7 Reasons Why We Are Discontented (Contentment Series Part 3)

sad woman looking out the window

Amy and Beth sat having coffee. Beth murmured, “I don’t get it! Doesn’t Jack know he’s hurting me by going to that ballgame? I think he’s irritating me on purpose. He never cares about how I feel. Do you know what he did the other night…? He just doesn’t get it!”

What is Beth’s problem?

She thinks it’s Jack. Surely, he’s not totally faultless here, but she’s looking solely to her husband for her needs to be met. Her main issue is discontentment.

A lot of times we don’t realize we’re trying to fill a hole. But God in His kindness often brings circumstances into our lives to reveal what’s inside and show us what’s missing.

So how do you know if you have a discontented heart? Here are some…

Signs of Discontentment

  • Complaining
  • Worrying
  • Anxious
  • Preoccupied with what you don’t have—material or otherwise
  • Greedy
  • Jealous
  • Never satisfied with anything or anyone
  • Hard to please; critical
  • Sad
  • Disappointed

Ouch! And this isn’t even a complete list! Now, I am not saying you are a discontented person if you occasionally experience these things. But it’s so important to self-evaluate instead of avoiding the truth.

Take a good look at that list and be honest if any apply to you often.

So where does this discontentment come from? Why are we discontent? Here are…

7 Reasons Why We Are Discontented

1. Unmet needs

We all have needs. On top of our physical needs of food, water, and shelter, we were also created with core needs such as love, acceptance, and hope. And depending upon our situation, some of our needs will be different.

Naturally we look to fill these essentials. Unfortunately, we often try to do it in the wrong way.

2. Unmet desires

It isn’t wrong to want something, but we often become discontent when we don’t have what we want or we have what we don’t want.

3. Loss of something important

Whenever we lose someone or something—a loved one, friend, job, home, or health—there will be an automatic sadness/grief. A hole has developed and we long to fill it.

 4. Self-focus

We’re filled with ourselves instead of Christ. In and of ourselves nothing good resides. But if we are abiding in Christ, we will experience all His goodness, joy, peace (fruit of the Spirit) for He is dwelling in us.

5. Temporal focus

If we only focus on the negative circumstances of the here and now, we will naturally lose heart and be unhappy. We need to fix our eyes on Jesus and what He’s doing in and through us. Great rewards await those who are faithful (2 Cor 4:16-18, Heb 12:2).

6. Faulty belief system

A belief is something we regard as true—even if it’s not. Our belief system determines our attitude and outlook on life. Incorrect thinking always leads to discontentment.

If we have wrong expectations, think we’re in control, or believe we deserve better, we will be dissatisfied with life.

7. God

This one might surprise you. But God might take away our satisfaction if we try to fill our need and desires our way. (see Hag 1:3-11; Num 11). Our longings may be filled, but it will feel empty. Only God through Christ can truly satisfy our souls.


My friend, these are the reasons why we are discontented with life. But the Lord knows your needs and wants; He promises to give you everything you need for life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3).

Next time we’ll cover how to satisfy those needs and desires God’s way. Meanwhile, contemplate on what God says…

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! …Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. (Is 55:1-3)

Here’s a free resource to help you evaluate with the Holy Spirit where you are discontent.