Tuesday, March 21, 2017

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my thoughts: contentment versus complacency

So, I've been working through this for some time now. I have at least one pretty big issue with Paul, so reading his words from when he wrote/taught the Philippians about contentment was a little difficult. I understand the words and see their validity, but because it was Paul… I'm not sure I can adequately explain my issue.

Anyway… I've felt confused about the difference between contentment and complacency for a while. Mostly because we are told to be content, but NOT complacent. The first definition found via google for each are as follows:
contentment – a state of happiness and satisfaction
complacent – showing smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one's achievements

While those are the given definitions, my understanding of the two words has been more like:
contentment – accepting what is without motivation to pursue more
complacency – ignorance of need for improvement or exceeding laziness of character which stagnates an individual where they are such that they do not move forward or changeable

Based on common usage, I think the actual definition of complacency is very much a combination of my understanding and the definition cited. However, I think the second part of my definition for complacency is the more accurate one based on usage I've heard and read.

So, given all that, I can completely understand how and why we would be advised against complacency. While, especially in the way Paul uses it, I really even still have a tough time with contentment. I do believe we should choose to be happy in whatsoever circumstances we find ourselves. However, if we do so, how do we feel motivated to improve our circumstances? I'm still troubling over this, in fact. I guess if I come to a point where I understand it fully, I'll share what I come up with. Until then, tell me what YOU think! I seriously would love some help with this and reading your perspective could be just what I need! Thank you in advance if you take some time to help me figure this out!
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