Learning to be Content Part 4: Signs and Sources of Discontentment

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? He seems to irritate 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’s 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. Her main issue is discontentment.

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

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

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.

So take a good look at that list and be honest.

Sources and Causes of Discontentment

As discussed last time, discontentment occurs when our needs are unmet or we dislike our circumstances. But there can be a few other possible explanations for our dissatisfaction.

~Loss of something important

Whenever we lose someone or something—a loved one, friend, job, home, special memento—there will be automatic sadness; grief. A hole has developed. This is when we must be careful not to run ahead of God to fill that vacuum on our own.


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

For in him we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28)

~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 is always at the core of discontentment.

For example, wrong beliefs about who’s in control, expectations, or entitlement often lead to unfulfillment.


This one might surprise you.

If we fill our need or desires on our own, God might take away our satisfaction (see Hag 1:3-11; Num 11). Our needs may be filled but it’ll feel empty.

On the other hand, He can fill an apparent need without tangibly filling it. He does so supernaturally all by Himself!

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (1 Peter 1:18-19)

Now if you were Amy, you could advise Beth that her frustration stems from discontentment. Then tell her to read my next blog on how to become satisfied!

Part 5 in learning to be content is continued next year on Jan 2, 2018


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