Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day 15 - of 30 Days of Happiness

Day 15 - Practice Contentment

Well this is our half way point of the 30 days. I'm not sure about you but I am really learning some valuable lessons this month. We will defiantly do a summary at the end.

But for now I want to focus on what today was.

Contentment Defined: The state of being satisfied, Gratification; pleasure.

I think the key word here is satisfied. This has always been an allusive place for me. I have found that some people are more wired or their temperament is more predisposed to be content. I am not one of those people and really have many times wish I was. But one thing I have found is that if you let them, life experiences will bring you to a place of contentment. For some of us this is a very hard and long process.

I was reflecting today on this and here were some things I noticed about my journey to contentment:
  • My car is going on it 11th year and for the first time in my life I don't care - I'm not striving about it - we will get a better one when we need to.
  • I always wanted a two story house and a pool - don't have one - probably never will - I was thinking how Ok I am with that now.
  • I always felt I had to have some important title to be happy - I don't and I'm happier than I've ever been
  • I want to travel more - I still want to travel more - but instead of stressing over it like I used to I take it as it comes and I'm thankful for the times I can and I'm thankful that I can just enjoy my home and family
I could go on and on about the things I used to strive for, stress over, get angry about because I couldn't have them or was trying to get them. Don't get me wrong I still occasionally get in that mode about some things but not at all like I used to. Maybe I'm getting older or maybe I've learned to be content. I hope it's the later. :)

Some thoughts about contentment:
  1. Contentment is learned, we are not born with it. Paul said, "I have learned to be content"
  2. Contentment is an attitude, it does not rely on our circumstances but comes from knowing what is important in life.
  3. Contentment is relational - comes from a true and real relationship with God.
In honor of my dad who also learned to become a very content person I found this poem (he was a poet and loved quoting poems)
I've never made a fortune
and it's probably too late now.
But I don't worry about that much,
I'm happy anyhow.

And as I go along life's way,
I'm reaping better than I sowed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

I haven't got a lot of riches,
and sometimes the going's tough.
But I've got loved ones around me,
and that makes me rich enough.

I thank God for his blessings,
and the mercies He's bestowed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'cause my cup has overflowed.

I remember times when things went wrong,
My faith wore somewhat thin.
But all at once the dark clouds broke,
and the sun peeped through again.

So God, help me not to gripe about
the tough rows that I've hoed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

If God gives me strength and courage,
when the way grows steep and rough.
I'll not ask for other blessings,
I'm already blessed enough.

And may I never be too busy,
to help others bear their loads.
Then I'll keep drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

Author unknown

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)

Tomorrow: Plant Something - this is a very easy one for a couple of you! :)

7 comments:

Juliette said...

I was trying to write my day’s events first before I read yours, Kathy, but I sneaked a peak in the midst of my word study to see if you had quoted the definitions already. I loved the poem and I could picture listening to your dad read it. He always had a twinkle in his eye and a slightly crooked smile when he was giving you a jewel. I thought of the many times he would entertain the Wisdom Saints with all his wealth of poetry. He could quote it from heart or he would pull out a scrap of paper from his suit pocket and read it to me wherever we happen to be standing. It brought me a lot of pleasure. And reading the one that you listed once again brought a sweet vision of his smile. Then he would walk over to your mom, kiss her on the cheek and hug her. She would smile like a young girl, almost with a giggle.

I liked reading your list and as I read it I thought of my life too and how I have been blessed with my heart’s desires. Since I was very driven all of my life, I could get what I wanted materially but striving for contentment when under the control of others has always been monumental for me.

Learning to be content has and probably is difficult for me. So today I spent meditating on it and really focused on relationship with God regarding its achievement.

2 Cor 12:9
"My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." NASB

Phil 4:13
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. NASB

From the Amplified Version I got another definition to add to yours – satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted (Phil 4:11 I have learned to be content in whatever state I am.)

This is the key for me – “whatever state I am in”, translated means the possibility of being under the control of those that I do not respect or trust. This is where I have always had my struggles but I know now it was because I did not trust God to be in those situations with me. I did not think His grace was sufficient or that He would show up for me because the abuse did not stop. This is where I think Paul had his challenges too but he had made a complete decision for Christ and his trust was unshakeable. Again it goes to relationship and believing that He will never leave you or forsake you and that He will work out all things for good.

Today I was in some situations that I did not enjoy and was burdened with, just waiting for the hours to pass so that I could escape. Instead of being stressed, I chose to concentrate on God, His presence, and worship; and the minutes passed with no issue. I didn’t go crazy or walk out. I was able to wait it out in peace. I suppose contentment is very well not being disturbed or disquieted. It is a spiritual mindset that affects the soul and not just the emotions associated with material and physical things. I am at peace.

Chayil said...

When my mother signed the house to Paul and I...grandpa gave me some sound advice. He said: Chayil, that little house is the best thing that has ever happened to you, the payments are low and you won't have much to look after...Stay there as long as you can"...And these words have stuck with me. Yes, my house is small, but for now it is serving it's purpose. And because our overhead is low it enables us to go to cool places, eat out when we want and give to others more freely. But even more than that: Because my space is limited I get what I need and then I'm done. So it helps me be content. Do I want a bigger house? Sure...Lord willing it will come in the next few years...but if it never comes I have found the joys of a small house: my family is super close. One living room means we all sit together and watch a movie, we all cook together at dinner time.
I am also blessed with a mom who shows much contentment in her life. Paul and I talk a lot about how we wish we could be at peace with "stuff" like she is...To not be a slave to it. I have to remind myself that this will all be dust someday...the fancy cars, the jewelry...They don't last!

Sorry this is long...probably should have made my own blog instead of cluttering up yours :)

Cindy said...

Did you say plant something? Oh, that's tomorrow... well, I think I can manage that one really well. Can we just skip to that one? I better focus on being content with today's assignment about being content. LOL

Being at peace way deep down on the inside ... where I know without a shadow of a doubt "in Whom I believe and that HE IS ABLE TO KEEP THAT WHICH I'VE COMMITTED TO HIM"... has everything to do with how content I am in my circumstances - whatever they are at the time.

I liked your list, Kathy. I have watched you change in many respects over time and I can see the changes in you where your list is concerned.

I am such a home-body with a simple soul but at the same time like to have everything a certain way. So sometimes I stress trying to be sure things are organized and in order so I set the stage for me to be content... which sort of negates my contentment factor. Whew! One thing at a time. I'm learning that even if everything isn't exactly like I like it ... I can still be content. I am on a forever quest to learn what is most important in life 'at the moment'.

I DON'T think contentment should take the place of desiring to grow and improve in every way and desiring to dream of better things to come. But I do think, like Paul, we should be at peace with ourselves, God, and man while we desire 'better or more'.

Juliette said...

I know it’s not my place to comment on your blog responses but the two that I have read for the ‘contentment’ piece are very stirring and have such good introspective insight. Of course I like the fact that Chayil is part of your family and has good memories of your dad. I got a sense from her response of what the atmosphere in her home must be like, the closeness that we all want in spirit and emotion. It is very anchoring to also have someone else in your life that ‘walks out contentment’ so that you can get yours back when needed.

The key for Chayil – “to be at peace with what you have. Do not be a slave to material things.”

As I then read Cindy’s, I saw the immediate connection to Chayil’s – “focus on today – learn what is important.”

LIVE IN THE MOMENT IN HIS PRESENCE AND YOU WILL BE ABLE TO GRASP THE THINGS TO COME; YOU WILL KNOW HOW TO PROCEED.

My favorite verse –
Prov 3:5-7
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; NASB

2 Tim 1:12
I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. NKJV

CoachK said...

Juliette,
Thank you for that word picture of my dad and mom. ;) That exactly what he would have done.
I loved reading what God is showing you and doing in you - this was what brought it all together:

"I suppose contentment is very well not being disturbed or disquieted. It is a spiritual mindset that affects the soul and not just the emotions associated with material and physical things"

Feel free to comment to the comments anytime Juliette, that is what a blog is all about!

CoachK said...

Chayil,
Thank you for your comment. Your comment was not too long, it was very insightful. I know you are a lot like me in personality but you are so much farther along in maturity than I was at your age.

Your children will never look at it that they had a small house because what they will remember is that is was a house full of love, closeness and a whole lot of fun and that is better than the biggest mansion in the world.

I have often told you mom that I wish I could be more like her - she describes her days to me sometimes and they sound so wonderful and peaceful. I believe she has found the secret to contentment.

CoachK said...

Cindy,
Thank you for letting me know you see the change. :) It's always good to hear that, we think we have but it's nice if someone really notices.

I see the same in you - you are a naturally an organized person that has everything in it's place but I have seen you totally embrace the most important things in life these last couple years. You seem very happy and satisfied.

But that is a good point that contentment doesn't mean we do not continue to dream, hope, learn and grow but we do it without striving. I dont' know that I totally got it yet but I'm defineatly getting there!