Ambition is defined as “an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honor, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment”. But I found out something interesting, the origin of the word ambition is from the Latin word “ambitiō” and it has various meanings but one stuck out for me an excessive desire to please, flattery and adulation. I believe ambition can be destructive when it is channeled in a negative way and it can also be constructive. I’ll let you in on a secret, there is something known as godly ambition.
While contentment can be defined as a mental or emotional state of satisfaction and being at ease in one’s situation, body and/or mind. Some people view contentment as living the simple life, having no ambition and just being lazy; that is so far from the truth. True contentment is active in nature because it involves consistently trusting God to work in you. We discover from Hebrews 13:5 that we should be content with what we have because God will never leave us nor forsake us.
Contentment, for me, is resting in the fact that Christ has purchased for me everything that I need in this life. Kinda backwards thinking but I can show you it’s not like that; imagine this, if a man wants to become born again, would Jesus need to come down from heaven to die again or would you have to weep and beg for Him to come and save you. NO. Why? Because Jesus already died for your sins and all you have to do is to believe and step out with that assurance. But most of the time we don’t “feel” born again immediately after believing; that’s because it really isn’t about how you feel.
It’s the same with contentment and ambition. The more I understood that all that I need in this life is available to me by the sacrifice of Christ; i stopped seeing people as my competitors, rather I began to see people as my “accomplices” in success.
Ambition for me now is an excessive desire to live out the purpose that God ordained for me right from my mother’s womb. I understand that I am God’s miracle to someone and people are waiting for me to be ambitious as regards my purpose.
It’s not about what I think or feel; it’s about what God has made provision for.
Apostle Paul wrote that he had learned the secret of contentment in every situation; here are 5 ways to learn contentment.
- Gratitude – Stop complaining about where you are right now; be thankful for this stage of your life. It’s part of your legacy.
- Trust that God is with you – Your life is not a surprise to God – He created you. Rest in the fact that God is building you up and soon you’ll transition to the next phase.
- Mind your business (aka work and don’t be lazy) – 1 Thessalonians 4: 11 – 12 describes this accurately that “..make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”
- Don’t be deceived by your emotions – Emotions are highly deceptive and can make us do really stupid things. Emotion is defined as any relatively brief conscious experience characterized by intense mental activity and a high degree of pleasure or displeasure; note the word brief. Contentment (God’s way) is intentional and is not based on whether you feel happy or sad. If you base your contentment on what you have or don’t have, then your emotions will constantly affect your mood, your perceptions and your ability to make wise decisions.
- Be service oriented – The Bible tells us that “the liberal soul will be made fat”. Release yourself from the burden of self; use your gifts to help others and you will see a river of favour flowing back to you.
Ambition and contentment are key indicators of success and happiness in life; they’ll determine your choices in life, success and the level of joy you’ll experience. You don’t need to sacrifice one for the other, rather, go the way of godly contentment and ambition which is the better strategy.