Contentment vs restlessness

June 17, 2010 — 6 Comments

I find the words contentment and restlessness to be very difficult to distinguish between.

The definitions are:

contentment: Desiring no more than what one has; satisfied. (lack of contentment would be of course wanting more than you have or not satisfied)

Restlessness: characterized by or showing inability to remain at rest: arestless mood; unquiet or uneasy, as a person, the mind, or the heart.

What I find odd is that we as Christians throw the word “contentment” around quite flippantly. It has become this “buzz” word that is vague to most people. What does it mean to be content in the Lord? If we go with the definition doesn’t that really suggest that we should be just happy with what we have and not really interested in wanting more. We are satisfied with what we have been given and it’s good enough for me.

I have given a lot of thought to this lately. I think ultimately we need to be content in God and thats it. I think placing too much stake in contentment for anything else either sets us up for disappointment or paralyzes us from being creative or forging ahead with dreams.

That’s where the word restless comes into play. Sometimes we find ourselves in life no longer content with what or where things are going. No longer satisfied with our location, money, church, job, etc. So we go back and pray that God would help us with our lack of contentment.

This is a good thing because we do want to drill into our heads that everything is but a vapor and in the end God is sovereign. It is also a bad thing, because sometimes it is not a lack of contentment that is the issue it is restlessness. Sometimes God is tugging at our hearts to dream, to move, to change, to create.

I don’t think it is easy to decipher the difference if it is lack of contentment or God making us restless. That is where prayer and fasting come into play.

We as christians need to make sure we are deciphering between the two as we move through our daily lives because God could be tugging at our hearts and itching to do big things thru us and we in turn could be stifling His great work because we are too concerned that our lack of contentment is a sure sign we are no longer relying on God.

Be still and know…it is a verse about clear cut clarity. Make sure you seek it out.

 

 

Joel Klampert

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6 responses to Contentment vs restlessness

  1. Joel, this is the exact thing I have been struggling with in my life recently. I have been in a constant state of wanting for so long, I don’t think I could recognize the difference between the Lord pulling strings and my own desires. Thanks for the reminder. It was greatly needed.

  2. It’s the source of contentment and the source of restlessness that differentiates the two. We are supposed to pursue God but be content in what we have (stuff). Restlessness, to me, has the connotation of not being happy with your lot in life, job, career, marriage, etc. And, by that definition would be the opposite of contentment.

    And may I submit this passage:

    1 Timothy 6:6-11

    6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.

  3. yes bridget we actually went over those versus in my mens group last week. great points.
    I don’t agree actually the restlessness is opposite of contentment.
    I think you can be content and at same time have a sense of restlessness. Sometimes you don’t know why you have that feeling.
    Sometimes something just feels off even though you are content with everything and God.
    And sometimes I think God puts that feeling in our hurts to spur us on to seek him and see what He has for us.

  4. Nice!
    I always need a reality check as to where God is calling me and where He has me in re present. Trusting Him in the now, in hope of Gods plan for tommorrow.

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