I have received many emails in response to my post on Creativity and Contentment asking HOW to choose to be content (well, that and asking to see my couches).
I wish I had an easy-peasy answer. But the truth is that I haven’t arrived. It is still a struggle for me to choose to be content, to choose to “bloom” where I am planted.
The one thing that I have learned is that it is extremely difficult to be discontent when I am actively thankful.
“Today, when stress mounts, I pray to dismount it with gratitude. I can only feel one feeling at a time, and I choose to give thanks at all times. Fight feeling with feeling!”- Ann Voskamp
Let’s take my couches for example (the couch is outside for this picture, but it’s normally in my living room…so just imagine it inside of a living room, m-kay?!):
Yes, I think that the couches are ugly. They are getting eaten by termites and I have to clean up mounds of termite shavings every day. They are outside couches. They don’t belong in a living room. I could go on….
BUT, when I look at this picture of my beautiful family, I am struck by just HOW much I have to be thankful for and suddenly the couches seem so insignificant. (By the way, that is Abi. She lives with us and helps me with the household tasks. She is a part of our family and we love her dearly.)
How can I dare to be discontent with something so trite, when I have been given SO much?
And, what’s more, how can I be discontent when people living right around me would be more than thankful for things like running water, a roof that doesn’t leak, and 3 meals in their day? That really puts it into perspective for me. Ouch.
In the book, Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow, she speaks of a missionary woman she knew. This lady lived in Africa, in a mud hut. And Linda said she was one of the most content people she had ever met. She asked the missionary woman for her secret to contentment and this was her response:
1. Never allow yourself to complain about anything, not even the weather.
2. Never picture yourself in a different circumstance or someplace else.
3. Never compare your lot with the lot of another.
4. Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
5. Never dwell on tomorrow. Remember it is God’s, and not ours.
And, to this I would add,
6. Choose to be thankful for exactly where you are and exactly what you have.
How would our lives look if we really chose to do this? What things have you learned to help you battle discontent? Let’s talk!
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Photo credit: Tripp Flythe