The Right Kind of Discontentment

Winfree Brisley | May 9, 2017

There’s a country song that creatively captures the struggle we often experience. Chris Janson sings, “I know everybody says money can’t buy happiness . . . but it could buy me a boat.”

We hear over and over there are some things money can’t buy, such as happiness. In moments of discontent, though, we like to test that theory.

The apostle Paul speaks of contentment as something not natural, something that must be learned. Facing various circumstances ranging from abundance to need, he found he could be content in either. He learned through experience (Phil 4:11–13).

Excavating Our Discontent

We can also learn contentment another way—by digging into our dissatisfaction. As we excavate the root causes of our discontentment, we’re better equipped to fight it. Recently, as I prayed and processed, I was struck with the realization that my discontent was a combination of my sin and good desires.

Consider my home, for example. In recent months, I’ve been discontent with the view outside our back windows. We live in a transitional urban neighborhood, so our view includes industrial property and piles of trash waiting to be recycled. Instead of this scene, I’ve longed to look out and see beauty—ideally something akin to the English countryside (completely unrealistic in our…

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