Here's a wonderful article from Homeliving Helper about contentment. If you haven't read it already, I hope you'll check it out.
To me, contentment is closely aligned to having that quiet and meek (calm and gentle) spirit that I Peter 3 talks about. No matter whether our culture values these qualities or not, God finds them to be of great worth.
Here's the word that is rendered quiet or calm in I Peter 3: Hesuchios. It means quiet or peaceable. It is akin to the form Hesuchia, which means
- description of the life of one who stays at home doing his own work, and does not officiously meddle with the affairs of others
"Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread."
The word for meek or gentle is praus. The definition of praus is
- mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, meekness
As you can see, contentment, meekness, and quietness all tie in together. They all have their origin in resolutely trusting and obeying the Lord no matter what the circumstances are.
Some women -- especially those who were trained from birth to have a contended mindset -- seem to bear these wonderful fruits of quietness, meekness, and contentment naturally. Others of us -- myself included -- must be disciplined in prayer and in setting our thoughts on the right things in order to maintain these qualities.
Our culture associates these characteristics with someone who is insipid, boring, unhappy, and oppressed by others. Is that the case? Well, consider the opposites of quietness, meekness, and contentment. An absence of these traits would manifest itself in discontent, fretfulness, insecurity, worry, irritability, lack of trust in God, mistrust of others -- especially mistrust of those in authority, ingratitude, difficulty in working peaceably with others, rebelliousness, an over-concern with protecting one's own rights, contentiousness, nagging, trying to control others, inability to be happy unless people and circumstances are exactly as you want them to be, unrealistic expectations, and a neglect of one's daily duties. Aren't these last qualities the things that so often create unnecessary pain in life?
It seems to me that the meek, quiet, and content person is much happier than the one who resists these traits. Though it may seem counter-intuitive to our modern minds, the person who possesses meekness, calmness, and contentment is the stronger person, too. Because of quiet trust, this person is able to endure both the little trials and the larger storms of life.
"My crown is in my heart, not on my head, Nor decked with diamonds and Indian stones
, Nor to be seen: My crown is called content: A crown it is, that seldom kings enjoy."
- William Shakespeare
"A contented heart is an even sea in the midst of all storms."
"A sense of contentment makes us kindly and benevolent to others; we are not chafed and galled by cares which are tyrannical. We are fulfilling our proper destiny, and those around us feel the sunshine of our own hearts."
- Edward George Earle Lytton