Why Contentment Matters More Than Success

Contentment is something a lot of people don’t like to think about.  I think people confuse contentment with settling. But let’s look at the real definition.

Contentment is defined as a state of happiness and satisfaction. Synonyms are gratification, fulfillment, happiness, pleasure, cheerfulness.

Success is something people seem much more concerned with.  I mean, it doesn’t seem negative but what defines success?

Success is defined as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose; the attainment of popularity or profit; a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity. Synonyms are triumph, affluence, wealth, riches, sellout.

The definitions don’t sound so bad but when I look at the synonyms and compare those words I’m more concerned with being grateful and happy than just collection wealth and riches.  If there is something that I want to teach my children it’s contentment.  I want them to know that they don’t have to have all the latest toys and brand names don’t mean anything.  Yes, we can all strive to be better than yesterday but nothing beats being happy and satisfied with the life that you have. Nothing beats being happy and fulfilled by Christ. But who sets the rules your success is defined as?  Are you successful only if you’re making millions of dollars, have a large home, or are the best in your field??  We’re not here on Earth to store up treasures, so what is success?

Recently my TimeHop app showed me an image that I had screen captured my facebook fans/likes. The image was from three years ago and the number of likes hasn’t changed by any drastic amount. At first I was a little disappointed in myself but the more I thought about it, the more I got over it. I’m not striving to please others, not trying to gain the most followers. Yes, companies and brands want to work with people that have tons of followers and major influence. But more and more I realize that I just have to do what I can where I am. 

I never want my children to think that mom settled for our life. I’m sure if they heard my thoughts sometimes that’s what they would assume. They might hear that they take up time or get in the way or that I’m way too excited about nap/bed time. Just thinking about that breaks my heart. I never want them to think that they are anything less than the special humans they are. I want to walk in a manner worthy of the calling that God has given me. The calling of wife and mother. The calling of serving God through photographs and words. And I need to remember to do them with humility, gentleness, patience, love and all the others fruits of the spirit. 

“Let every man abide in the calling wherein he is called and his work will be as sacred as the work of the ministry. It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is why he does it.” 
― A.W. TozerThe Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine

There’s nothing wrong with wanting success. There’s nothing wrong with achieving success. For me, it’s the reminder that no matter where I am in life, I need to be satisfied with where God has me. I need to focus on my relationship with God and how I’m walking out my calling. Even through the struggles, I don’t have to be satisfied that I’m struggling, but I really believe that I need to be content with knowing that sometimes life is hard and we have to learn how to go through those things. 

There’s been so much learning for me lately. A lot of reading and researching and so much quality time studying the bible. Sometimes I feel silly/crazy sharing this with anyone but maybe even if one other person is going through something similar and my story can help, I’m totally ok with that. And if nothing else, I have it to refer back to. 

I’ll keep working on learning how to be a better wife and mom along with a better photographer and writer. I’ll keep striving, but never will I let some level of “success” be a real measure of my life. God doesn’t give us gifts and calling to sit there, but sometimes we just have to keep them in check. 

I think that the contentment vs successful confusion really truly comes down to who am I glorifying? His glory or mine? Always His! Or at least that’s what I’m striving for!

Why Contentment Matters More Than Success // Working on my calling glorifying someone other than myself

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