Battle Discontent with Thankfulness

{A follow up post to yesterday’s post, this one is also from the archives, but I felt it was timely for this season.}

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.

Thankfulness. Let’s do it!

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Photo credit: Tripp Flythe

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  • Susan

    Thanks Joy for this encouragement and reminder. I remember reading this before on your blog. I just printed these “rules” to remind me. I can’t think of anything else to add. Know we are working right along with you to have a contented heart.
    Susan
    http://MemoirsofaMissionaryMom.blogspot.com/

    • Joy

      Thanks Susan, it is SO nice to know that I am not the only one who struggles with this! Yes, I have them printed out in my Bible to go to when I feel that discontent start to rise in my heart (which it does…often). Thanks for commenting!!

  • Laura

    I am a missionary in Brazil and totally identify with a lot of this! Thanks for the encouragement to focus on what is really important. Good reminder of what life is really about… :-) http://www.thematiasfamily.blogspot.com

    • Joy

      Laura, My husband grew up in Brazil as an MK. :) Thanks for saying hello!!

  • http://twitter.com/stacey29lincoln Stacey29lincoln

    I have never heard, “Help, my couch is being eaten by termites…” Oh my, Joy that is priceless. Because you know, only God can bring contentment in our lives. Even when you say, “Well, let me tell you.. my couch is being eaten. Literally.”

    I’ve been reading 1 John. And your couches are such a perfect example of the fact that the world is passing away. But God – He and the things of His heart, live on forever! May we be about the forever part more and more every day.

    Thanks for answering my very unspiritual request to see the couches :)

    • Joy

      Ah, yes, so priceless and sadly, so true. :) Yes, it is ALL God. I pray that I will be more and more of that forever part and less of the world that is literally passing away right before my eyes. :) Thanks girl!

  • http://www.womenlivingwell-courtney.blogspot.com womenlivingwell

    Thank you for this list of 6 secrets to contentment and for your transparency. Your family is so beautiful I can’t even see the couch lol!
    Love you,
    Courtney

    • Joy

      Thanks Courtney you are such an amazing encourager. I am so blessed by you. Thank you doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. :)

  • http://twitter.com/AshlieWrites Ashlie

    This is a topic that has sooo been on my heart lately as the Lord has brought conviction in some areas where I’ve been discontent. You are absolutely right – I’ve found that one of the best ways to slap discontentment in the face is to start being thankful for the many blessings I do have! Not easy – but so rewarding!

    Love this post, and you have a beautiful family. And the couch? I honestly think it’s cute…I’ve definitely seen worse. ;)

    Blessings!
    Ashlie
    {http://onesmalltowngirl.com}

    • Joy

      Thank you Ashlie,
      You are a dear. I’m so glad that we are in this together! Yes, let’s slap that discontentment in the face!! It isn’t easy, but you are right it is so rewarding. :)

  • http://www.clayinhishands-sarah.blogspot.com/ ClayInHisHands

    Thanks for this reminder, Joy. I like the six points that you shared. What great things to keep in mind, and it is so amazing how much different things can be not with the change of circumstances, but just with the change of attitude!

    I’m really enjoying your new blog! Keep it up! :-)

    • Joy

      Yes, yes, yes. It is amazing how nothing in our circumstances changes, just our focus. Thanks for the encouragement!!

    • http://joyfilleddays.wordpress.com/ sarah beals

      Isn’t that amazing? All will be the same, but our hearts are different. Such a peace that comes with tuning our hearts toward God!

  • KatieH

    Thank you for your reminder to us. I’ll be printing out and sharing your points. You are right, how would our lives really look if we following these steps? More should give it a try.

    • Joy

      Yes, our lives would be so different if we REALLY did this, don’t you think?! I know I will fail, but I want to try in the Lord’s strength to truly live this way. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • Sonya

    Thanks Joy for these 6 steps and the great reminder to be thankful in everything. When we decide to content right where we are God reveals things we didnt see before. Atleast that is what happened to me. We got you tons you want more, when those things start to pass away you just want God. Blessings

    • Joy

      Amen Sonya! Great thoughts. :)

  • Anastasia Stephan

    I remember when you posted something similar to this before, referring to this book (which I’m going to seek out amazon for). I have also read and re-read Anne’s book…a staple like peanut butter in my home. The only other thing I have added, and funny, I added it before I ever knew about Ann Voskamp, was that every time I started to think I “need,” I would then ask myself, “will I be able to go to bed tonight and wake up in the morning without this thing? (things like saying “we need some shredded cheese come to mind…”) and when I start to think “I want…,” I would stop myself and say “No, I have been given…I am thankful for…”. This is not to say there are not needs or valid wants in my life; I just know I must keep His perspective on life. So I pray for eyes, heart, and a mind like His so as not to give into “wandering eyes”. A struggle, absolutely, but I pray I will find a day on this journey where my eyes are turned heavenward and contentment is my continual state because I am at home in Him!

    • Aliciathorson

      so, so good. love this!!

    • Joy

      I love this Anastasia. I think that so much of choosing contentment is really just that, a choice. A choice of where to focus! I love the way you are working to re-train your thinking. That is awesome! The Lord is so gracious to us and gives us so much strength when we step out in faith and following Him. :)

  • Jennifer Gutierrez

    I needed this today. God is always working!

    • Joy

      Yes he is Jennifer. :) It’s good that we can all share and spur each other on!

  • Mafoulk

    Awesome! I printed it to hang on my bathroom mirror!

    • Joy

      Wonderful!! That’s a great idea!

  • http://joyfilleddays.wordpress.com/ sarah beals

    LOVE Calm My Anxious Heart. So full of wisdom!! Shared this post with my readers. Thx for the encouragement!
    Sarah Beals

  • Jaam1224

    ROFL… I first read your blog on my phone, which doesn’t show the photos so I invisioned a totallly hidious looking couch… with big ‘ole flowers, pieces of fabric worned and torn… but this one…not so bad… as you said many would be please with a couch in their home! : D I love this…Choose to be thankful for exactly where you are and exactly what you have.

    • Joy

      Heehee, I guess it’s all about perspective huh?! Thanks for saying hello!

  • http://www.javamama.wordpress.com Joyfullyinhim

    Praise God Joy! Thank you so much for sharing your heart open and honest. My family and I are in the process of moving to Costa Rica to attend a missionary spanish language school. I feel like I am desperately trying to hold onto my content as this transition takes place with in my heart.

    What a blessing your words are today,
    JOYfully in Him,
    Kelli

    • Joy

      Oh wow, Kelli! Hang in there, you are in for a wild ride…but one that is so worth it!! :)

  • http://www.myheartsdesireblog.com Amanda

    Calm My Anxious Heart is one of my all-time favorite books. Thanks for the reminder to pull it back out. I am about to launch 30 Days of Thankfulness on my blog and that book would be a great resource!
    Love how you tied in the couch/the family photo/thankfulness. So true! I can so relate as my youngest just pee-pee’d on ours, it is so worn out, etc…but wow, what greater things we have than yucky couches:)!!
    I am “thankful” to have stumbled upon your blog today. Precious family.
    Blessings,
    Amanda

    • Joy

      Exactly Amanda, we do have so many greater things than couches. :) Thanks for saying hello and taking the time to share!! I love it!

  • Aliciathorson

    I am just floored by being led to this blog post this morning. I don’t often go to blogs, as I find my morning time gets magically “sucked away” if I do!!! ;-) However, I wrote a prayer about this spirit of discontentment that has somehow creeped up on me lately. And how I am desperate to get it far away from me. I guess the biggest one would relate to #2 and #4 above. Just that desire to move, or live somewhere else. Not being completely satisfied w/God has so greatly blessed me with…right where I am!!!
    Your blog was a direct answer to my prayer, & just has me broken w/conviction this morning. I need to lay my sin out, before the Lord, & be grateful for the SURPLUS of beautiful things He has so graciously given to me. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your heart!! It is well received, & I am so so thankful to have been led here!!

    • Joy

      Oh Alicia,
      Thank you for sharing. I am so glad that we can walk through this together. You are so right, we all have a surplus of beautiful things to be thankful for, don’t we? Thank you!!!

  • Anonymous

    I read “calm my anxious heart” a few years before I met and married my husband, and let me tell you I didn’t know how much that book, and what you quoted here would be a blessing!!!! See I’m a perfectionist, I like things just so… Yup I was one of those crazy university student that had a color system to help me study.. I was the one that has colour hangers for her clothes , like white one were for shirts, blue for skirt and green for dersses, and yes all my white shirt were hung together etc….

    But marriage and motherhood, has burst my selfish bubble!!!! I married and had to say goodbye to new and let second hand or previously own come in our home. I had to embrace my clean floor with oil stained boots marks and mud. My kitchen table has sometime been use as work table and often as a homeschool table.

    Nothing is new, nothing is really fully clean the way I would like it to be, nothing is matching in this small home of ours

    BUT…

    -I can stay home and raise our children, teach them, love them

    -I can serve my husband, make him coffee in the morning and hot meal when he comes home after work

    -I have a roof over my head to protect us, and food to feed us

    -I been bless by Him who provides good things

    Yes what I envision my life would have been, is far from what I’m living, it is far much BETTER!!!!

    • Joy

      Oh Renee,
      I love your perspective!! This is so good! You are exactly right, our lives are so much better, richer, more beautiful than we could have even imagined, if only we have the eyes to see it. :) Thanks for being an amazing encourager!!

  • Jmsdlsilver

    I read Calm My Anxious Heart after your suggestion on thestayathomemissionary! Love! I love this story and the list of ways to be content…wow! What can you complain about when you remind yourself of her situation! Your family is beautiful!

    • Joy

      Exactly!

  • Desiring Virtue

    I love this post. Something that my husband and I are continually learning is to not discount what the Lord is personally doing in our lives by comparing them to other’s lives. Our God is not a “One-Size-Fits-All” god. He is all knowing, all loving, and has specific purposes for every piece of his glorious providence in our lives. Envying others or being less than thankful for what we have or are accomplishing just reveals that I am not trusting my gracious and loving God to bring about the greatest glory to his name through his perfect will in my life. As I said, and as you said, it is a constant battle, to daily trust and be thankful, but one that brings sanctification in and of itself. Thanks for the encouragement Joy!

  • Rebecca

    Thank you for this post. I have been struggling with some health issues for the last year that have just this week diagnosed as chronic and relatively untreatable. It has felt like a death sentence to me, although it is not really. My body will be fine, however, I am going to have to change my entire lifestyle and accept the limits of my body. For a woman who has prided herself on how many things I can juggle and how “useful” and “helpful” I am, this is so hard. I certainly have had a spirit of discontent settle in my heart, take root, and grow into full blown anger. This post has reminded me of how much I have, and that always, in all things, I should give thanks. From your pumpkin bars to your ideas on being content, you have been a blessing to our family.

  • http://joyfulheartsandfaces6.blogspot.com/ Charlotte

    This is so true! The battle of discontentment is one that I don’t know how to completely conquer, but we can hold it at bay by remembering the amazing blessings God had given us. I am going to print out your list and stick it in a place where I am reminded of my attitude during the day.

  • http://www.wonderwomanwannabe.com heidi @ wonder woman wannabe

    Choosing gratitude really is the sure cure for the dis-content, isn’t it?

    I have to be careful not to compare my home and belongings as ‘less than’ compared to such and so, but it is difficult. It’s easy to look around the house and see what’s lacking, rather than what is beautiful.

    We have very simple and modest decor in our home and though I don’t think it’s anything special I have a friend who recently said (with a smile on her face) that we had better have our next play date at her house so she wouldn’t struggle with envy too much. I was shocked, but honored.

    It’s all about perspective –

  • liz stetler

    A friend recommended your blog and I can tell our hearts beat the same already – although I’m a missionary mama in Oklahoma ;) I’ve actually quoted this part of Linda Dillow’s book on my blog in the last year… I love that book – it has been a huge blessing to me as I’m learning to be content. 2 Cor 10:12 is a specific verse that has helped me in the process as well… I can’t compare my life to other’s because other’s weren’t called to my life. I wasn’t called to theirs… it sounds obvious, but somehow its easy to think we all have a right to a Southern Home Magazine life ;)
    Its great to find your blog.
    Blessiings,
    Liz

    • Joy

      Great thoughts Liz. I appreciate your honesty and transparency. I love 2 Cor. 10:12 too. Such a great perspective. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.artfulhomemaking.com/ Joy

    What a sweet post and a gorgeous family photo! Thanks for the encouragement in cultivating contentment!

  • Theda

    loved your blog today. Really good words. I’ll see if I can put into action the things you’ve taught.

  • http://dailydwelling.com dailydwelling

    Thank you for this…contentment has been an ongoing struggle for me. I have decided to choose it and each day I have to make the choice to keep on choosing it. Linda Dillow’s book was a huge and this list was a huge help for me in my battle for contentment. At the time I read it we were living in a stairwell apartment in Germany and I was in the middle of parenting three small children during my husband’s second deployment to Iraq. It was a hard time, but it would have been so much harder had I not made the choice to find and fight for contentment in my life.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=619715615 Jennifer Hill

    I love this list. I’m going to print it off and hang it up. I think we could all use these reminders.

    • Joy

      Yes, we can all use them. I need them daily…hourly….minutely (oh wait, that’s not a word)!
      Thanks Jennifer!

  • Youthpastor711

    Great tips and ideas to keep discontentment at bay.

    • Joy

      Thanks!

  • Trina Holden

    Please tell us about the arrangement you have with Abi! I have been brainstorming about ways I could have household help and fulfill my passion to invest in and mentor young woman – I have room for a live in! I want to find one. I would know how this situation came about and what it looks like!

    • Joy

      Trina,
      Here in Indo, it is expected that you will help out someone less fortunate than you by giving them employment. Abi lives in room on the back of our house. She has her own bathroom back there as well. Her sister also is a helper for another family so they are able to spend lots of time together. She helps me mostly in the mornings with dishes, sweeping and mopping, ironing, and cleaning bathrooms (I know, I’m spoiled!). Usually once or twice a week I also have her cook a Indonesian meal for us. It is a very nice arrangement. Her family lives on another island and she came with just a backpack of belongings, so I am happy to be able to spoil her a bit! :)

  • Lisa Littlewood

    Hi Joy! I’m new to your blog and am love with that picture of your family! What a beautiful family you have!

    Contentment is something I have struggled with quite a bit, especially since becoming a stay at home mom….you’re in the house every day, you see it getting worn and messy and start to dream up ways to make yourself happier within it…when, at the end of the day, I need to work on my heart to make me happier…not the decorations in my living room…thank you for the reminder. I just finished Ann’s book as well…it has changed my way of thinking…though it’s easy to forget– and your 6 steps are wonderful…I’m writing them on a 3 x 5 card and putting them on my fridge!

    • Joy

      Lisa,
      Thank you. You are too kind. Yes, it is SO easy to forget, especially in the moment by moment of every day. It’s a great idea to post these up and put them on the fridge! Good idea!!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you. I was really struggling this week as we continue to pass germs around (started early september), and I struggle to do school time, and just keep up! I was feeling so overwhelmed, and this was like a refreshing glass of cool water! (Or hot tea- those germs don’t you know!)

    • Joy

      Love it! Thank you for encouraging ME today! :) Enjoy the hot tea!! :)

  • Hi_itsgwen

    It sounds like you have powderpost beetles, and they can get into the drywall, studs, and even paneling. My hubby’s grandmother had an infestation of them, and had extensive damage to the sun porch that the furniture was in. :(

    • Joy

      You are probably right! We have tried everything to get rid of them, but they just keep coming back. My hubs just had to make new feet for the couch this last weekend because he sat down and the foot was gone!! :)

  • Elaine Pack

    Thanks for this post on contentment. Loved it! Was so happy to see your sweet family too!
    http://elainepack.blogspot.com/

    • Joy

      Thank you Elaine! You are such a good encourager. :)

  • Jenifer

    Thank you for this encouragement!

    • Joy

      Thank you Jenifer. :)

  • Ann Franklin

    It is wonderful to have you back Joy. I read your last post and boy did I identify! I dreamed of living in the country in a white house with the picket fence and cottage garden blooming with roses. Not a weed in sight of course! God gave me the white house in the country but rather than rolling fields His idea of beautiful surroundings was a rainforest with the pythons, goannas, termites, spiders and leeches. My discontent always surfaces when I look at my old couches. Beautiful leaf green rolled arm sofas when we first bought them 10 years ago but now much the worse for wear – sometimes I am embarrassed by them. It is usually when I have visitors or when I have spent too long ‘browsing the beautiful’ – anyone on pinterest will identify with this. I have to be so careful when I do this because it can so easily stir up discontent. I see the immaculate living room with its white unmarked sofas and artfully arranged throws and cushions and start asking myself why doesn’t my living room stay looking like that! My throws and cushions stay artfully arranged for 5 minutes and are turned into playhouses and forts by children with active imaginations having so much fun! And my sofa is soiled and battered because a family sits on it every day to snuggle and read wonderful books. These are the memories which will always remain and what I choose to be thankful for. I’ve even learned to be thankful for the pythons because they eat rats and I know they are not venomous and I’d much rather spot a fat, long python than a small, thin highly dangerous brown snake! Even though we face those challenges we will have some great snake encounter tales to tell our grandchildren one day! I did see a statement on pinterest which I hope to remember whenever I am inclined to be ungrateful for the home that I live in now. It said ‘Some people look for a beautiful place. Others make a place beautiful.’

    • Joy

      Oh Ann, thank you so much for sharing!! I am nodding my head in agreement over every thing you say, well, all except, while I agree with you that pythons are better than other snakes, I STILL can’t quite be thankful for them. I’m working on that, though!! :)
      Thank you, thank you for sharing your precious heart. You are an inspiration!

  • Nic Beegster

    joy! i LOVED the calm my anxious heart book. i read that book while in tunisia. i felt that contentment was THE THING that the lord continuously stretched me in while living over there, and now, being state side for 3 months, i feel like that lesson continues, just in different ways. it is a battle overseas and stateside, and as much as i wanted to have learned and conquered that lesson, i must say, i have much more to learn. thank you for the reminders of thankfulness and a content heart. amen and amen! lisa merwin.

    • Joy

      Hey Lisa,
      Yes, the battle with discontent follows us wherever we go, doesn’t it? I always think the grass is greener, but when I get to the other side, I find out that it isn’t at all. Thanks so much for commenting sweetie! It’s good to hear from you!!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing! I am printing those six “secrets” out and posting them in my house for all to see! I am loving Ann’s book, but it is slow going…needs to be thoughtfully read. BTW, my son wants to be a missionary pilot! Will enjoy following your blog!

    Blessings,
    Barb
    trainingourdaughters.blogspot.com

    • Joy

      That is great that you are printing them out! How awesome! Has your son see my husband’s website? http://www.theforneyflyer.blogspot.com has lots of missionary pilot action!! :)

      • Anonymous

        Oh, my! Thank you! I will definitely show him the site. He will love it!

  • Jeri

    Thank you so much, Btw, I did not even notice the couch, all I saw was a beautiful family!

    • Joy

      Thanks Jeri. It is all about perspective, isn’t it?!!! Yes, when I look at my precious family, that is all I see too! :)

  • http://MoreTimeWithOurKids.com Erika Dawson

    Joy, your family is so beautiful, just like you! Thanks for sharing this list! Number 2 punched me in the stomach. That’s one I need to remember!

    • Joy

      Thank you sweet Erika! I appreciate you so much!!

  • Tinagarrow7

    Hi, can You use caned pumpkin, For the pumpkin bars ?

    • Joy

      Yes, absolutely. Just use the same amount only from a can! :) Hope that helps!

  • http://www.amothersheritage.com Amothersheritage

    This post is absolutely powerful, powerful! These six things should be printed out and framed for every one of us. Thank you. I will be sharing this on my blogs fb page. We also have a mother’s helper that is part of the family. :)

    • Joy

      Thanks! You have a mother’s helper too? That is great! I’d love to hear more!

      • http://amothersheritage.com Jenny

        yes she is a huge blessing! a godly single young woman who we have basically adopted. She does not live with us, but it probably here more than “home.” I would love to have you come by my blog sometime…I think we have the same vision.

  • http://anothertexasfamily.com Tiffany

    Amen sister!

  • paula

    Thanks so much for sharing! I may need to post that list on my wall!

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  • jenny

    JOY!!! I didn’t know you started blogging again! I’ve missed you!

    This is one of my most favorite books. Really, really good. I love knowing that my cup and my portion is lovingly assigned to me. :)

    So good to “see” you again!

    Jenny xoxo

  • jenny

    “are” lovingly assigned. :o

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  • http://www.threeyearsdown.blogspot.com Brittany

    Oh gosh, I can only imagine how different my daily life would be if I focused on those things!

  • Anonymous

    Discontentment usually turns into envy for me! I’ve learned in this battle (and it really is a big battle for me) that we only see the “front porch” of others’ lives and that everyone has trouble in life (Just like Jesus said in John 16:33). We do have to choose to believe that God is faithful and does have a good plan just for us!

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  • Thetabbs

    This is wonderful and timely! Thank you!

  • Clare Picker

    I know it sounds funny, but I am learning to be content with my ice cube trays! I have discovered that learning contentment in the little things snowballs into contentment with larger things! It is sort of silly but I posted about it here http://clarescontemplations.blogspot.com/2011/10/empty-as-unfilled-ice-tray.html oddly enough, before I had read your post! I suppose I better sit up and realize God is speaking to me!:)

  • Sheri

    Hi Joy,

    Just happened upon your blog through another website…as your title caught my attention!! :-) Your post reminds me of a favorite “quote” of mine – St. Theresa’s Prayer…

    May today there be peace within.
    May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
    May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
    May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
    May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
    It is there for each and every one of us.

    I have this on my FB page as a constant reminder of how I want to live…
    Will be adding the 6 above you shared to my FB page….as it resonates so well with all of us who struggle daily! I am also looking forward to finding the book you have mentioned…and reading it to my heart’s “content!” Thank you….I have bookmarked your blog! :-)

  • Anna

    Thanks for this reminder! I have read the book you mentioned several time after we went through it in a women’s Bible study. It seems like I’m constantly needing the reminder!

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  • Kbook

    This is wonderful! Thank you for sharing!

  • Guest

    It is really hard to be thankful when you have next to nothing and your situation just gets worse instead of better. You spend years crying out to God, and instead of helping you out he throws another wrench in your life. I would love to just have a couch PERIOD. Or a dining room table to sit at with my children. Or a home with more than one bedroom for our 5-person family. I would love to be able to buy something as simple as decent paint that doesn’t come off the walls when you try to wash them. My walls look awful, covered in dirt and washed out paint spots. I would love to be able to do my dishes every night and not worry about having to get creative with my cooking because I have literally NO clean cooking utensils, all because we ran out of dish soap and don’t get paid for another week. I would love to not run out of food stamps at the end of every month and have nothing left but dry cereal to feed my children. Of course you can be content with what you have, you have so much more than most people. I on the other hand, have next to nothing to be thankful for. How can I enjoy this life with my family when I am stuck in this tiny, awful home all day? We have no money for anything, there is no way I could make my home a haven the way that some people can. Even if I had the space to organize and decorate, I don’t have the money to. I hate my house, I hate my life, and I hate the fact that my husband can’t provide anything. I would get a job, but daycare is outrageous. So I am forced to live this way and nobody gives a crap.

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  • Portia Allen

    I struggle with discontentment so much!! I am 9 1/2 months pregnant right now and I have been struggling with the unfinished furniture in my garage. We have a dining room table and two benches that have been built by my husband and still need to be polyurethaned. I have been asking my husband to complete this task for 2 months(along with building and finishing a new computer desk). And the more I’ve been discontent in his actions(or lack thereof) less has gotten done. Now I normally am an impatient person but adding pregnancy to the mix has made me unbearable. BTW I read your post about the list of things you thought your husband wanted and turns out he just wants a girlfriend. I’m learning that too. I have been so angry and cranky over the condition of our home(nesting phase) and these pieces of furniture not being finished that I haven’t given him his due credit. I’ve been neglecting my husband and it’s only torn our relationship apart. He just wants me to be content and loving and nice and I haven’t been any of those things. I just worry(and I know I shouldn’t) that after the baby is born these things won’t get finished. The next project is a bedroom set for our girls( their furniture is actually falling apart) and I’m afraid that if the table, benches and desk don’t get completed that their furniture won’t get done and they legitimately need it. Sorry for blabbing lol. These things have been on my mind for months now.

  • shannon

    I am a missionary here in Brazil. My husband Craig is a pilot and we have four children. I feel so blessed in what He has called us too. In tangible ways too.. I mean I love how you included the picture of your house help that lives with you. I was blessed to have help when my little ones were smaller and Craig was flying a lot. I have so many friends in the States who never could afford that… Our house help at the time was like family too.. Anyways, as a missionary wife, and mom I think that there are normally many, many ways that we are blessed- in the lives we have. Not just spiritual blessing (the best kinds) but tangible, earthly ones too:) So thanks for including the picture with your friend Abi- a reminder of a tangible, blessing that He has given you as you serve Him where He has calledyou!

  • Missy1575

    I borrowed the list and posted it on my page. I know to many people who always wish for more instead of being content with what they have. Thank you for posting.

  • MamaMandy

    This is a great list! People ask me how I “do it” all the time & these “secrets” are so true for me. I’ll have to remember these so I can tell them the next time they ask….being thankful & content with who, where, what, how God has chosen to bless my life.

  • Kerstin

    I appreciate your reflections. Your last addition reminds me of an interview I heard with Jean Vanier (he started faith communities with mentally and physical handicapped people) where he said one of his lesson of faith for his is loving reality. For me it is just a bit stronger than being thankful…to truly love and embrace every aspect of my reality. Love comes in different forms and expresses itself in different ways. I think if this often- how can I love reality right here and right now.

    Thanks for sharing your spirit with us.
    Kerstin

  • Courtneybmatlock

    Are you my long lost sister? Ha. I feel like I am reading my diary on all of your blog posts. I just discovered your blog through a friend…so glad she shared it. I can relate to so much of what you say…I am just too self consious (mmmk maybe the better word to use is prideful) to actually share my deepest darkest thoughts & feelings. Bravo sister – looking forward to reading more.

  • Jacy Langford

    Thank you for this. I found your blog through a pin to your post about things for newlywed women, but this post is what I really needed to hear today. I am currently stuck home (at least, out of work) with a broken elbow, added to my normal chronic pain condition, *and* I don’t like where we live now. Lately I’ve been throwing around ideas for where we should go next (“planning”), but I know it’s been my way of expressing my discontentment. Thank you for the specific ways to fight it and work on contentment.
    In Christ,
    Jacy

  • http://www.facebook.com/jane.linkeman Jane Linkeman

    I really battle with this topic. A couple of my favorites lines I say to myself are “if we only had…” or “if we were only…” or “if God would just…” I battle with it all the time. We homeschool and are on a very tight fixed income. Satan really tries to push what everyone else has and makes them look even better…he makes me think we are always “missing out.” I have a spiritual buddy that reminds me of all of God’s blessings.

  • Julie

    Thank you for this entry…exactly what my Healer ordered!

  • bonnieblue031

    Sometimes we have to battle our thoughts, this is what the Bible speaks about in “taking every thought captive” My husband and I counsel a lot of folks in marriage difficulties and one thing I tell them is “don’t say everything you think” I have recently added “you don’t have to think every thought” its true, we cannot let our minds run to bad places. And gratefulness for God’s blessings, even for the breath of a new day, is the key!

  • Sommer

    So very true!! Thank you greatly for sharing Joy! I loved the insight your missionary friend said- I definitely need to remember to apply those daily!! It’s nice to be reminded though that so many of us God fearing and loving women still have similar struggles- the specifics may be different- but being discontent about anything as we come to understand -is still just that in our loving Father’s eyes-discontent. I am reminding myself now of how it must look from His perspective. God being all knowing (the Big picture) and knowing what’s Best for us- yet we think so often we know what’s better- the wants and preferences- the lacks & unmet desires- yet He calls us daily to look at what He’s supplied us with- what He’s blessed us with and Who He’s blessed us to share it with. As the saying goes- He cares more about making – molding and changing us then changing our circumstances. I struggle. But like you I too love being reminded by beautiful women such as yourself- living life and sharing those struggles with others to uplift and encourage each other along. Thank you again Joy! I needed this reminder- again:)

  • Heidi Hinnenkamp

    I’ve been reading Ann Voskamp’s book and I JUST finished a girls’ book study reading Calm my anxious heart…. I knew I liked you. Every post gets better.