This post is in response to a reader’s question. I love the question, and I can relate. I used to feel guilty because I felt like I was wrong, and sometimes made to feel like I was wrong for continuously pushing towards goals and dreams.I think it probably comes from the bible, and people telling us to be content with what we have, but I think we turn it into something religious. We have to consider that the bible also tells us to grow, transform, and push forward. Let’s look at a short verse for contentment, and a short verse for drive.
1 Timothy 6:6-8 (contentment)
6 But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. 7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. 8 If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.
Philippians 3:12-15 (drive)
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.
Two scriptures out of many on this subject that we can glean from. The following is how the Lord helped me through the guilt I felt regarding my drive, and being content. You can be both driven, and content. You can always be pressing toward your goal, and be content at the same time. I believe our Father wants you to continually push toward the vision He has given you, and I believe He wants you to get where He has called you. We have to be careful how we define contentment. Contentment is usually defined as being happy with what you have, and where you are at. I will say there is nothing wrong with that definition in itself. The problem comes when we add stagnation to that definition. When we feel like we have to be stagnate, and stationary to show that we are content we mess up the application of contentment. Contentment is being happy with where you are because thank God He has transformed you, and grown you as you drive toward your goals, and you are no longer where you used to be. Contentment is walking in a spirit of gratitude towards your Father when things are going great, and when things are a struggle, but you are still pushing forward. You can be thankful for the little, or lot that you have while pushing with all you have to do the things He has called you to do. I think in a big way contentment is found when we get past selfish pursuits, and pursue the things He has in store for us. We will never be content if our goals are to obtain for selfish gain. A big part of the context to what Paul was saying in Philippians 3 is that nothing compares to knowing Jesus. If you know Jesus you can actually find real contentment (you can’t find it anywhere else) while finding your calling, and pushing with everything you have to serve that calling.
When we take things to extremes we make it religious. If you are all drive with no contentment you will just be wore out. Knowing the contentment that only Jesus brings, and walking in a constant spirit of gratitude allows you to pursue the goal with patience and persistence. Knowing Jesus allows you to be content right where you are, but it also brings expectation for where you are going.
Be thankful, be content, and don’t feel guilty for pursuing what He has called you to. Remember you do these things from a position of rest in Him, not out of personal strength to earn anything.
Live your life Kingdom first!