Truly Content or Insta-Content, Do We Even Know The Difference?

She looks so happy. Why can’t I be that happy? I guess because she has ________, and I don’t.

They say money can’t buy happiness, but he sure is making a great case to argue that. Why doesn’t my family love me that much? I guess because I can’t ______ like he can.

Thoughts we think while scrolling through Instagram. Am I right? Discontentment is something many of us feel much more often than we let the rest of the world know. But make no mistake – we are all equally susceptible to it. Everyone, everywhere, no matter what body shape or socioeconomic status.

Discontentment is something many of us feel much more often than we let the rest of the world know.

The popular way to fix it is to settle for a fake joy. We use a false measure of reality based on everyone else’s perception to convince the world that we are content. If we can manage do that, well, we can find contentment in pretending to be content. 

….What?

Here we are, a bunch of affirmation-needing, confidence-starved, people-pleasers running around desperately trying to win or steal the next approval. 

There are lots of voices offering tips, books with 5-step pathways to so-called freedom, “experts” (who are just as lost as the rest of us) telling us we need to “learn to be content.” What does that even mean? It can’t be that surface-level. The brand of vulnerability it takes to wash off the makeup of happiness seems to be way out of any realistic price range. We can’t afford it because we spend everything on pretending to be what we wish we could have.

The brand of vulnerability it takes to wash off the makeup of happiness seems to be way out of any realistic price range.

So we continue the cycle, spending our time and effort faking it instead of pursuing a real solution, or the real solution-holder.

THE SOLUTION

Is there a real solution? Yes, but before we uncover it, we have to call out the real problem. The deeply rooted issue is not whether we are content or discontent, it’s why we are one or the other. And if we dare go that deep, it means the fix is not a feeling. Nor is it something we learn to experience. There aren’t enough clothes in the dress-up closet to cover this realness up.

It has to be something we become; a soul-deep transformation that can only come from an external power.

Is there a real solution? Yes

You guessed it, Jesus. It sounds cliche? Maybe that’s because we’ve allowed it to be a band-aid for too long instead of the lifeline it’s meant to be. We are offered fulfillment in exchange for the choice to have faith; a decision to trust. What kind of exchange is that? A supernatural one that only a loving God could give. 

“…in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11

In YOUR presence. At YOUR right hand. Not mine. Yours.

There is relief in that inability to control. We don’t have to wait on circumstances or manipulate feelings to be content. We have enough to fill us up right now, wherever we are, no matter what.

You better believe Satan’s nightmares are painted with images of hearts that no longer bear the pressure to be good enough. Can you imagine, a group of people walking around without the need to please in THIS day and time? What would happen? A whole lot of Jesus sharing, that’s for sure. 

THINK

Look into your own heart and mind for a moment. Are you content? Dig into where it comes from. Discontent? Be honest with yourself about why. A mixture? That’s OK.

APPLY

What does this solution look like practically? That’s always the question that causes the bridge to crumble between words that sound good and real-life application. So here it is:

  • Open your Bible
  • Talk to Jesus
  • Prioritize communication (hint: the popularity of your next caption is not what you need most, so don’t let it be what you seek first)
  • Stop waiting for it all to make sense, just keep going

Yep. Pursuit of the solution-holder. It’s that simple.

Nothing else will ever be able to fill that black hole of need inside. It isn’t friend-shaped, social media followers-shaped, boss-shaped. It’s not even church-shaped. It’s Jesus-shaped. And until we grasp and walk in that, we will continuously be a slave to seeking contentment in the very things that rob us of it. The good news is that he wants us to be full of life and joy. His intent is that we should lack nothing because He is everything. When we stop trying to find and create contentment on our own, we can open our hands to accept the free gift of it that has already been created. 

It’s only a daily decision away. Believe it. Claim it. Become it.

Further Reading:

“The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble” Proverbs 19:23

“The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail” Isaiah 58:11

“…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances…I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13

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