Monday, April 09, 2007

How do you stay Content?

I am working on an article on the topic of contentment and need your help! Could you share what strategies help you stay content? What are your secrets? How do you battle discontentment? Any other thoughts you want to share on the topic would be welcome as well!

Thanks and I look forward to reading your comments!

14 comments:

Taylor said...

Oh, I already posted on the other - about sleeping. But working out also relieves that stress and renews my mind. Sometimes just having a little quite time, or taking a bath. Or better yet, writting on your blog about it!!! Best of all, God gave us friends, fellow christians to help us on our walk. And I say if you are blessed and lucky enough to have a great christian friend, you can talk about it with her. I think finding a release for that energy is key!

Hope this helps and is not more than what ya asked for!!! Love to you, sweetie!

Jill said...

I can definatly relate to the contentment struggle. One thing I have done recently is, when I start my prayer time/devo time, I try to find 5 new things to thank God for that happened in the last 24 hours. I still repeat the obvious, "biggies" like salvation, my hubby, kids, etc...but it is good for me to see God in the "little" things of the day, maybe even things that were not positive, but I still learned something.

I am looking forward to reading everyone's advice. Great topic!

Jami said...

I am learning to just keep my eyes on Jesus...to not focus on what I wish I had now...my Hudson...but trusting that Christ has a perfect plan and He is in Control. Like Jill, I try to focus on the many things I have to be thankful for and then THANK HIM and Trust Him...over and over again.

jessica said...

Oh boy...this is definitly a struggle for me especially in the "house" department. I WANT A NEW HOUSE!!!!!!!! : ) I mean our house is seriously fine and we COULD live here for a very long time but when everyone around you is getting "their house" I struggle with being content here on Johnson street.
Any way...the suggestions said are fabulous! The thing that ALWAYS slaps me in the face and wakes me up, without fail, is reading the updates from Voice of the Martyrs. I highly recomend signing up to recieve their e-mail and news letters. I am always so humbled and ashamed of my attitude each time I read about these Christians who live in such terrible circumstances but PRAISE the LORD in them! I just realize with each update how selfish I can be and how sad it must make God to see me with that kind of attitude. So after one of these updates for about 3 days I am so thankful for everything around me...even the 30 year old kitchen cabinets that I think could seriously be growing mold on them...but I cant seem to stay consistent in this. I WANT TO BE CONSISTANT so badly! So I just keep those newsletters on our coffee table and open one up when I have one of my "moments". Let's just say, I open them up quite frequently...

Amber said...

I think you touched on a topic real to all of us Megan - I know definately for me. I was doing my bible study this evening and one of the questions dealt with this topic . . .and I had to pause a moment and thank God because I have seen Him grow me in this area (that's not me tooting my horn . . .I just feel like I went some months a little while ago where this was huge and all I could do was just beg God to change my heart because I felt it everywhere). Still working and growing on it for sure though . . .

One of the biggest weapons I feel God has given me when I'm struggling with discontent me is prayer. It's the only way my mind is going to be truly transformed - by His spirit. The first thing I have to do is CHOOSE to walk away from comparing. Whether it's looks, clothes, homes, furniture, families, cars (my latest area of discontentment) . . .I can notice something of someone's, admire it and then I have a choice. It's here my struggle usually begins. This is where I have to take offensive I've learned instead of the defensive.

What I've found to be most helpful is to begin praying for whoever was involved with what made me discontent . . .praying God blesses them, thanking God for how He's provided for them, thanking God that they are in my life.. . and yes, asking God to keep me thankful for what I have. I feel like this helps me keep in mind my love for that person and their life . . .and in turn rejoice with resenting maybe how I don't have that. Then, even when it's hard, praying that God will continue to bless/provide them beyond that.

It's been a slow process but I feel like it's becoming more automatic and more offensive the more I do.


It's been encouraging to read everyone else's advice too - thanks for the topic!

Kirsten said...

I think the fact that we are able to speak about this between women says a lot. When the communication lines are open the defensive feelings go away. It is so easy to get "lost" in your life and think that no one else feels like you or struggles with what you struggle with. How does that saying go, "misery loves company?!?" - I am kidding with this, but I know that I tend to view others lives through rose colored glasses and when another woman opens up about her struggles it helps me get through mine. We are so fortunate to have eachother and be able to be honest and real about life. We share joys, sadness, love, religion and much much more. So I would say that christian friendship and accountability help me stay content.

Rebekah said...

Hi Megan,
Are you getting another one published!?!

What a great and extremely important topic I think especially for women our age. It seems like it's such a common battle that we all face to compare ourselves among ourselves isn't it? I really appreciated all the good advice from everybody.

One suggestion I have that is not spiritual is to throw away all the magazines or at least put them away until you have found some victory in this area. I have heard reading magazines being called a "practice in discontentment". I have found that I struggle the most when I am looking through a magazine and seeing beautifully airbrushed models, or gorgeous homes, etc. There have been times when I have just had to throw them away and not allow myself to look at them for a while. A fast I guess. I think it's king of like our husbands needing to guard their eyes from women...we need to guard our eyes from things. Please don't take this as me saying we shouldn't have magazines...I love magazines!! I'm just saying that I think taking a fast from them can be a very good thing in growing in contentment.

I think also taking time each day to thank our husbands for what they provide too also brings about a heart of gratitude. It also encourages them...I think it makes them weary to hear all our ideas of how to make our house better, etc. What freshness it must bring to them when they hear a heartfelt, "thank you for all you do so we can live in this home!"

those are just a couple of my long-winded ideas!

love,
bek

Kathryn said...

I can so relate, great topic Megan. I am always wanting more and not realizing what God has given me. It is so hard to be content with things, when most of my friends have bigger houses, better clothes, etc (get the point). But I have to stop and ask GOD to give me the grace to get through my moment. When I get the feeling that I need more, I make a short list of things that I am so thankful.
God has done so much for me in life and of all people in the world my dad always reminds me that I should be very thankful for the blessings I have. When I feelthat I want or need more and whine to my dad, he tells me all the time; do you know how many people would love to be in your sitution today.
I do have a great friend up north that lives in a 5 bedroom house, two brand new SUV cars, new furniture, and a personal assist to decorate. When I visit and come home I always feel like we have the smallest house, etc. But my new motto is " the grass on the other side of the fence is not always greener". So for example, my friend up north has all these material things, but her hubby does not beleive in GOD or Jesus. So like my dad once again always tells me; you have a husband who beleives, is saved, prays with and for you, and takes his family to church to hear the word.

Well I hope I did not ramble too much. Love ya

Kristy L said...

So many great thoughts! You guys have encouraged me. I love Jill's idea of 5 new things that happened in the last 24 hours. What a great idea.

When we were going through our infertility, contentment was SUCH a struggle. I just tried to focus on what I did have.... a great husband, a good job.... and not what I didn't. I know God knew the desires of our heart and I think he understood my discontent. I would always think if I just had children, it didn't matter if I lived in a tiny house with no money, I'd be happy.

Now that we have our children, it seems like the contentment seems to be more materialistic- we always want more, don't we? I think like Katie a lot- I try to remember that everyone has something negative in their life even when it doesn't show. Maybe my house isn't as big as this person's, but I have two wonderful miraculous children.

Ben's brother and his wife had years of infertility as well. They have a picture of their son, whom is now 11, as a baby with a sign above it saying "be content". I love that- remembering the huge blessings God gave you. In fact, I'm going to put the same reminder up in my house.

Good thought provoking question!

megs said...

Wow, thanks for all the advice and encouragement girls! Kristy - I love that Ben's brother has that pic of their son with the sign "Be Content" over him. What a great reminder. We really have so much to be thankful for!

Love you all,
Megan

Anonymous said...

Hey Megs - I may be late, but I think this is such a relevant topic that I had to post something too. I struggle with this SO much. But, one of the things that has helped me out so much is that I RARELY go shopping. I go to Meijer for my groceries and all of my household things. I make a list of other things I need/want and consider all the things on it to determine if it's a needless want or if it's a true need for my family. It's very sad how many things are needless wants! I have so much more time in my life and I try to use that time to do fun things with my kids. So, I guess it helps me stay content, it saves us lots of $$ and we often have more time for fun.

Lori

Amber said...

Megan,

I was just thinking I would love to see what you wrote when you're all done and finished!

Just a thought . ..

amber

Steve & Danae said...

When we compare with each other in our affluent community, it's easy to feel pressure to "keep up with the Joneses" and fell like the things God has blessed us with is not as good as what others have.

But to get some perspective, check out the plight of the average person in Ethiopia who makes a whopping $1/day, if they are lucky enough to have a job at all. God has blessed us all enough to make a big difference in the lives of other people.
That helps bring it into perspective for me.
-stevo

www.aidsinafrica.net/map.php

Anonymous said...

"People buy things they do not need with money they do not have to impress people they do not even like." - George Fooshee

"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." - Apostle Paul (I take great hope - even Paul had to learn to be content - it's not a natural thing even for Christians)