The Battle for Contentment
1. a state of happiness and satisfaction
We live in a world where very few get everything they want. I suppose there are the extremely rich who could buy anything that their hearts desired but I often wonder if that brings the contentment that they may seek. New vehicles, big houses, the best clothes, lavish vacation destinations can all sound appealing but do we ever truly find contentment in those things? Contentment is a state of happiness and satisfaction. A deep down true form of contentment is what my soul yearns for, that peace with what we have and where we are right now. That to me is a form of wealth that no money can buy.
We purchased our fixer upper of a double wide trailer almost 4 years ago now. It doesn't sit on a permanent foundation and so knowing that we could always move it has been in the back of my mind. I dream of living in the country with acres of land and a little winding road that opens up to our home with well landscaped paths and wooden tree swings. A pretty chicken coop and large gardens that help us to be self sufficient and a milk cow along with some goats are what some of my dreams are made of.
Yet 4 years ago we were planted in a tiny town of just over 200 people where the only business you will find is the town post office. A town that is over run with dogs and the poverty level is high, where houses are left abandon and people still live without modern day neccesities like running water. As a family we have been called to serve and to minister here and yet my heart wants to be somewhere else.
I have recently realized that living in a mind set of moving to another location has interfered with some of my dreams that I could have had right here in our current location. I have put off planting fruit trees and berry bushes because I would think that I wouldn't live here long enough to enjoy them once they started producing. My mind set was wrong. Instead of thinking that way I should have thought about how they could have been a blessing to someone else if we had relocated.
So how do we battle with contentment?
1. Stop Complaining and Count Your Blessings
I recently realized that a few of our children were complaining about a lot of things. Small things that shouldn't really matter and then I began to ponder the words that came out of my mouth. I quickly realized that I was complaining about a lot of things. So I have tried to stop and think about the positive before I speak. I seek out things to be thankful for and try to speak those out loud daily.
2. Stop the Comparison Thoughts
As a mother and a wife this is an easy trap to fall in. Comparing myself to others is a thief of my contentment. My biggest hurdle can be comparing myself to other home school mothers who seem to have it all together or other wives that seem to have marriage all figured out. I can easily begin to question my own calling as a stay at home mother and my own worth. The truth is that I am called to be who I am and my worth and value come from the Lord, not what others are called to do.
3. Eliminate the "Stuff"
Everyday and everywhere we look someone is trying to sell us something. Am I right? Trends are everywhere and we jump in on the trend trying to have what everyone else has. As someone who loves home decor, I see this a lot and I was there at one time. I had a closet full of home decor and was never content. I always wanted more and then one day I opened the closet and sold it all. I couldn't believe how freeing that was and I have learned to be content with less stuff in my life. I now live trying to make purchases of items that I truly know I will enjoy and that even if the home decor trend changes I will still want that item in my home.
4. Live with Intention and Slow Down
I try to roll out of bed around 4:30 nearly every morning so that I can see my husband before he heads out the door to work. I fix his lunch, kiss him "see you later" and then it is my quiet time. With a hot cup of coffee in my hand I sit down for a time of journaling and Bible reading. This is my time to start the day quietly and with a feeling of peace. I have to be intentional about setting this time aside other wise I face the day feeling hurried and behind. I try to find times during the day to just slow down and enjoy the beauty around me. My passion is gardening and I find that peaceful so I make time everyday to enjoy those moments and to take in the beauty of the new blooms, watering the flowers and occasionally finding new nests amongst the flowers. If I am not intentional about doing this then it will not happen. I can quickly allow the days tasks to become such a priority that I miss doing something that I love.
Contentment will probably be a life long journey that I battle. However making daily efforts to be thankful and to change my mindset to being joyful for where I am in this moment is a continuing effort in learning to be content. I am learning to be content on this little piece of land that we own. We have planted more trees and created more flower gardens which is just a start to my little dreams. Dreaming is never wrong but I believe I must be content with where I am and not continue to put off doing things that I love because I want to be somewhere else.
Do you struggle with being content? I would love to hear ways that you deal with learning to be content.