A while back, as I scrolled through Instagram, I saw a post from one of those “hustlers.” You know who I’m talking about. The people who always boast about how they’re hustling, how they’re entrepreneurs, how they’ve got like five different forms of income and they’re always the busiest people they know. The post said something about how if you’re content with where your life is, then you’re not growing.
“Well, that’s not super Biblical,” I thought to myself and kept scrolling.
But contentment was such a huge part of my holiday season that it’s stuck with me. For the first time in my entire life, I am more than happy, I am content and let me tell you… the difference is huge.
It’s 2021, which means it’s been ten years since I graduated high school—a fact that simultaneously makes me feel really old and really young. When I was a bright eyed, skinny seventeen year old, there was one word that could really be used to describe me: grasping.
I was talented. I was driven. I wanted to be an opera singer and by golly I was going to work for it or die trying! And, for a teenager, I was extremely successful and very lucky. Everything I wanted, I had. The best voice teachers, conservatory training, acceptance and scholarships to every college I applied to, competitions and concerts under my belt. Even my failures and setbacks only drove me farther and farther towards my goal.
And I was depressed. I was lonely. I was happy for the hour long voice lesson and sad for the rest of the day. There was an aching hole in me that I tried to fill with art and music and a whole lot of junk food. I was a parasite, endlessly consuming whatever I could in an attempt to make the happy feelings last.
The problem was, I didn’t have Jesus. Without the Bringer of Life, my life had absolutely no meaning.
“Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” John 6:35
After becoming a Christian, my life dramatically changed. I won’t say things got better because some of the situations God brought me through were so painful that I can hardly describe them. But all my striving ceased. My life no longer revolved around trying to patch up my heart, my life revolved around Christ, which filled my heart.
The Bread of Life really does satisfy! Jesus brings joy, which is different than happiness. Happiness is a fleeting feeling. Chasing it is just as good as eating junk food. It fills you up for a moment, but soon it’s gone, leaving a sick feeling. But joy is different. Joy stays with you even when you are in the deepest grief. Joy is a state of the heart, not just a feeling.
Despite how often I gush about my amazing husband and beautiful daughters and happy life on social media, it’s far from perfect! Who’s isn’t?! But my life is now marked by contentment and joy. My dependence is on Christ, rather than trying to fulfil my own life. I have never grown more than when I am content. I am, like Paul, learning to become content in all circumstances and use my life not for the glory and betterment of myself, but the glory and worship of God. I don’t need to be running after things or people or emotions, because I am filled up by the Bread of Life. I don’t have to drink myself to sleep anymore just to feel alright, because I have the Living Water within me. Contentment is my theme now and it makes life beautiful!
If I could go back and tell that selfish, opera-obsessed teenager, clutching her diploma like an escape ticket, that all she had to do was turn away from sin in repentance and run to Jesus, I know she would have scoffed at me. Or been offended that I dare question her salvation. But I am so glad that God stopped me from going down paths that would only lead me to more grasping and brought me to dwell beside still waters.