What is discontent? A dissatisfaction with your circumstances, a restless desire for something more or something different. It takes the heart off God and fixes it on the trouble, discomposing the soul so that it cannot go forward steadily or cheerfully.
Here’s a little summary of what Watson and Burroughs would say about the evils of discontent.
1. It’s sinful, sordid, troublesome, wearying, and unworthy of a Christian.
2. It has evil companions like melancholy, sullenness, ingratitude, envy, jealousy, and covetousness.
3. It is folly. It takes away your comfort, making the body sick and weak.
4. It makes your crosses heavier and your grief unbearable.
5. It spins out your troubles longer.
6. It spreads to others like an infection.
7. It breeds quarrels.
11 thoughts on “What’s so bad about discontent?”
Nancy, have you thought about writing a book in your wonderful common sense way about contentment in the life of a Christian woman? You pretty much have enough content just from blog posts already!
I would sure appreciate having such a book on my shelf, especially being able to read it over and over, and to lend to others (who don’t take ‘look at this blog!’ seriously).
Once in a while, I print up one of your posts and tape it over my kitchen sink so I can soak it in while I’m cleaning up.
So I’m printing it up as I type, and I look forward to memorizing it over the next few days.
Thanks so much for putting this together!
I wanted to thank you for your recent entries on contentment. They are eloquent, effective and very much needed. I’ve been going through some not-bad-but-trying circumstances, and your articles have consistently pulled me back to thankfulness.
I hope very much that you will put all of these reflections in a book someday.
Gratitude from a Texas Kate
A word in season for my heart. Thanks!
Ditto the request for a book on this subject! Your posts have really blessed, edified, and spurred me on!
All of these are so true. I can see now that most of my problems are caused by discontent! But how do we just “start” being contented?
Psst…Nancy’s already quoting books! Try The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, by Jeremiah Burroughs, and The Art of Divine Contentment, by Thomas Watson. All Things for Good is another by Thomas Watson, but I think Nancy’s drawing from those first two for this post.
Not that a book from Nancy wouldn’t be good, too, but I’m just sayin’ y’all don’t have to wait if you want to read more now! 😉
Just re-reading this again and thought I’d try to come up with a definition of contentment:
What is contentment? A satisfaction with your circumstances, even the adverse ones, as God’s providence, and therefore for good. It does not necessarily preclude or do away with desires for something more or something different, but it takes its heart off the trouble and fixes it on God, composing the soul so that it can go forward steadily and cheerfully.
What an excellent definition of discontent Nancy!
“A dissatisfaction with your circumstances, a restless desire for something more or something different. It takes the heart off God and fixes it on the trouble, discomposing the soul so that it cannot go forward steadily or cheerfully.”
Thank you for your constant labors to encourage us – we are so thankful for you. 🙂
It is interesting how one can make oneself physically sick from discontent (I speak from experience). Number 3 I think could be the reason for some physical discomfort some go through. Thank you for the reminder to keep ourselves from misery by being not only happy but grateful for what we are blessed with and for pointing to further reading (your too Valerie).
Thank you Mrs Wilson, I read this when you first posted it and have been thinking about it ever since. This post (along with the sermon I heard this past Sunday morning) is really helping me to identify some of my current worry, fear, unhappiness as discontent…..I’d never really thought of it that way before. I mean, things are fine NOW…..its later, as in the future, that I’m not sure about. I kept trying to justify my feelings because there IS a lot of uncertainly about our future right now, but it has been very freeing to just recognize the whole package as verious forms of discontent and therefore SIN. Thank you for being used as a part of my santification process.