About the Author

Matt is a teacher, pastor, artist and writer in Kansas City. His first book, Life After Art, was released by Moody Publishers April 2013.

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  1. I wish I could be more content with the present instead of always looking to the future.

    • I look back now, and I realize that when I looked my best, I still believed I had some weight to lose, that everything wasn’t good enough. Now I wish I could go back there and enjoy me. 🙂
      Funny, this thing called life!

      • Yep…I am about 60 pounds overweight right now. It’s so easy to think, “I’d be happy with myself if I could just lose that extra weight.” But the truth is that when I was smaller, and I looked better, and was healthier and didn’t have a lot of things “wrong” with my physical appearance that I have now…well, I still didn’t like myself. I know it’s a heart issue for me, and I won’t be happy until that insecurity changes, no matter what I weigh, I will always feel lacking just like I did before.

  2. I wish I could be content with my chronic health issues instead of always trying to research or change my diet or eliminate toxins around me to find a cure or complain because I dont have I dont feel normal.

    • I spend forever researching too because of my health problems. If I didn’t I would have spent my entire life in bed instead of only parts of it each day. I always have to bring my diagnosis to the doctor with me as because I present differently or have unusual complaints I am never accurately diagnosed. Because of the research I was able to uncover several real health issues and deal with them. It is not a bad thing to be a good advocate for yourself. Have your B12 levels checked. This is often an underlying problem that is never checked and is often the culprit.

  3. I wish I could be more content with the simple things…with less “stuff”…more “life”

  4. I wish I could be more content with everything in my life. Life is going so well, and yet, it seems pushed and forced.

  5. I wish I could be content with where our family is right now- because then I would really be trusting God!

  6. I wish I could be content with myself as well. Boy I needed to hear this today. God is so good to feed us what will bless us.

  7. I wish I could be more content with my life…the “stupid” job choices I’ve made.

    I, too, wake up middle of the night and hear Satan wisper–“Stupid, dumb, not good enough, never amount to anything, why even try”. These voices come several times a week and I wish I could just shove them away! OH, believe me, I’ve prayed about them and asked God for HIS PLANS for my life & work!

    • wow can I relate. A lot (of the bad things) in my life has occurred because of the poor life choices I have made too. The best we can do is to ask God to lift us up and out of that place or to lead us to what we need to learn from the circumstances we have found ourselves in due to the poor choices. A good place to get help for this is Celebrate Recovery. It is a 12 step Christian based program for helping to heal all of life’s hurts, hang-ups and habits. It is not mainly about substance abuse but rather about the person you are and how God can help you to become the person you were meant to be. They have meetings everywhere.

  8. I wish I could be more content with God’s plan for my life instead of constantly mucking it up with own plans. To understand that the broken heart of today leads to compassion and healing tomorrow. I can believe that for you, but not for me. I’m convinced I know better than God and I have to fix every problem rather than be content with his timing, his plan.

  9. I wish I could be content with my job. It’s not that I hate my job; I don’t. I love my co-workers, boss, and even enjoy most of the kids I see. But I’m bored. I have a desire to work on a more full-time basis at a crisis pregnancy center where I volunteer as a sonographer and health history nurse one evening a week. But evidently it’s not God’s timing yet, so I keep on keepin’ on, hoping circumstances will change before I’m too old!

  10. I wish I could be content with the abilities I have been given (and to truly consider them as gifts from my Creator)

    • I struggle with this because I have come to realize that God’s purpose for me is art. I do not feel good enough as I have had little to no training and because no one in my life values what I do. I have read several good Christian books that have helped me with this. Unlocking the Heart of the Artist and the Creative Call especially.

  11. I wish I could be content with my self-image, with the present that God gives me and hope for the future rather than look to the past of what has been and wish it could’ve, with my talents and skills… Just being content with who I am and what I have rather than comparing myself to others and their lifestyles or families or looking for approval and acceptance of others…

  12. Thank you! I wish I was content with me…always think I should do more and better…have dozens of “to dos” and will never do them all so I need to learn to do the ones I am drawn to because that is how I was created instead of thinking I have to be all, do all!

  13. I wish I coulb be more content with the NOW. Stop dwelling on the past and stop panicking about the future. but be content with Now … the beauty of Now!

  14. I wish I coud be more content with the NOW. Stop dwelling on the past and stop being so worried about the future. but be content with Now … the beauty of Now!

  15. I wish I was content with myself. You hit the nail on the head for me with this post. Even as I am learning to believe who I really am as God’s child, I still continue to put myself down and not believe the truth. I appreciate you speaking up about this here and on your blog and your book looks great!

  16. I wish I could be content with being vulnerable without wondering about other people’s opinions.

  17. I wish I could be more content with my kids and my parenting.
    Accept them as they are now. Love them more fully ….right where they are.
    My 17 year old daughter is an artist….loaded with God given talent….and she beats
    herself up endlessly. She struggles with not feeling like enough.
    Thanks for the book and your writing.

  18. I wish I could be content with who I am, I am a perfectionist and have way to high expectations of myself.

  19. I wish I could be content with who God made me to be, I ‘m always self doubting myself or comparing myself with others who have better or are more skillful in their abilities. Thank you for your blog and insights, makes you see things with a God focused lens!

  20. I wish I could be content with who I am to my husband and children. I’m always thinking I need to do like this wife and this mom. I forget what I’m already doing for my husband and children.

  21. I wish I could be content with the way that I parent and the way that I am a wife, rather than always feeling as if I wasn’t doing well enough.

  22. I wish I could be content with who I am! I was in a verbally and emotionally abusive marriage for several years and its hard to learn to let go of the lies spoken over me and know that I know that I am good enough just as I am.

    • Kristy Lynn, I am praying for you today. Keep looking to Him who made you “fearfully and wonderfully” and remind yourself of that so that “your soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139

  23. I wish I could be content with who I am. I am constantly telling my son that God made no mistakes in creating him exactly as he is, yet I fail to believe the same about myself.

  24. I wish I could be more content with who I am; a quiet, introvert, and not wish I was an extrovert. I often feel invisible…

    • Oh man. My wife is an incurable introvert and I consider myself a “shy extrovert.” The world loves extroversion and thinks introverts are “weird.” Don’t worry – you are not alone. It’s just that the rest of us introverts can’t always be heard above the noise. 🙂

    • Linda,
      I can really relate to what you said. I’m also an introvert and I feel invisible on so many levels! In large groups it can be very painful for me.

  25. I wish I could be more content with where I am. We moved to a new city for my husband’s job 2 months ago. I want to support my husband and I believe this must be God’s will.. .but I have to work to keep a good attitude with this change in my life. I miss so much back “home”.

  26. I wish I could be content with TODAY and live more in the moment. I am an overplanner and miss out on SO much because I’m always worried about the details!!

  27. The way God brought me into the world and the highly dysfunctional family he put me into.

  28. I wish I could be more content with my age and stage of life. Are my best years behind? Has God already done His greatest work in me? I pray not! I hope not. Yet, I press on to the high calling…until the day of His appearing.

  29. I wish that I could be content with my “place”. Where I am, my situation, my life.

  30. I wish I could be content with the struggle and the pain of this moment of life. For I know there are deep and important truths to be learned through the struggle and the pain, but when the future is uncertain and scary I just want to wish away the hurt that surrounds me now. I want to be content with where God has me today and believe and trust Him for a hope and a future that is far beyond my limited view.

  31. I dish I could be more content with relationships… I need to e grateful for what I have and not always feel like I need more….

  32. I wish I could be content with my past and all the “I should have done that different” thoughts that enter in. All that self-doubt keeps me from being the person I am, fear holds me back from the creativity I can unleash into the world.

    • Definitely. Coming into my 30s, I had this sinking feeling that I had made so many well-intentioned but ultimately bad decisions that I had wrecked my life. (It turned out to not be true.)

  33. I wish I could be content with today. Just today, as the blessing God intends it to be.

  34. I wish (truly I pray for it) that I might be content with–my weight, my house, my furniture, my ministries (which are many–what does that say about me?), my loudness (I can quiet a roomful of 50+ middle schoolers with a shush), my failures, wait make that my successes, my thin hair, my. . .okay. You get the picture. I’m a mess. But in all my wish(prayers) for contentment with my life in general, I am so thankful that God loves me enough to wash away my sins with His Son’s blood, and then to adopt me not just as a daughter to the King, but as an heir, co-heir with His First-born Son. May I be content with THAT!

  35. I wish I could be content with everything about myself. The list is entirely too long to include here. God has really been opening my eyes to the degree of discontentment in my life, and this post could not have come at a more appropriate time. Discontentment is something I can look back and see for at least 3 generations before me. I am determined not to model it to my children also. I want them to know that they were wonderfully crafted by their Maker.

  36. I wish I were more content with my weight, my physical appearance, the way my children are living, where I am in life, my imperfections, and the list goes on….

  37. I wish I could be content with what God has given me…cause it’s amazing even with the challenges and pitfalls.

    • Ooh…that’s certainly a good one.

      We used to refer to the “mystery of faith.” It’s almost redundant to call faith a mystery. But for some reason, we are no longer content with God being mysterious. We’d rather He be a formula.

  38. I wish I could be content with my accent, which is admittedly fairly light. I just hate the way it instantly makes me feel as an outsider every time I am having a conversation and someone says, “What’s your accent?” or “Where are you from?” I wish it didn’t make me self-conscious the way it does. Then again, I could remind myself to be grateful for the ability to learn languages, for those people who never ask me about the accent, like my kids, and for the way God’s providence brings together the diverse church body from every tongue and every nation, and every corner of the world.

  39. I wish I could be more content with my life as it is right now, the way I look, and my current job. I’m constantly wishing things were different in my life that I feel like I’m missing all the goodness that God has poured into my life. I am very blessed. I need to be thankful for who I am and where God put me at this particular moment in life.
    Carol

  40. I wish I could be content with my circumstances in general!…where I am right now, even with all that is not quite right and downright awful! I am trying to keep in mind, He is in control and that if I lean into Him right now, all will fall into place in it’s time for His purposes, even the hard! Maybe especially the hard! Hope that makes sense!

  41. I wish I could be content with Jesus being my best friend & not needing a best girlfriend too.

    • Jesus created us to be part of community. A good girlfriend is a really important part of that. I moved a year ago and struggle as I still have not really made many good girlfriends and no one as close as those I left behine in NJ. I wish we lived close enough that maybe we could help each other out by becoming friends.

  42. I wish I could be content in being different and accepting exactly who God created me to be.

  43. i’ve been trying to be content with the house i’m living in now. . . and looking forward to being content with something new. 😉

    oh, and after saying that i didn’t see myself as an artist at all on the last post, someone was visiting my house for the first time and couldn’t stop saying how beautiful it is.

    honestly, i live in a dump. and i’m mostly blind. so how does that happen? i think it might be grace. 🙂

  44. …..myself. Be assured that I’m trying hard enough to be the best I can be. But also really rest in God’s forgiveness and knowing that I am ‘perfect’ in His sight while not allowing myself to be lazy because I’m already forgiven.

  45. I wish I could me content with where I am (physically, spiritually, emotionally) in the midst of trying to improve or grow in those areas. I think, I will be happy when I get to______, when really I should be happy/content both in the here and now and in the changes that come. I just can’t balance that right now.

  46. I wish I could be content with the way I preformed as a wife & a photographer in an ocean of perfectionists.

  47. I wish I could be content with the opportunities I’m given and not always feel rejection when I’m left out of others.

  48. I wish I could be content with the attempts my family makes to keep the house up while I am at work. My time is much better spent loving my people than worrying about their things.

  49. I wish i could be content with my parenting, with the situation im in right now as a single mom. That i could stop striving and striving but never doing it good enough.

    • it’s funny how the thing that one person can’t deal with is the thing that was the best part of another’s life. I hated having to go back to work, although part time, and not being able to be there all the time with my children. And now, I am disabled and not able to work full time, my kids are both old enough that they should be helping out and they don’t.

  50. I wish I could be more content with my relationship with my mother. I try to remember to expect nothing and I won’t be disappointed.

  51. I wish I could be more content with the way I look and how I feel about myself. Also with our financial situation, and my fibromyalgia. I would love to read your book! One of my “outlets” is art. I feel closer to God when I am making art, whether it be mosaics, stained glass or traditional rug hooking.
    Lisa

    • I so totally relate to that too Lisa. I have CFS, MDD, GDD and pernicious anemia. My financial situation is bordering bankruptcy as the only way out. Creating art definitely helps me with the discontent and depression and disillusionment I have with my life and brings me closer to God. Check out the books Unlocking the Heart of the Artist and The Creative Call.

  52. “I wish I could be content with MYSELF”. I always think I should be prettier, thinner, more patient mother, more submissive wife… It’s a tough way to live, but I am getting better at letting go and let God. This book sounds like its written for me!

  53. I wish I could be content with what the bible tells me. I wish that every time I sat down to read it that it resonated truth, peace and CONTENTMENT in me. Same with prayer.

  54. I wish I could be content with truly being STILL. I’m always moving, doing, thinking, praying, wrangling 3 little boys . . . . I never am able to really, confidently, successfully, be still in HIS presence . . . .

  55. I wish I could be content with Gods presence as I am still and know He IS GOD. Instead I tend to rush around or hurry through prayer and bible study.

  56. I wish I could be content with my quietness, and accept that it is what God breathed into my being.

  57. I remember me teaching pre-k classroom, the best time of my life. I placed a forgettable easel and brushes and paint for my 4 years old to paint daily, if they wish and in rotation the 12 students. I had a parent who was an artist and brought some of his materials to an open classroom to the whole school. What a lovely time! I still wish to put my easel up for my grandson and myself and other kids to paint freely. I loved your approach to art and learning. Any brain needs it!

  58. At first I was thinking by the title of this book it isn’t for me but after reading what you wrote, it is. I feel just like this “It isn’t that I’m not thankful. No, this is a struggle that makes me wonder if I’m doing enough, if God is happy with me, if my life means something.”

  59. I wish I could be content with the journey — and not always be looking ahead to what’s next. I am forever thinking about “later”, or what I’ll do when I reach a certain goal or age. And I miss out on the beauty of the present. I rush through every day, and every stage of my kids’ lives. I just wish I could stop and be HERE.

    Thanks, Matt, for another chance to win the book! And for your posts… they’ve been really insightful!

    ~MizB

  60. I wish I could be more content with…. the woman I see in the mirror. In my mind I know God has said I am fearfully and wonderfully made, yet all I see and my mind focuses on is the things I do not like about myself that I feel powerless to change.

  61. I wish I could be content with what my family looks like now. My husband passed away a year and half ago and as hard as it has been on me it has been even harder on my son. He is 9 now and I just keep thinking things would be better if he had a dad. But the truth is, he does. He has 2 of them and they are both in Heaven.

    Thank you for this post. I guess I needed to address this in my heart, because the tears are flowing.

  62. I wish i were more content with…the roles that God gave me: Child of God, Wife, Mother, Teacher. I need to work on not comparing myself to others with these roles, and also stop comparing where I am at, with my created expectations. I have read your post today and the one from Monday. I think your book sounds very interesting and I would love to read it!

  63. I wish I could be more content with my level of intelligence; I may not have the same capabilities as my husband, best friend, etc., but just because I’m just ‘an artist’ doesn’t mean I’m dumb. I just use my brain differently!

  64. Hi Matt,

    I’ve really enjoyed your posts on incourage. The last one I really took to heart because I’m a children’s pastor and I see exactly what you’re talking about each time kids enter the room for their worship time. And I’m just speaking about 4 and 5 year olds! They love to worship with great abandon, but those kindergartners (especially boys) getting ready for first grade cross their arms and just stand there. Doing nothing.

    Which brings me to my own contentment problem, I struggle with being content in God’s stillness. When I want to move, God says be still. Being still for this active ADD person is hard. I’m a doer and I love doing so when God says be still, I listen, but its pretty hard for me to settle down at first. In that quiet space, I see God’s beauty and understand why I need to be still. He’s teaching me, but its still a process.

  65. I wished I could be content with the ministry and platform that God has given me. Erma Bombeck once said, “The grass is always greener on the other side…that’s because it’s over a septic tank.” I get to make people laugh, even though I would like “more” (whatever that means), I am truly blessed.

  66. I wished I could be content with the ministry and platform that God has given me. Erma Bombeck once said, “The grass is always greener on the other side…that’s because it’s over a septic tank.” I get to make people laugh, even though I would like “more” (whatever that means), I am truly blessed.

  67. I wish I could be content with the pain and suffering that this season has brought me from two accidents and as a result two injuries….that through these trials I have actually entered into a sweeter, more intimate, and more rewarding relationship with my Creator! I now have to rely on him more than ever and he is transforming my character into the person I have always prayed to become more like….JESUS! So rather than pray the crap and pain away I will try welcome it, experience the peace in it and abide in my first love then FLY 🙂

  68. I wish I could be content with where I am in life and know if its where God wants me to be.

  69. I wish I could be content with the life I now have to live after the untimely death of my daughter. I am now alone and do not see contentment in my future.

  70. I wish I could be content with the way God has created me, everything about me, my graying hair, not so slim body, disorganization, ALL of it!!! I’m this way for a reason, just cause I don’t meet the world’s standards doesn’t mean I don’t meet God’s right now at this point in life. I need to accept this life!! Then He’ll do what He sees fit 🙂

  71. I wish i could be more content with just hoping for something good to happen and not waiting for the shoe to drop

  72. I wish I could be content with down time at work. Trying to “look busy” feels so dishonest to me.

  73. I wish I could be content with my need for grace. It is hard to extend grace to myself or receive it from others.

  74. i wish i could be content with my family, with my work and of course with myself

  75. I wish I could be content in Christ instead of looking to circumstances to satisfy me.

  76. I wish I would be more content with my body. I know that even if I lose all my weight, I will still struggle to see beauty instead of flaws.

  77. I wish I could be content “not being in control”. I always want to be in control, make it all okay, protect everyone, be everything to everyone…and I can’t. But I continue on in futile measures…when will I learn “God is in Control”.

  78. I have searched for validation everywhere. Trying to be better, do better, fix this fix that and all the while not feeling good enough.

    Yet my validation came at the cross. A lesson I’m working on learning.

  79. I wish I could be more content with parts of my body and the talents that God has given me.

  80. I wish I could be content with being me. I wish I could learn to be content with who I am; who god created me to be!

  81. I wish I could be content with where I am right now and nit constantly longing for what I wish would happen…..

  82. I wish I could be content with the messy-ness that the stage of life my kids are in. My home seems like it’s a constant disaster. With 4 little age 7-2 and one coming later, everything is never where I left it. Lol. I know it’s just a stage!….but it still bothers me.

    • Me too. Even with my child gone, I am still discontent in my own home. I think it’s me not my home. Not being thankful enough for what I have maybe.

  83. I wish i could be content with the fact that life is very daily…chores, jobs, family, church…i often let my momentary emotions rule the day instead of being so very grateful for all my blessings.

  84. I wish I could be content with the fact that I’m not performing in any musicals this summer. But the truth is, my heart aches. I am grateful for where my life is right now, but I miss my passion, and hope to SOON be performing again! 🙂

  85. I wish I could be more content with the body He gave me and be more forgiving to myself because of what I’ve done to this body.

  86. I wish I could be content with the situation we are in now. I have a tough time balancing dreams and wishes with discontentment.

  87. I wish I could be content with my health problems. I have come to acceptance with them for the most part, but struggle time to time with the unknowing of will my health get substantially worse, how much more of my independence will I lose, and if I will still be able to create art.

  88. […] worry more about whether what we are doing/thinking/saying is something that God would approve. Matt Appling wrote that he finds a lot of people in church and outside the church, who are disconten…, who think they missed something important that they should have done or should be doing. The main […]

  89. I wish I could be content with this moment. When my grandma was in her 90s she moved to be near her daughter. She said her new word was contentment and she worked at being content there. One thing she said helped her was reading the Psalms and looking for joy in the Bible. When she found it, she would circle it. There’s a lot of joy and contentment to be found if you look for it. Thank you for sharing your insight.

  90. I wish I could be content with “just enough light for the step I’m on”.

  91. I wish I could finally be able to say what Scripture says about me and believe it…that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I always seems to come up short in my own expectations of myself.

  92. To be content with not understanding. I am praying to understand God’s love for me and how to let it guide me and shape my life.

  93. I “stumbled” onto your blog although I don’t really believe in coincidences when we walk with the Lord. Thank you for your words about contentment with ourselves. As a 68 year old grandma, I still struggle with those same nagging thoughts.

  94. I wish I could be content with my weigth loss journey and every step of moving my food from the pedestal to the plate, putting God in the right place in my life.

  95. I wish I could be content when I am at home. Home is just another workplace for me. How can I rest when there are always chores looking at me?

  96. I wish I could be content with how I’m wired; I struggle with bipolar disorder. Surely God didn’t intend to give me this challenge? Surely He didn’t mean to make enemies of my emotions? Instead of questioning, why can’t I accept my “thorn in the flesh” and allow it to pull me closer to Him?

  97. I wish I could be content in each toddler moment; in both the giggles AND the tantrums.

  98. I wish I could be content with leaving the only home town I’ve known for 51 yrs to a new one..and the transition therein

  99. I’m 60 and this is the first year in all those years that I am so aware of my contentment. I write it that way because perhaps there were moments during the past when I was content and did not recognize it, did not value it, or did not know it could be so fleeting. The one thing I do know is that I surely never praised God for it. I was ignorant in thinking it was all my own doing.
    Now I know. Now I recognize. Now I treasure. And each and every morning I offer thanks to Him. And then I ask for one more day of His grace as I strive to be a blessing in the life of another. Perhaps that is why I am so content.

  100. I wish I could be content with how my life is turning out….it is not at all as I would have imagined or hoped, and yet, I know God must have a reason,…so trying to find contentment among all the doubt and questions is difficult.

  101. I wish I could be more content with not knowing exactly what God wants my husband and I to be doing right now in this season of our lives…not knowing what the precise direction is…

  102. I wish I could be content with myself.
    Wow, after scrolling through all these comments I see I am not alone. It is sad that we are all struggling with contentment.

  103. wonderful post!!! i needed that!!!

    i wish i could be content in knowing why God has removed a friend from my life!!! i know it’s for my own good, but i am still wondering “why?”!!!

  104. I would love to be more content with NOW, instead of always feeling like my good days are still in the future. (Yes, I pray that the days to come keep getting better and better, but I also want to learn to enjoy each day as it comes.)