Contentment

Are you contented?

I’d speculate that many folks wouldn’t even view “contentment” as a worthy goal. Our culture values striving, achieving, growing, and winning. We seem to fear contentment, as though even a moment’s rest will allow some unseen competitor to gain an advantage. Contentment almost sounds like laziness.

As with most important issues, true contentment involves balance. At one extreme we live in constant anxiety, avoiding any measure of peace or even satisfaction. It’s a constant state of fear that we’re missing something, as though the next opportunity will escape if we let down our guard and turn off the radar.

At the other extreme we become complacent. We’ve met the requirements, done enough, and now it’s time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of our effort. Complacency implies a sort of apathy or uncritical satisfaction with past success. Complacency fosters an unexamined, unaware existence with little concern for “giving back” in any meaningful manner.

Authentic contentment involves moving away from both extremes. It involves a healthy acceptance and enjoyment of present accomplishments combined with a quiet, introspective approach to effective next steps. It’s letting go of that ever-present, undefined fear of rest and contemplation.

It’s one of those mysterious paradoxes. As we allow ourselves to quiet the fear that generates hyper-activity, as we slow a bit and permit some moments of examination, peace, and re-charging our energy, we’re actually able to contribute and achieve much more effectively.

I’d guess that we all tend toward one end or the other of the spectrum. We’re either constantly anxious or a bit too settled and self-satisfied. I hope we can all find ways this week to move toward real contentment.

Which way do you tend to lean? What can you do this week to restore a healthy sense of contentment?

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Dixon
Copyright 2010 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

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