A man stands on a rocky outcropping looking out over the Blue Ridge Mountains where he answers the question, "What is contentment?"

What is Contentment and How Do I Find It? 

Retirement is approaching for my husband. He dreams of heading back to the mountains of western North Carolina where he grew up. The Blue Ridge Parkway makes him happy. The problem is, we live in Orlando, Florida, with its flat hotness, and so do our adult children and our one and only grandchild. I’m not ready to make that move yet.  

I told him a couple of months ago that I don’t mind him dreaming, but the detailed discussions of where exactly we would live and, “oh look, here’s a house for sale!” stressed me out. In the midst of a long season of unexpected loss of friends, coworkers, and church family, I’m not ready to add planned loss to my life. I need to be content where I am right now, otherwise I risk falling into discontent and unhappiness. So, let’s look at the big question: What is contentment and how do I find it when I’m not exactly where I want to be? 

What Is Contentment? 

Merriam-Webster defines being contented as “feeling or showing satisfaction with one’s possessions, status, or situation.” But for Christians, contentment goes beyond mere satisfaction; it roots itself in a deep trust in God’s provision and sovereignty. Contentment means aligning your desires with God’s will and finding joy and peace in His plans for your life. 

The Role of Faith in Contentment 

Faith plays a crucial role in finding and maintaining contentment. Trusting in God’s goodness, His provision, and His timing can help you rest in the assurance that He is in control. When challenges arise, lean on your faith and remember that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).  

A young woman holds a black Bible to her chest where she has found the answer to the question, "What is contentment?"

Biblical Perspective on Contentment 

The Bible offers numerous insights into finding contentment: 

  1. Trusting in God’s Provision: Philippians 4:11-12 says, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. 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.” Paul’s words here highlight that we learn contentment through trust in God’s provision. 
  1. Avoiding Materialism: Hebrews 13:5 advises, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'” This verse teaches that true contentment comes from knowing God is always with you, rather than acquiring material wealth. 
  1. Embracing God’s Plan: Psalm 33:11 reassures us, “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.” Contentment involves trusting that God is good, He can’t be anything but good, and therefore His plans for you are always good. Rest in that truth to find contentment. 

Finding Contentment: Six Practical Steps 

So now that we’ve addressed the big question of “what is contentment and how do I find it,” here are some practical steps to help you embrace contentment in your daily life: 

1. Practice Gratitude 

Gratitude is a powerful antidote to discontentment. Take time each day to list things you are thankful for. This simple practice can shift your focus from what you lack to what you already have, fostering a sense of satisfaction and peace. They don’t have to be big things. I’m often thankful for a good cup of coffee or the purrs of my cats.  

2. Deepen Your Relationship with God 

Contentment is closely tied to your relationship with God. Spend time in prayer, study the Bible, and seek to understand God’s character and promises. The more you grow in your knowledge and love for God, the more you will trust Him, leading to greater contentment. 

3. Simplify Your Life 

In our consumer-driven society, it is easy to get caught up in the pursuit of more—more possessions, more achievements, more experiences. Simplifying your life by decluttering your home, setting boundaries, and prioritizing what truly matters can help you focus on what brings true satisfaction. 

4. Serve Others 

Acts of service can bring immense joy and satisfaction. When you focus on helping others, it takes your mind off your own wants and needs. Plus, serving others is a tangible way to live out your faith and reflect God’s love. 

A woman hands a bowl of food to a person in need answering the question, "What is contentment?"

5. Set Realistic Goals 

While ambition is not inherently wrong, setting unrealistic goals can lead to constant striving and discontent. Align your goals with God’s will for your life and set realistic, achievable steps to reach them. Celebrate small victories along the way. 

6. Reflect on Your Purpose 

Understanding your God-given purpose can bring immense contentment. Reflect on your talents, passions, and opportunities to serve God and others. Pursue activities and goals that align with this purpose, trusting that God has a unique plan for your life. 

Contentment in Community 

Finally, remember that you are not alone in your journey to answer the question, “what is contentment?” Engage with your church community, share your struggles and victories, and encourage one another. Accountability and support from fellow believers can make a significant difference in your journey. 

I want to clarify that having dreams and desires does not mean you feel discontent. Even as my husband continues to savor pictures from the Blue Ridge Parkway, dreaming of the day we’ll leave this Florida hothouse, we bloom where we are. We’re heavily involved in our church, have deep friendships, and care about our community. God has us here, and we will walk in His purpose. 

Listen now to a short segment of this Abide meditation that I wrote based on Isaiah 12:3-4. Let God speak to your heart about where you find contentment.

Circumstances change; God does not. Finding contentment in Him is a vital part of spiritual growth and well-being. By understanding what the Bible says about contentment taking practical steps to cultivate it, you can experience true satisfaction and peace. Remember, contentment is not about having everything you want but trusting that God has provided everything you need. Embrace God’s plan for your life, practice gratitude, serve others, and deepen your relationship with Him. In doing so, you will find the contentment that transcends circumstances and brings lasting joy. 

Are you ready to start your journey toward contentment? Let Abide help. Our guided biblical meditations, daily devotionals, and Bible-based sleep stories all exist to help you experience the peace of Christ as you consider the question, “What is contentment and how do I find it?” Download the Abide app and start a premium subscription. This will unlock our entire library of content. Use this link for 25% off. 

Stephanie Reeves is the senior editor for Abide. She and her husband live in Orlando, Florida, as do their three adult children and one adorable grandson.