A Hidden Key to Contentment

One of the professional hats I wear is as a public speaker, a job I love. A few months ago I was in Australia for a series of events, one of the most enjoyable being a conference for teachers and educators. Eight-hundred of us gathered in the Great Hall of the University of Newcastle, where I got to unpack the topic they’d asked me to speak on—contentment.

What Contentment is (and isn’t)

Contentment is a fascinating experience because it isn’t the same as happiness or fulfilment (some of the most contented people on earth endure both sadness and live on very little). Contentment, it turns out, is a sense of completion. Whether life is easy or hard, the contented person can say, In this moment I am enough and have enough.

Since contentment isn’t about happiness or fulfilment, I suggested to these faith-based educators that it could be found in a divine love that gave us an identity and made us truly whole. “Remember this,” I said, closing my talk: “You are a dearly loved child of God.”

You can imagine my surprise then when, after the conference, walking back to the university car park, I came across a sign someone had stuck on the wall: “Remember this,” it said. You are an animal.”

Main image: Warren (Creative Commons). Above: Sheridan Voysey

Two Views of Humanity

Child of God. Animal. The contrast was stark, and struck me as revealing the two main ways we can view humanity. In one view, we are mere products of random natural processes, little more than bone and matter and animal instinct. In the other, we aren’t just bodies but souls infused with the breath of heaven, loved into existence, made to embrace the One who designed us before time. I wonder which view would best lead to contentment…

A few days later I received an email from someone who’d been in that university audience. After recounting her troubled family background, she said: “Thank you for telling me that before I am anything else, I am a deeply loved child of God, and that only God can complete me. I sobbed with joy all the way home.”

Whether life is easy or hard, the contented person can say, In this moment I am enough and have enough. In a world that reminds us daily of what we lack, I’m convinced contentment begins by viewing ourselves from above, not below—as deeply flawed but deeply loved people, made for divine embrace.

Listen Now

First broadcast on BBC Radio 2’s Zoe Ball Breakfast Show

Please Share


  • May 9, 2024
    Michelle Vergara

    I needed your reminder that I’m a deeply loved child of God. I needed it so much! Because of His Holy Love, I’m enough. Thank you, Sheridan. I’m so happy for all the challenges and joys Friendship Lab is bringing you. Through you, God’s Love is being known and shared. Sending you love and prayers.

    • May 10, 2024
      Sheridan Voysey

      Thank you lovely Michelle.


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