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  • Writer's pictureRenikko Bivens

Finding Serenity: 'Godliness with Contentment' as the Key

Updated: Nov 19, 2023

I have never had a dream car, and I have never had a dream house. I didn't realize just how peculiar this situation was until I found myself among my peers, listening to them discuss their dream cars and ideal homes, complete with details about the bedrooms, bathrooms, and even an outdoor pool. Then the conversation came to me, and I was like, well, I've never really thought about it. Being young at the time, I started to feel like I should desire more from life. Perhaps my ambitions were not lofty enough. That marked the beginning of the hamster wheel.

When I finished my undergraduate studies, people asked, "What will you do next?" When I purchased my first house, people asked, "Is this a starter home?" When I started my career, I was often asked, "How long until you try for a promotion?" Along the way, I got married and had a child, which led to a different question: "Do you want more kids?" Despite these personal milestones, I vividly recall the sense of relief and accomplishment I felt when I completed my clinical requirement, passed the exam, and finally allowed myself to breathe. Then, people begin to ask, "Now what? Are you going to become a supervisor?"

One day, while sitting in my office, I found myself staring at the wall. A sudden realization began to dawn on me: I was trapped in a set of circumstances that I no longer wanted to be a part of. However, I was there because I was too deeply invested to change direction. I felt stuck, unhappy, and depressed.

I remember scheduling an appointment and utilizing the company's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services. The therapist told me that I was burned out. It was necessary for me to take some time away to truly figure out my identity and desires. I told her that at this stage in my life, this could be detrimental to my career. She said it was detrimental for me to continue living in the state that I was in - unfulfilled, unhappy, and depressed.

I believe that at some point in time, we've all been victims of the pressure to obtain more, acquire more, desire more, or aspire for more. The hustle is a part of Western culture, and many of us have been thrust into the chaos. The pressure, stress, and competitiveness are some of the reasons why we live in one of the most depressed cultures in the world. We are constantly striving to achieve more, holding onto our accomplishments, or feeling inadequate for not being able to obtain what we have set out to conquer. It's a perpetual cycle without an end. However, there is a special group of people; they are in the minority, but they exist, they are the content ones.

What is Contentment?
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13 NKJV

To be content means to feel mentally and emotionally satisfied, as well as at peace, with your present situation, circumstances, or possessions. It is characterized by embracing your present circumstances, rather than constantly striving for more or longing for something different or better. Contentment does not imply complacency or a lack of ambition. Instead, it means finding joy and satisfaction in the present moment while simultaneously striving towards goals and aspirations. We get trapped on the hamster wheel when we start pursuing goals and aspirations solely for the purpose of finding contentment. Do you see the difference?

Contentment is a positive emotional state that arises from gratitude, acceptance, and maintaining a balanced perspective on life's challenges. It is often seen as a valuable and sustainable source of happiness because it does not depend on external factors or the constant pursuit of more to maintain one's well-being.

Godliness and Contentment
“Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” 1 Timothy 6:6-7 NKJV

Embracing godliness with contentment offers numerous advantages. This combination promotes inner peace by reducing stress, depression, and anxiety. It frees us from the never-ending chase for material possessions, allowing us to appreciate what truly matters, such as relationships, personal growth, and a stronger connection with Christ. Contentment fosters generosity, compassion, and resilience, empowering us to better navigate life's challenges. It serves as a reminder that true wealth is not measured by material possessions but by one's relationship with Christ and a contented heart. It is a sure path towards a more fulfilling and purposeful life.


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