Parallels of Content and Contentment

Parallels of Content and Contentment

Like a picture, “Contentment" is worth a thousand words. Thanks for the great blog! BG.

Content has two meanings: con’tent a noun, something that is contained: the contents of a box.   Con.tent’ as an adjective, “a state of satisfaction", not necessarily including the happiness factor: more of an attitude--satisfied with what one is or has, agreeing/assenting, peace of mind.

Synonyms: delighted, tranquil, unworried, untroubled, at ease, peace, comfortable, serene, placid and complacent, soothe, pacify, placate, appease, please, mollify, make happy, satisfy, still, silence, quieten and quiet, which all sounds positive but isn’t always.

Contentment means "a state of happiness and satisfaction". A brief review of having and maintaining a sense of contentment for readers who did not read Contentment, involves a desire for regularly assessing one’s emotional health, adjusting to difficult changes which often entails painful adjustment and being comfortable with personal decisions. Limitation-adjustments affect everyone as aging begins to ‘call the shots’ and resembles adjusting to fluctuating weather. What rings true regarding contentment to one may not please another. But we all strive for long-term contentment.

While contentment suggests a more settled atmosphere, content ‘carries more toleration, simplicity in attitude and a brief timetable making quick decisions regarding adjustments, troubleshooting and suggestions. For instance:

Satisfy (someone) “Nothing would content her.”

Ignore, sense of laziness, haphazard.

Pleased with a situation and not hoping for change or improvement.

I was content to see my old friends who have gotten things together.

I would be content with less.

I am content to sit on the sidelines.

He was content to let the trash pile up.

They were content to ignore her request.

Willing to accept circumstances, a proposed course of action, etc.

Agreeable, without speaking so. Quietly accepting others’ decisions.

Editing Content had proceeded to this point when the following email grabbed my attention wielding a definite ‘whoa’ diverting me onto an interesting and insightful side-trail of the parallels of content and contentment.

When does contentment perhaps give way to apathy and passiveness?  We know we need God's help and guidance always, but when we see injustice, can we stay content?  When we see a loved one making dangerous life choices, can we stay content? How do we balance contentment with righteous anger or with concern and love for others?  There is an often-used phrase - "when you see something, say something".  Can we intervene, or protest, or even go to war while still remaining content? M.

Since there are no harmonious solutions to these relevant queries, examining the writer’s choice of words—apathy and passiveness--seemed to be an applicable approach. You decide.

The origin of the term apathy comes from a form of the prefix a—meaning "without," and the Greek pathos meaning "emotion, feeling, suffering." Thus, apathy was originally defined as freedom from suffering. Sometime in the 18th century, the meaning changed to a sense of being without emotion or feeling indifference, especially to matters that are important or appealing.

Feelings of indifference, losing interest, being unconcerned, lacking emotion which plagues healthy people in varying degrees. The causes range from an over-full calendar and/or myriad physical/emotional changes at one time.  Apathetic symptoms show up in lack of interest in normal activities accompanied by weakened motivation toward work, fun and goals, loss of interest in seeing family/friends and uncharacteristic low energy. For instance:

Joy vs Contentment

Peace vs Contentment

Overcompensation vs Contentment

Relief vs Contentment

Contentment vs Arrogance

Contentment vs Growth

Staying above board in balancing contentment with our righteous anger regarding a loved one making dangerous life choices, and our desire for justice, harmony and peace in the world, depends on honestly acknowledging that we are helpless in many situations; helping loved ones who do not want or ask for help and unwilling to consider options for solutions. Sometimes, the only action besides praying, is to let the loved ones with mammoth problems of their own making, is to assure them that we love them and are here for them.

Regarding situations that we may not understand or agree with, telling ourselves the truth in ascertaining what type of help besides praying that we could emotionally, physically or financially contribute, would go a long way toward maintaining one’s sense of contentment. We also need to accept the fact that our friends and family may not share our concepts. We do know that God teaches us to respect, love every color, nationality, gender or behavior, despite our lack of understanding.  Please feel free to email your opinions and/or experiences and I’ll see that the reader receives them, unless there are many and varied, then a follow-up will take precedence.

By and large, people of faith are realists who receive the good and bad of life, relying on God to help them ‘sort it out’.  No matter how much trouble plagues us, the Lord gives peace by supplying understanding and wisdom along with endurance in troubled times which help us to be content.

When concerns disturb my contentment, I turn to Psalm 16:  5 Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; …The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; … 7 I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; …8 I have set the lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices my body also will rest secure…(NIV).

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deut. 31:8. (NIV).

Finally, brothers (sisters)…aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Cor 13:11 NIV.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. Heb. 13:5. (NIV).

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children; and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Eph. 5:1-2. (NIV).