The Key To Snuffing Out Discontentment

Gold Brush Stroke

Recently I’ve noticed my tendency to look at the lives of others with a bit of longing. I dwell on their apparent abundance, which magnifies my apparent lack and leads to an undercurrent of unrest:

  • She has littles and gets to enjoy those sweet, sloppy kisses and the innocence of those early years.
  • She’s empty nesting and has time to do whatever she wants. 
  • She is getting a new house. 
  • She has a new car.
  • Her ministry is really taking off. 
  • None of her children have special needs. 
  • She seems to have life all figured out. 

Do you do the same? Easy, isn’t it?

We wonder what we are missing out on and desire that perceived abundance. Well we’re in good company. 

Eve did it when she ate the forbidden fruit.

King David did it when he sinned against Bathsheba and Uriah.

The Israelites did it throughout their journey to the Promised Land. 

But as each of our biblical ancestors found out, longing for what you don’t have can lead down a difficult path. It creates a fertile environment in our hearts to grow discontentment and ungratefulness. 

When we look over the gifts meant for someone else, we tend to overlook the blessings we possess. Share on X

There are always blessings!

Blind To Our Abundance

Now the truth is, the grass on the other side of the fence may indeed be greener. Someone else’s lot in life certainly could be far easier than yours. Ministering would be simpler with that new gadget or a large team to work with. 

But the problem is when we look over the gifts meant for someone else, we tend to overlook the blessings we possess. Their blessings begin to overshadow our own.

Dwelling on the abundance of others only serves to blind us to our own abundance. 

The antidote to the sickness of seeing other people’s glasses half full but yours half empty is simple really: Give thanks right where you are. 

Whenever I slip from being intentionally grateful, I notice discontentment taking root. That’s why I will never quit counting gifts (click here to see all my One Thousand [or more] Gifts).

Give Thanks

No matter what your life looks like, there is something to be grateful for. 

Your health. A roof over your head. A friend or family member you can turn to. Freedom to worship. 

There are always blessings! And it’s near-impossible to complain while simultaneously giving thanks. 

God tailor-makes gifts to be specific for each of us.

God tailor-makes gifts to be specific for each of us. Share on X

Your grace drops will be just what you need for this season. Your neighbor’s are just what they need.  

Within our exhortation to love one another as Christ loves us is the call to “rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).

How can we rejoice with them if we are jealous of them? 

Find Contentment and Joy in Your Life

Dwelling on the abundance of others only serves to blind us to our own abundance. Share on X

Focusing on what others have in the context of your lack will lead to discontentment and unrest. But noting the blessings in your life will bring joy and peace.

Warning: It won’t come naturally.

We have a propensity to long for what we don’t have.

So today, right now, might I encourage you to develop a plan for noticing the gifts of each day, for acknowledging the opportunities within each circumstance. Type out 3 a day as I do for Ann Voskamp’s Joy Dare or jot in a prayer notebook however many grace drops you notice in a day. 

Whatever works for you.

You’ll be amazed to see how much gratitude begets gratitude.

So begin today to live with gratitude and contentment. Today, begin taking note of your gifts. 

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.” Psalm 81:10

Reflections: Do you struggle with the comparison disease? Is it hard for you to ignore your friend’s gifts and notice your own? How will you record the grace drops in your life? 

I’m excited to continue recording blessings this year. Since beginning over 3 years ago, I’ve counted more than 3,500 gifts in Ann Voskamp’s Joy Dare! What a blessing! So here we go in 2015: #3849–3869, read my entire list by clicking here.

  • Warmth in the air; Asked to edit a report = evidence my college boy still needs me; Tips from a Web-design expert to help me in my ineptness
  • Rootbeer float kind of afternoon; Long chat with Zach to end my day; Throw-together supper–always a surprise, but often tasty (and easy)
  • Lovely beginning to day: walk with 4-legged friends; New leaves on even the biggest trees; Gorgeous ending to the day
  • Comforting visit with priceless friend; Sampling violet trail nibbles; Evening couple time watching Zach play some jazz
  • Helping Joey perfect his skills for his favorite sport: football; Gorgeous bluebells; Camera feared broken is working again
  • Interior painting with a crowd–fast and fun; Once again having a push mower that works; Rose-tipped fruit-tree blossoms
  • Skyping with Danny at his cousin’s and getting to visit with several relatives on the call; Vocal evidence that eaglets have hatched; Woodland carpet of flowers

By His Grace,



  1. Cecelia Lester (Quiet Spirit) on May 6, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    Julie: At church tonight, our pastoral assistant asked us to define contentment. Someone said–satisfaction. A woman near me gave me a lot to think about, Her answer was :”Having all you want and wanting all you have.”She is a stroke survivor and has paralysis on one side of her body, She teaches me a lot of things just by her desire to be in God’s house.

    • Julie Sunne on May 12, 2015 at 10:44 pm

      We glean great insight from suffering as this lady has, Cecelia. Wonderful that you can benefit from her wisdom.

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Julie Sunne

Hello, I'm Julie, an imperfect wife and mother of four. Life in this broken world is not always easy. Yet, joy can be found in each day through the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I find it's easy for our day's blessings to get lost in its happenings. But God's "mercies never end" (Lamentations 3:22) and His "grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

May the posts and pages on this site offer you a measure of peace and encouragement.

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