Can I Find Contentment Right Where I Am? With Alyssa Bethke [Episode 169]

Find Contentment Alyssa Bethke

We all face issues that try to rob us of our joy—anxiety, loneliness, and discontent—just to name a few. And with all of its expectations and contradictions, this world can take a major toll on us…

We’re supposed to be fit, but not too skinny. Work and hustle, but stay home and be a good mom. Be wild and free, while remaining tidy and pure. Be a good wife, but be totally independent.

It can be exhausting, can’t it?

Well, today you can unwind and just settle into what it means to be satisfied and find contentment right where you are. Author and podcaster, Alyssa Bethke, helps us recognize our dissatisfactions for what they are—distractions!

So, breathe in … breathe out, because we’re about to break free from countless distractions that create discontent.

But first, let me introduce Alyssa…

Alyssa is a mother of three and the co-host of The Real-Life Podcast. She and her husband, Jeff, live in Maui and are also bloggers and YouTubers. They’re the New York Times bestselling authors of Jesus > Religion, It’s Not What You Think, and Love That Lasts. And today, we get to talk about Alyssa’s book, Satisfied: Finding Contentment Right Where You Are.

Sister, I’m telling you, this conversation will reset your heart to finding satisfaction in God’s presence.

Alyssa shares how her loneliness and pain served as an invitation that drew her into the presence of God. He changed her perspective, which has helped her stop looking to others to fill that void.

And she shares with us several truths she discovered through her journey, such as…

  • How can social media affect my attitude and expectations?
  • Is there a purpose to my waiting, or is my waiting in vain?
  • Can I know God is working on my behalf when I don’t see His answer?
  • Do I expect God to work only through big miracles?
  • Can I experience grief and have contentment at the same time?
  • Is it possible to be fully satisfied on this side of Heaven?
  • How do I identify the source of my dissatisfaction?

Alyssa gives you several practical steps for changing your perspective and finding contentment in any circumstance.

And after listening to this episode, I hope you’ll make time to saturate yourself in God’s Word. Remember … our level of satisfaction is in direct proportion to our level of saturation in God’s Word, and our saturation in God’s Word leads us to satisfaction with His presence.

So, my friend, know that you can find contentment right where you are because Jesus is right where you are! He is with you and lives in you, and it’s because He is in you that you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.

[Listen to the podcast using the player above, or read the transcript below. Then check out the links below for more helpful resources.]

Related Resources

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Episode Transcript

4:13 Podcast: Can I Find Contentment Right Where I Am? With Alyssa Bethke [Episode 169]

Jennifer Rothschild: We all face issues that try to rob us of our joy, anxiety, loneliness, and discontent, just to name a few. Well, today author and podcaster Alyssa Bethke is going to help you recognize those things for what they are: distractions. With all of its expectations and contradictions, this world can take a major toll on us. You know, like be fit, but not too skinny; work and hustle, but stay home and be a good mom; be wild and free, but remain tidy and pure; be a good wife, but be totally independent. It can be so exhausting, my friends. Well, today you can unwind and just settle into what it means to be satisfied and find contentment right where you are. So breathe in, breathe out. Here we go.

K.C. Wright: Here we go. Welcome to the 4:13 podcast, where practical encouragement and Biblical wisdom set you up to live the "I can" Life, because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. Now, would you welcome your host -- I'm so thankful for this woman of God -- Jennifer Rothschild.

Jennifer Rothschild: And I am so thankful for you, K.C. And we are always thankful for you, our dear 4:13ers. I know this is a big weekend for everybody because it's Thanksgiving, so you're either --

K.C. Wright: Woo-hoo.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- carving a turkey to eat Thanksgiving lunch or you're having leftovers --

K.C. Wright: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- or you're still having leftovers. Or maybe you're still having leftovers. But this is the time that we think about being thankful. And, K.C., a few months ago I literally started -- I can't even remember where I heard it. I think it was on one of our podcasts. But it was this concept of every morning when you wake up, and every night when you go to bed, think of five things you're grateful for.

K.C. Wright: Love that.

Jennifer Rothschild: And I started doing it, because I used to, like, as a -- kind of a thought, okay, what am I grateful for, to be an antidote for stress or anxiety. But instead, I decided to preempt the anxiety and stress and just do this as an exercise.

K.C. Wright: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: I love it.

K.C. Wright: It's a game changer, isn't it?

Jennifer Rothschild: It really is. And sometimes it's as simple as I'm thankful my knees aren't aching right now. You know what I mean? Or I'm thankful for this coffee or I am thankful that my son is happy at his job. I mean, it could be anything.

K.C. Wright: Yeah, top five. In everything give thanks, for this -- giving thanks -- is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. So there's so much power in thanksgiving.

Jennifer Rothschild: There really is.

K.C. Wright: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: I even remember one time I had just finished reading "The Silver Chair" in the Narnia series, and I remember going to bed that night and I was like, "Thank you, Lord, for the silver chair. Thank you, Lord, for C.S. Lewis." And on and on I went, of course, through every book I'd read, and it was far more than five things. But you know what -- speaking of him, what's funny is one of the things that caught my eye with Alyssa is that they have a dog named Aslan. So I would be thankful for that too.

K.C. Wright: Aslan is on the move, yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: Aslan is definitely on the move in their house.

K.C. Wright: Right. Oh, goodness. Well, I'm thankful for you, Jen, and I'm thankful for this podcast. And I'm always thankful for coffee and watermelon.

Jennifer Rothschild: Watermelon? Watermelon on Thanksgiving, now, that is random. But, you know, we don't have any boundaries with our list.

K.C. Wright: Alyssa Bethke is a mother of three and the co-host of the Real Life Podcast. She and her husband, Jeff Bethke, live in Maui and are also bloggers and YouTubers. They're the New York Times best-selling authors of "Jesus > Religion," "It's Not What You Think," and "Love That Lasts." Alyssa and Jennifer are now talking about Alyssa's book called "Satisfied: Finding Contentment Right Where You Are." Enjoying now. I just loved this conversation. So now, no matter where you are, settle in and enjoy this incredible great conversation.

Jennifer Rothschild: All right, Alyssa, we have to start with something that has just caught my ear, and it caught my heart. Okay?

Alyssa Bethke: Okay.

Jennifer Rothschild: The dog is named Aslan. So we have to start with that. Why is he named Aslan? Because I'm a C.S. Lewis junkie.

Alyssa Bethke: Well, we love C.S. Lewis so much. We love the "Chronicles of Narnia" And, many, I don't remember. Jeff, my husband, got Aslan for me our first year of marriage, for Christmas. I'd always dreamed of having, like, a yellow lab under the Christmas tree, with a big red bow, and he totally did that. So it was really sweet. And I think he just looked like a little lion, so -- so, yeah. And our youngest daughter is Lucy. So we kind of -- we're totally C.S. Lewis fans over here.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. Well, then we are definitely -- you are my people, I am your people, because I love C.S. Lewis. We have a dog named Lucy, and that's why. Yeah, that's why. I love it. All right. But let's get to your book. Which is beautiful, by the way, and there's so much in it. But I want to start with something where you're really honest about -- being lonely in paradise I would call it, because you live in Hawaii. You evidently had just moved back. And instead of getting into community and finding friends, you found yourself really lonely. So I want you to give us a feel for what that was like, and then really speak, you know, to the woman who may not be in paradise, but she is finding herself very lonely.

Alyssa Bethke: Yeah. It just wasn't my ideal, it wasn't what I was thinking, and it was really difficult to make friends. I think it's difficult to make friends as an adult in general. And then as a mom it's difficult, especially a young mom. I feel like, you know, do your kids get along? Do you have the same nap schedule, the same time to get together? And because Jeff was gone a lot, I feel like we couldn't necessarily have a lot of people over for dinner, just because he wasn't here. And so it just took a really long time to meet people. And I'm a really deep person, I like to go deep really fast, and that's when I feel like I really have my people, and it just takes time to go deep and to really walk and do life with people. And so I remember this one time -- it was really difficult. But then this one day during my oldest's nap time -- she was one at the time -- I was just sitting in my chair in my room, and I had my Bible open, and I just had these huge alligator tears dripping onto my Bible, just thinking like --just asking the Lord and telling him, "Lord, I feel so lonely." And I don't think I've ever felt this lonely before, where you just kind of almost feel -- I felt so hopeless and almost hollow, like just -- like, I almost couldn't breathe. Like, I just feel so desperate for people and for somebody to know me and to, like, know that when Jeff's gone, I know who to go to. Or if I need to SOS text someone, like, who do I SOS? And just longing to have that person. And my Bible was open to the psalms. And I don't even remember the chapter, but it was the psalm about how beautiful are your courts, Lord, like how -- you know, they're better -- better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere. Like, I long to dwell with you. And I just started praying and asking the Lord, like, "Lord, I just long to dwell with you, and I know that you are here with me and I'm not alone. I may feel really lonely, but I'm never alone and you're with me." And my friend Leslie at the time had told me this, and it's always stuck with me. She said, "Alyssa, let your lonelies draw you into the presence of God." And so I think our loneliness that we all experience in different ways and waves and seasons are not -- they're painful and they're not something that we would ever ask for, but I think they're invitations for us to come into the presence of God and have him fill us and meet us in a way that we wouldn't even know that we need if we weren't lonely. And so I feel like he just really met with me and satisfied me with his presence. And then when that was like really grounded and founded, I felt like I could go out and then have different eyes to see, instead of seeing like, oh, I have no friends or who would be my friend or -- it was more like, okay, Lord, who can I be a friend to? Who needs a friend right now? Who can I encourage? Who can I ask over and to encourage them? It just totally changed my perspective. Because instead of looking for my well to be filled up -- it was already full -- and so then I could look of how can I pour out. You've called me here, obviously, so who can I be a blessing to?

Jennifer Rothschild: That's really good insight. And I love the fact that you begin with being filled by the Lord.

Alyssa Bethke: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: Otherwise you are looking to others to fill that lonely place. And then you have something to give in your friendships. That's really a beautiful insight. And now most women can relate to those kind of feelings, and most of us are blessed enough to have some community and friendship. But I would be curious for you, how have social media and just the sense of comparing to one another, how has that affected your friendships?

Alyssa Bethke: I think social media is such a gift, but I think we also have to remind ourselves it's only 10 percent of that person and there's so much behind the screen. And so I think really -- I feel like there's been so many times in my life where the Lord has put somebody on my heart, and it's like, okay -- obviously I think when he does that, it's not us naturally thinking of them. I don't think it's natural for us to think of other people.

Jennifer Rothschild: Right. Yeah.

Alyssa Bethke: And so it's like, okay, Lord, I'm going to pray for them. Whatever, like, you're putting on my heart, I know that you have put them on my heart to be praying for them and to reach out. Like, Hey, I'm praying for you. How's it going? You know, how -- just all those things. And I've been so over -- like, floored at how the Lord -- it was so Spirit led, like they desperately needed prayer for that thing or -- and so I think letting social media -- you know, let it inspire you, let it be a blessing to meet people, but then to let it just be a window of there's so much more behind the screen.

Jennifer Rothschild: It's a prayer prompt. It's a relational prompt.

Alyssa Bethke: Yeah, mm-hmm.

Jennifer Rothschild: And, you know, I think sometimes we fall into that trap of competing with what we see --

Alyssa Bethke: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- instead of -- actually what you're saying is using that as a way to just really be a compliment to that person's life. Forget the competition and the comparison. That's really a beautiful thing. You talk about also in your book something I want to hit with you. You call them slow miracles. And we get caught up in wanting these quick changes or immediate answers for prayer, or whatever our situation is, but there's this value that can happen in the slowness, in the wait. So talk to us about that. Talk to us about the slow miracles and how to know that when we are in a waiting situation, that it has purpose, that it's not in vain.

Alyssa Bethke: Yeah. Such a good reminder. I think -- especially going off of the social media thing, I think we just live in a culture now, in an era, where it's instant gratification. And I think because of social media, we see everyone's highlights. And so we see all the big answer to prayers, we see all the big miracles, the really awesome things God is doing in people's lives. And so it can feel like God isn't working on our behalf if we're not seeing immediate answers, if our life isn't all these big events or the great vacation or, you know, the gorgeous baby showers or all those things. And I think we have to really hold that with an open hand and really take a step back and fully enter our realities and look for all the ways that God is working in our lives today. And the thing is, God is always at work and he's always pouring out his goodness and love on us. And there's all these little small miracles, but we have to open our eyes to see them. We have to put down our phones to see them. We have to be still and slow and to actually call them out. And I think all the little moments, like -- even when I'm praying for my kids -- I have three kids, seven, five, and two -- and praying, you know, like, I just so -- my greatest desire as their mom is that they will follow Jesus and love him with all their hearts and, like, this world would be just -- their hearts would not be clinging to this world, but it would be like just -- like for the Kingdom of God, on fire, serving the Kingdom with a passionate heart. And so that could be like my big miracle that I just, like, grieve over and long for and pray for. But noticing all the little ways God is answering, all those little miracles God is answering, too. Like when my child asks -- like shares -- chooses to share with his brother, and it's like, wow, that's amazing, because we've really been working on that, you know. Or saying "Please" and "Thank you." Or thinking about the neighbor down the street and wanting to bring them fresh bread. Like, all those little things are -- I feel like there's little miracles that we could so easily just pass by and be like, "That's cool." But it's like, no, that's God working in their heart, that's -- like, the Lord is pursuing them. Or when they -- I felt like for a while I was praying so much every day that God would give my oldest a hunger for His Word. And in the morning she would say, "Mom, will you read me another Bible story." And, like, she never wants me to stop. "Another Bible story, another Bible story." Or that week at church, her Sunday school teacher is like, "Oh, she just was so engaged with the story." And it's like all those little things that -- those are miracles. Like that's God answered prayer. And it can feel like such small ways, but they're really, really big for me too.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes. You know, you said, "They're not small to me." You know, they're not small to God either. What we might look at as just a little mini miracle, nothing is small to God, and it's all part of the big miracles in the making. You were talking a little bit about your kids, so I want to kind of stay with that for a minute and talk about something that I know is very difficult: miscarriage. So share with us a little bit about what your experience was with miscarriage and how you've been able to, or still are, processing that loss. Because I know there's some who are really identifying with that and you could be real encouragement.

Alyssa Bethke: I got pregnant after my second. And it was about eight weeks, and I went in -- you know, and I'd always had healthy pregnancies. I didn't think anything about it. And I went in for the ultrasound at eight weeks; they couldn't find a heartbeat. And immediately my heart dropped.

Jennifer Rothschild: Of course.

Alyssa Bethke: And she was like, "Well, maybe it's just too early." Like, "We'll go do your blood work and come back in a few days, we'll keep it monitored." And so -- and it's like when you hear really bad news, it's like you just -- you, like, are disconnected to your body. Like, it's like, I don't know what's going on. Is this real life? And so I went through all the blood work. I called my husband in the car bawling, shaking. And then that afternoon, I just immediately knew we had lost the baby. Like, all the things that were making me sick, I wasn't nauseous anymore. It was just like -- it was like you -- you think you're in denial, like, no, this isn't happening, and then you immediately just know, okay, this is really happening. And so for me, I had never really gone through a lot of grief before, not like losing somebody, and so I just grieved. And I think the hardest thing about grief is that you can't prepare for it. Like, you can't -- no matter how many books you read on it or how -- you know, like, you really can't prepare for it. And it happens, and everyone experiences it in a different way, handles it in a different way. And I feel like you really have to befriend it and let it take you on the journey of what God wants to teach you and how he wants to meet you in that. And so for the next week, I was in bed in so much pain, and losing the baby, but then also I feel like for days after that I just couldn't even get out of bed because I was so sad. And I would just lay in my bed and watch Hallmark and listen to all the sermons and just, like, bawl. And my mom came and laid with me in bed, and I had so many friends send me flowers and -- anyway, and so then a few weeks later, it was my 30th birthday, and my husband took me to California to meet with my best friend. And it was something -- like a trip we'd always dreamed of doing. And in my head I thought, like, okay, this will be kind of like -- this will be the marker of the end of the grieving season and we'll be able to just go forward from here. The Lord's going to heal me on this trip. I just know he's really going to meet me and we're going to go forward. And then I realized after that trip that that was just the beginning of the grief process. There's so many things, like my heart, and I felt like I had to really wrestle with the Lord of why he allows evil to happen and why does evil happen. And just the grief of losing a child. I don't think any of us were meant to have death go through our body. And so -- yeah, there's just so many things. But I feel like I really learned that we can't put a time frame on grief and that it hits us on different days in different ways. But the hope is that God becomes so much more intimate and so much more close in our deepest pain. And I memorized Psalm 23 -- which I've always loved -- and I just felt like every week it was like the Lord was just really having me live out Psalm 23. And I had to just recite it over and over and over. And I would just sit in the bathtub and cry through worship music. And it just was like allowing ourselves to grieve and to wrestle. I think if -- don't be afraid of the wrestle and the doubt that comes, because no doubt or wrestle is too much for God. You know, like he is Truth and he is Victory. And he, like, wants us to wrestle with him so that we can come out on the other side with even deeper, stronger faith.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, and it's one of those -- like you described, grief, you never know how you're going to process it and when it's going to show up and to what intensity. And, you know, until you're made complete, when you see Jesus, you'll still probably experience waves of it.

Alyssa Bethke: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: Because like you said, death wasn't supposed to happen in our bodies. Bottom line is there were no tombstones in Eden.

Alyssa Bethke: Right.

Jennifer Rothschild: Death is contrary to who God created us to be, so, of course, it will always be a struggle. But just like you described the slow miracles and the many miracles in many ways, that's how God is healing you through that grief, is through the many moments. Even like through your daughter Kinsley, it's just --

Alyssa Bethke: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: And that's why I think too your book, the title of it "Satisfied," the different kind of snapshots of your life that you've given us really do -- they are framed with this concept of what it means to really be satisfied in Christ. So let's just -- I'm just going to ask you -- this will be the last question. So could you describe, in just a few sentences maybe, how we really know that we're satisfied. And if someone is listening and they're thinking, okay, no, I don't think I'm satisfied, what would you say her first step would be to become satisfied?

Alyssa Bethke: One, I think we all always will wrestle to be satisfied until we are in the new Kingdom and New Earth with Jesus, simply because we're in a human body and we live in a fallen world. And when we are with the Lord at the end of time, we will never long for anything again. We will never have the wrestle of being satisfied. And we will never need faith again because our faith will be made sight and all our longings will be fulfilled in Jesus and in His presence. And so I think if you are in a season or -- right now if you're listening and you're like, oh, gosh, like, I know that I'm not satisfied, one, like -- that is being human. And two, to not be afraid of that or feel shame over that or to put ourselves down for that, but to be curious and say, okay, Lord, like, I know that I have discontentment in my heart, I know that I'm struggling to be satisfied, I know that I'm struggling to show up for my reality. Will you show me why. Will you show me what's really going on in my heart, what -- if there's something I need to confess, if there's some lie that I'm believing, if there's something I'm chasing after that isn't what you want me to chase after, and then help me to, you know, just saturate myself in your Word and in your presence.

K.C. Wright: Don't you love truth? Beautiful truths right there. To be truly satisfied, ask God, "Help me to saturate myself in your Word and in your presence. In Jesus name, Amen. "

Jennifer Rothschild: In Jesus name, yeah.

K.C. Wright: Amen.

Jennifer Rothschild: You know, I think that the level of our satisfaction is in direct proportion to our level of saturation in God's Word. So we're going to have a link to Alyssa's book at our show notes at and, of course, we're going to connect you to all things Alyssa there. And by the way, I must remind you that the best way to be saturated in God's Word and in his presence is through dwelling in His Word. Just open your Bible and read it. Or you can also use what I use every single day. In fact, before we started the podcast this morning, I was listening to my Dwell Bible app. It's just different people from around the globe, with different accents, reading Scripture with beautiful music behind it. And what's so beautiful about it is that Dwell has even curated these playlists. So you can listen to a playlist on contentment and it's curated right there for you. Or you can just read through the Bible or any passage you want. It's just my favorite way to literally be saturated in Scripture. So if you want to learn more about that and get that app, you can go to 413podcast/com/Dwell.

K.C. Wright: Well, family, Happy Thanksgiving. We will wrap it up for today. But know this, that you can find contentment right where you are, because Jesus is right where you are. He's with you, in you, and you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength? I know I can.

Jennifer Rothschild: I can.

Jennifer and K.C.: And you can.

Jennifer Rothschild: Gobble, gobble, gobble.

K.C. Wright: Gobble till you wobble.

Jennifer Rothschild: Gobble till you wobble. We're going to write another song, K.C.

K.C. Wright: We're in a singing mood today.

Jennifer Rothschild: And don't you squabble. You just gobble, even if you wobble.


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