There is a satisfaction deficit for many, if not most, Christians in the workplace. Why?
In part one of this 3-part “Tipping Point” series (“My Work Keeps Me Too Busy to Be Godly”), we considered that neglecting to develop and display godliness in and through our work is a key factor in work dissatisfaction.
In this post, let’s consider a second key ingredient to achieving greater satisfaction and impact at work: CONTENTMENT.
This is how the apostle Paul states the dynamic combo of godliness and contentment:
“But godliness WITH contentment is GREAT GAIN. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” ~ 2 Timothy 6:6-7 (NIV)
We all have a desire to be productive. We all want to know what we achieve in and through our work matters to us and to others.
Achieving gains or being fruitful is a part of our divine design and is even expected by our creator. (John 15; Matthew 25:14-30)
The problem is when our pursuit of honorable gain short circuits our ability to continue to grow in godliness or robs us of being able to fully enjoy and leverage, for God’s kingdom purposes, the gains He has already helped us achieve.
So how can you increase your contentment?
1. Change Your Definition of Contentment
I don’t know about you, but as I strive for greater contentment my mind automatically thinks “ease” for some reason. Why is that?
For one, I have to admit, deep down I have a natural bent to want things to be easy. Can you relate?
Our culture perpetuates the idea that contentment is directly linked to the condition of our circumstances. So if our circumstances at work are good, then our contentment soars. If not, then it tanks. What a contrast to what Paul and Jesus demonstrated.
Paul wrote about his struggle with contentment. It was something he had to learn–regardless of his 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 EVERY SITUATION…” ~ Philippians 4:12
When we read how Jesus faced one of the most excruciating circumstances His work to redeem demanded of Him, notice His resolve to embrace it:
“Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify Thy name.” ~ John 12:27
I take comfort from the fact that Jesus also had at least a little bent toward desiring the easy path. But, I am also challenged by His example to reject it for the sake of embracing His Father’s work. Contentment will never be fully grasped without embracing our environmental circumstances within God’s call.
Our definition of what it means to be content needs changing. We must reject the idea that it will be easy or that it’s based on our circumstances. As Preston Jones so aptly stated in a recent Faith, Work, and Economics post:
“The path of contentedness of soul isn’t the chasing of contentment itself but hard work over a long period within the context of a virtuous life.”
2. Change Your Definition of Success
When you consider your work, what do you see? Do you see all the things God has enabled you to accomplish? Do you see the people He has given you the privilege to serve, or to bless in even some small way? Or do you see all that yet needs to be done?
If I were to venture a guess, I would imagine most of you would answer the latter and probably beat yourself up over it countless times a week. Am I right?
What if you could change your definition of success? Would that make a difference in your contentment levels? I know it would!
For example, one of my goals this year was to have 1,000 subscribers to this blog. With just four months to go, it seems as if I’m not going achieve that goal. (Unless every one of you invited 2 others to subscribe today by sending them this TIPPING POINTS subscription link today! 🙂
If my thoughts camp out on that reality too long, I can start badgering myself for not posting enough, not doing enough to draw others to subscribe, etc.
Instead of doing that, I choose to remember the amazing fruit God has brought in other aspects of KWM’s ministry this year because of intentionality and hard work.
In addition, I am choosing to thank God, and focus on the fact, that these posts have encouraged hundreds in their walk, work and leadership–in most of the 50 U.S. states and in over 35 countries. These God-given successes are worth celebrating.
This is not a surrender of what could have been or what could still be. It is learning to enjoy and rejoice in what is, while continuing to strive for what could still be.
3. Change the Questions You Ask Yourself
Instead of approaching your daily work from a “scarcity” position by asking questions such as:
- “Why couldn’t I hit that goal?”
- “Why couldn’t I land that client?”
- “Why can’t I make ______ so I can hire ______?”
- “Why couldn’t I get _______ done today?”
Approach it from a position of abundance by asking questions such as:
- “Lord, why have you been so good to me?”
- “Why have You bestowed such grace upon me?”
- “What do You want me to do with the positions, passions, and possessions that you have given me to steward?”
- “What people have I impacted today and what success have you given me that I can praise You for?”
See the difference? The latter questions are stimulated and fostered by an attitude of gratitude that produces contentment.
4. “Ex-Change” Your Pocket Change for a Rock
Yes that’s right, a rock! I got this idea from a recent Michael Hyatt post. The goal is to increase your contentment levels by increasing an attitude of gratitude.
The concept is simple: whenever your hand touches that stone, give thanks to God for whatever is happening at that moment at work, whether good or bad.
You will be amazed at how obeying God’s command to “give thanks in all things” will change your perspective, your attitude, and thus your contentment.
- Which one of these changes will you make to increase your contentment quotient at work?
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