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Learning Contentment. Still.

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If there is one area in my life that God has repeatedly had to take a bat to the side of my head (metaphorically of course), it is around the area of contentment. Sitting here writing this, it is absolutely ridiculous that contentment would be anything I would struggle with. Logically I can recognize that I know of few people who have been blessed as much as me with every material need met, a family who loves me, an amazing husband and three wonderful kiddos. I could list my blessings on and on and on.

Yet I struggle with wanting more. Bigger, better, newer. I surf housing websites, look through catalogs, pour over magazines, spend time on Pinterest. It makes me so frustrated with myself to even admit it.

I first had the chance to read a rough draft of Satisfied last spring and have been feeling suffocated by our stuff ever since. I have been purging and throwing out and selling ever since. It has been so freeing and like Jeff says in the book, I feel much lighter. I even unsubscribed from catalogs and emails and texts telling me about sales I just couldn’t miss. I was amazed at how much energy in my life went to dealing with paper and digital clutter.

Yet this week, when read the first section of Satisfied, I realized I am STILL a slave to my stuff. Still a slave to bigger, better, newer.

Here is the thing I have learned in life. There is no finish line. There is no income that is “enough”. There is no amount of shoes or clothes or sweaters that will make me happy. There is no house that contains the magical formula for me not wishing I could change something in it.

I have MORE than enough. So. much. more. And while I sit in my house with heat and food and a closet full of clothes, I have come to realize this:

While I am coveting someone’s brand new kitchen cabinets, someone is wishing they had parents whose divorce didn’t make every holiday a navigational nightmare. And while I am coveting someone’s matching bedroom furniture that isn’t handed down from their parents 1990’s set, someone is desperately wishing they had a husband who actually listened to them when they talked. And while I lament that my 10 year old minivan has more dents and scratches then it does intact paint, there is someone whose child has just been diagnosed with cancer.

I am spending so much time wishing for the stuff that doesn’t matter when I should be on my knees daily for the insane ways God has blessed me. And I AM incredibly grateful, don’t get me wrong. But you know what a lack of contentment does? It steals joy. And it robs me of gratefulness. And it suffocates me. I am tired of being suffocated.

I want to be free. I want to be content. And I want to be ALWAYS grateful. Thankfully this last year has been such a journey in that direction. I’m still in the “school of contentment” for sure. But I am at least not flunking out. Here’s to continuing to inch closer to graduation.

Your assignments for the week:

  1. Read the first section of Satisfied.
  2. Do the two projects on pg. 57.
  3. Comment here on what you learned this week about the “School of Contentment”.

Comments

  1. Sarah Stier says:

    I love this paragraph on page 26:
    “Contentment is the cultivation of a satisfied heart. It is the discipline of being fully alive to God and to others whatever our material circumstances. Contentment is not achieved through getting everything we want but by training the heart to experience full joy and deep peace even when we don’t have what we want.”
    I’m ready for the challenge that will come along with this shift in thinking.

  2. DeLinn says:

    Still need to start this book. Is it crazy to say that as much as I want to start reading it, it scares me a ton. I know where I struggle, and this is a huge place of struggle for me. I love that you say you want to always be grateful, and to be free. It does steal joy. I’ve felt the huge weight of “stuff” lately and actually told hubby that I’d like to sell it all and start over. I know it won’t happen, but I tend to talk in extremes and possibly get a twitch dramatic.

    I’m so thankful you’re lovingly pushing us towards this, I need the push. Love your post. Love and appreciate your honesty. And, love that you’re giving us an assignment. I need the accountability!!

    • I have let several books sit on my nightstand for years because they scare me. This book I found to be freeing and liberating. Hopefully you have the same experience!

  3. So, I love this book. I need this book. Read the first part, and basically had a mini-meltdown. You’re so right. The other books scare me, and this one leaves the guilt behind. Very eye-opening to count ‘things’. Wowza. I’m a clearance/sale/coupon/awesome-deal kind of girl. It was how I was brought up, and I’m just starting to realize how those “great deals” really aren’t, usually. I can say I have WAY TOO MANY white-t’s, black-t’s and my “comfy” clothes collection? It is almost sad.

    I love the challenges in the book, and the fact that there isn’t a layer of guilt added on top of having to come to grips with what we have. I’d already started the January purge and was so overwhelmed by ‘stuff’. Thank you for putting this book out there and challenging us to take this on in our homes. Ready for part 2.

  4. Lisa S says:

    I am going to do project Count your shirts and shoes…but I am already knowing that I will be shocked. Will report back.

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