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Embracing Contentment Without Complacency

April 27, 2021

As we wrap up this month’s series reflecting on ten years of ADDO, I want to share one final lesson I have learned—and am still learning.

It’s important to find contentment while avoiding the trap of becoming complacent.

If I could go back in time and do these ten years over again, I would work to be more content in each season of our business.  

Ten years ago, I was discontent. To be fair, most of my discontent was healthy and channeled properly. Not being OK with many things in the world was a good thing. It’s good that I wasn’t content with the way businesses developed (or didn’t develop) their people. It’s good that I was discontent with much of the leadership landscape in school. And it was good that I worked to do something about it. 

Unfortunately, this discontentment spread to many other aspects of our business. I never fully enjoyed the accomplishments, relationships, and moments that built ADDO in its infancy because I was always thinking about what could be better and always striving toward what was next.

Have you ever felt yourself discontent with areas of your life? Do you wonder where that lack of contentment comes from?

True contentment comes from two key things:

1. The proper perspective
2. A heart of gratitude

Many times we aren’t content because we lack the proper perspective. For me, my faith anchors me and gives me a healthy perspective of my present circumstances. The root of your perspective needs to be in something greater than yourself. 

Once we focus on something bigger than ourselves, we need to remember to be grateful.

A grateful heart thinks more about what it has than what it lacks.

This kind of heart is able to enjoy where it is, even if it is looking ahead to a good vision for a better future.

We should all work to be content, but we should do so with caution. While contentment is good, being complacent is not. It’s easy for contentment to move down the slippery slope to complacency. Complacency happens when we swing to the opposite side of this pendulum. We are no longer striving, not because we’re content, but because we have an unconcerned heart for improvement.

Complacent people lose their vision for what should be or could be. They don’t want to get better because they don’t care to get better. “Fools are destroyed by their own complacency. But all who listen to me will live in peace…” (Proverbs 1:32b–33a)

Friends, don’t mistake complacency for contentment. Contentment is finding joy and peace in your circumstances while you continue the work you’re called to do. Complacency is deciding you’re going to stay where you are because you’re apathetic toward improving yourself or the world around you.

When we live in the healthy place between striving and apathy, we embrace contentment and avoid becoming complacent.

We may never get it exactly right, but in my next ten years at ADDO, I hope to grow in contentment. I think a good place for me to start is to be grateful for the last ten years.


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