I’ve been doing some thinking lately. Seems like I’m always thinking about something. I just have that kind of mind—always working overtime on various ideas I get.
Today I want to ask you help me walk through the tension between being content and being ambitious. My initial thoughts were that you can’t have/be both at the same time!
If I’m truly content with the way things are, then how can I be ambitious to strive for something other than what is? But the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve come to the conclusion that they both can exist happily side by side.
Allow me to explain my thinking, then I’d like to hear from you as to what you make of where I’m at on this.
Contentment is something I pray about almost daily. I want to be content with:
- Who I am
- Where I am
- What I’m doing
- What God’s doing
I don’t believe that contentment is synonymous with complacency—that is, having no dreams, hopes or desires for more or for different.
There are two passages in The Message that speak to my heart on the topic of contentment
“…but if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.”— Luke 14:11
“Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.”—Matthew 23:11,12
I like the idea that in both these passages simplicity is linked to contentment. If I’m always after more and more and never really at rest, satisfied in Him and grateful before Him, then it’s hard to be content. I don’t want to over- complicate my life and work unnecessarily by continually adding more and more.
A few years ago I read a book titled, Rescuing Ambition this link will take you to my book note. I found it very insightful and helpful in learning how to navigate the perceived tension between contentment and ambition.
Regarding ambition, Scripture makes a clear distinction between godly and ungodly ambition.It’s motives,
Check out James 3:13,14 as well as I Timothy 3:1.
So here’s where I’ve landed.
I want to be content with where I am, what I’m doing and what the Lord of the Harvest is doing while at the same time praying for opportunities to have more impact and influence with as many leaders as I can before He takes me home.
If nothing more happens, I’m content. If more happens, I’m going after it. My security and worth is not anchored in what I do or accomplish but in whose I am! As I turn the corner into 2022 and begin my 82nd year, I want to aspire for more, but also be content with what He provides, trusting His sovereign control over all things.
One more passage from The Message:
“Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be my disciple”—Luke 14:33.
I want to be proactively purposing my dreams and, at the same time, be willing to kiss them goodbye if He has other plans for me. In the last analysis, it comes down to trusting Him with all my heart (Proverb 3:5). Oh what a joyful and empowering frame of mind to be in as I stand expectantly before a new year.So, what do you think about my take on contentment and ambition? I’d love to hear from you.