of His children, and it’s very refreshing to see Him use His children to encourage each other. Thank you for the way you’re raising your daughter to look expectantly to God for her every need. I’m certain it will have a powerful impact in her life, and in the lives of those who are observing you raise her for His glory! I look forward to more interactions with you in the future 🙂

  5. normaleverydaylifeblog says

    Great post! Discontentment so easily creeps in. I love the example of your son planning his next video game while he’s looking at the new one he just opened. So true for me and my kids sometimes! #Be.You.Tiful

    • says

      It’s so common, we scarcely notice it! I’m thankful for God’s Spirit and His Word which illumine the sin in the furthest recesses of our hearts.

  6. says

    This is a great post! It takes discipline to avoid living in this trap or discontentment. My boys used to love to dream of this or that car… and would ask me, “Mom, what car do you like best in the whole world?” i would always answer with the name of the car we owned. That frustrated them, but I told them that this is the car God has provided for us and this is my favorite right now – until He provides another one, then my favorite will change to that. 🙂 They finally got the “point” of it… and they don’t ask me the question anymore, and I hope they have started to learn the lesson of contentment… I say started because I think it is an ongoing lesson we will be learning for our whole life. Thank you for posting this. 🙂

    • says

      I love your illustration of teaching contentment by example! May our God’s personal provision for us, His children, always be “our favorite.” 🙂

  7. says

    I love this post. Thank you so much for sharing at the Growing in Grace Link Up. At the moment, I am discontented with our floors. How silly of me! I’ll be sharing on facebook shortly as well.

    • says

      Thanks, Nicole! It’s kind of you to share your own feelings of discontentment, so others may benefit as well. The more aware we are of discontentment in its various forms, the more alert we’ll be to its poisons. Thank you for reading, and for sharing with others!

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