Wants, Needs and Contentment



*I began writing this for #FiveMinuteFriday where the prompt for this week is the word want, but I couldn’t just stop after five minutes. We all have wants and needs, but are we content?



What are my wants? What do I need?


Is there a point where want and need coincide?

I want new floors in my kitchen, dining room and upstairs bathroom. I could argue that those wants are real needs. All three floors are in need of repair or replacement. They are not only unsightly but could be dangerous in the areas that are broken or uneven. (updated June, 2017, to say that we did get new floors in the kitchen and dining room!)

I want to remodel the downstairs bathroom to make it more accessible to our mostly wheelchair bound son. Right now there is no place for him to shower unless someone carries him upstairs. So I would also consider this want to be a need.

I want to find a van that has a ramp and a place for the wheelchair to fit so that my son doesn’t have such a hard time when he wants to go out somewhere. To me that is also a need that is high in priority. (updated June, 2017, to say we got a van and a portable ramp, so that it’s easier to get the wheelchair in the van, though my son still has to slide into the van from the wheelchair. It’s definitely an improvement over what we had.)




Obviously, all those wants/needs can’t be tackled at the same time. So we need to think of them in order of priority, and then one by one try to make them happen.


Where does contentment come in to play when I think of these wants and needs?


*(Here is where my five minutes ended.)




Learning To Be Content


Paul said in Philippians 4:11 that he had learned to be content no matter what the situation. He goes on to say in verses 12-13:

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Phil. 4:12-13 NIV)


Paul certainly did not have everything easy or in perfect condition. He was not always healthy, and even had a “thorn in the flesh” that was always with him. God did not take it away, though Paul pleaded.


Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
(II Cor. 12:8-9 NIV )


Can I Learn Contentment?


We all face unwanted things like hard decisions, danger, sickness, death, and the list goes on. Our circumstances do not always change when we pray and put our trust in God, but we are still instructed to trust Him. We wonder how God’s grace can be sufficient when nothing seems to change, and we continue to have needs.

I think the key is learning to be content no matter what the circumstances. How can we do this? Like Paul we need to remember that God is the one who will enable us to trust Him. He will give us the strength we need. Once again in Philippians 4, we are given insight into how Paul found contentment. 


Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:4-7 NIV)


God Gives Peace

God will give us peace in every circumstance. We need to go to him in prayer, remembering to give thanks, and make our requests. We are given further instructions as to how to find peace and contentment:


Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9 NIV )




To be content doesn’t mean I always have to like the circumstances in which I find myself. I can have contentment in my heart even though my floors still need work and we still need to make things easier for our son. There is nothing wrong with making changes when time and money become available.


Why should I Worry?

I don’t need to worry about how or when or who will meet my needs. I can trust God to guide me, and in the meantime continue to do what I can with what I have right now. I can trust God to guide me, and in the meantime continue to do what I can with what I have right now.


I’m linking up with: #FiveMinuteFriday, #GiveMeGrace, #LMMLinkup, #inspirememondays, #TestimonyTuesday#CoffeeForYourHeart, #ThreeWordWednesday

22 thoughts on “Wants, Needs and Contentment

  1. For so many reasons, I love this post.
    So full of faith and realism – like you Gayl!
    My take away is this: Faith looks at a want – or even a need – and acknowledges its importance, but puts the decision for providing for its fulfillment fully in the hands of a sovereign God. This is truly an act of the Spirit in the heart.
    Thanks, Gayl, for this glimpse into your life.

    1. Thank you so much, Michele. I love the way you put into words your take away from the post. That is what I truly want to do even though I slip into complaining sometimes. I’m so glad you stopped by. Your comments are very encouraging! Blessings to you, dear sister! xo

    1. Thank you, Tammy, and thanks for your prayers! Love you! Blessings to you and Cecil. I pray that his recovery is going well and that you are also getting some good rest. xo

  2. Gayle, such a good good post! I’m glad we can trust in God. I’m in the #8 spot this week.

  3. Sometimes I have trouble stopping at 5 minutes, too – and so I go on! I read a post a few weeks ago about wants – about how God isn’t just a need-based Father God – and it encouraged me to make a list of my wants – to not be ashamed of them because our God is not a beggarly God. This is on my to-do list this summer – it’s not so much about wants as recognizing and not stuffing some really real things that are stuffed because I think I’m not good enough or worthy enough for God to care about. I think the difference between being a child of God and a forgotten child, is that a child of God knows what he wants, knows his father can get it for him any time – and is still o.k. with not having it, whereas a forgotten child feels nobody knows what he wants, knows nobody is going to care enough to get it – and doesn’t feel he deserves it.

    1. Yes, I believe God delights to give us good things. I agree with what you say here, “- it’s not so much about wants as recognizing and not stuffing some really real things that are stuffed because I think I’m not good enough or worthy enough for God to care about.” I’m so glad we are not forgotten, that God loves us so much that He provides not only our needs but also many of our wants. We need to remind ourselves that we are beloved children of God esp. when we get those feelings that we aren’t good enough. Thanks for visiting and for your thoughts! Blessings to you!

  4. This post spoke to me. I wrestle with the issue of wants vs. needs. This is my favorite part: “To be content doesn’t mean I always have to like the circumstances in which I find myself. I can have contentment in my heart even though ____ (fill in).”
    I found you on #LMM linkups Forever Joyful. The title stood out to me.
    Beckie from Spotlight, https://beckielindsey16.com/

    1. Thank you for visiting, Beckie. I’m glad it spoke to you. I think we all wrestle at times with that issue of wants vs. needs. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Blessings to you!

  5. I love your heart, Gayl…. and “just because” I am prayed today for God to provide those wants…. because He is a hilarious Giver, and I bet He is going to show up soon and in surprising ways. Hugs

  6. I think it’s key that Paul said he LEARNED the secret to contentment… and how did he do that? By being in situations that didn’t naturally promote contentment. That’s pretty much the way we learn it too. We face situations that should cause us to be discontent and unhappy, but when we turn to the Lord and seek His strength, submitting our wills to His, then the Spirit breathes into us a new attitude. of course, there will always be a temptation to drift toward discontentment. so we have to stay in step with the Spirit at all times. thanks!

    1. You are so right! Contentment is not something that just happens overnight. I agree that it’s those hard situations that God uses to teach us to turn to Him and trust. He always gives grace, and when I seek Him my attitude does change. Thank you so much for your comments and encouragement! Blessings to you!

  7. This is a lesson God has been teaching me in the past few years more than ever. To be satisfied in the place He has me, because that’s where He needs me to be. I can often feel compelled to strive for bigger and greater, but true contentment is knowing that His plan for me is always good. Great encouragement here today, Gayl. Blessings, friend.

    1. “To be satisfied in the place He has me, because that’s where He needs me to be.” Yes, because that’s where he needs us. Sometimes that’s hard to learn, but I know He loves me and knows what is best for me. He gives me the grace and faith to trust. Thank you so much for your encouragement, too, Tiffany! Many blessings to you!

  8. Gayle –
    Yes, learning to be content no matter the circumstances is indeed key! I am so glad you kept writing past the 5 minutes. I am trusting God with what I have right where He has me for now too…. Your neighbor today at #CoffeeForYourHeart

  9. Beautiful thoughts! In the midst of the recent “decluttering challenge” online frenzy, one of my friends pointed out we even need to be content if we are dealing with more clutter than we’d like on our living room floors – frequent mom problem, right? I’m glad you kept going with the prompt.

    1. Thanks, Leslie! Yes, we have a chest for toys in our living room and when the grandchildren come there is quite a bit of clutter on the floor. 🙂 So it’s a mom problem and a grandma problem. LOL

      Thanks for your encouragement, Leslie. Blessings to you!

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