Sunday, September 19, 2010

Learning Contentment

As I was reading recently, I came across a great scripture. I think that Philippians 4:13 is a pretty well known verse, but what caught my eye was right above it.

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed of hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
~ Philippians 4:11-12

We live in a world where bigger is better.

A world where money defines your importance.

A world where he who dies with the most toys wins...isn't that how the saying goes...

Let's face it, we live in a world where contentment is pretty much non-existent. We quickly buy into Satan's lie that, that new thing will buy us happiness and we will finally reach a state of contentment.


I would be happy if I could...buy that car, have that home, get a new job, get out of debt, buy that new outfit, go on that vacation, find a spouse...and the list goes on and on!

That "thing" may buy happiness for a brief moment, but once the newness of that "thing" fades we are left even more uncontented, still in search for more.

The struggle is different with everyone, but if you haven't found the joy in learning contentment, I guarantee you it is a daily internal battle. We compare ourselves to others. They have more money than us. They are thinner than us. They are prettier than us. They have a bigger home than us. They drive a nicer car than us...and the list goes on. Listen around you and I am sure you will hear those words spoken everyday.


Can we ever settle this internal struggle and become content with who we are,where we are, and what we have in life?



Well, Paul wrote that he learned to be content. That is good for us, since obviously contentment isn't something our sinful nature comes by naturally...we have hope. We can learn contentment!


I have spent a lot of time thinking about contentment. Here are some steps I think will help us learn contentment in our own lives.



Steps to Learning Contentment:



1. Take a look around at the good things in your life.

Make a list of all of the good things the Lord has blessed you with if you need to. I guarantee that will be a good start...we all should have a long list...and I know the good will outweigh the bad...



2. Stop looking to "stuff" to bring you happiness..."stuff "is always short lived.

There is always something bigger and better coming out to trump what you have.
Next time you think you really need something, take some time to think it over and make sure it isn't a "happiness purchase".

"The eyes of a man are never satisfied."-Proverbs 27:20



3. Kick negativity to the curb, both spoken and unspoken.


The thoughts and words we speak are greatly underestimated.

Continue with your stinkin' thinkin' long enough and you will really start to believe those negative thoughts...and remain in your uncontented state.

When your thoughts start to drift to thinking negatively, get yourself in check...stop the habit.
(Maybe even enlist a close friend or spouse to remind you when you start to become negative?)
Plus, do I even need to mention, nobody wants to be around someone who is always negative...it is very unbecoming.


4. Remember your purpose

We weren't placed on earth to compete in a life long race of who has the most in the way of worldly goods.

We are here to honor and glorify the Lord. We are here to love others and share the saving, life-changing love of Christ with them.

If we can't show the world through our actions that we have something different, something that leaves us content and even happy, why would they ever want to experience salvation?

12 comments:

Kathy McC said...

Thank you Katie, this is wonderful!

Cheryl said...

Katie...

What a GREAT lesson!!!

I especially like #3......the words we speak are greatly underestimated.....SO true....

Many times we speak negatively..out of frustration...or even if we're just in a bad mood....without even realizing how those words can affect people....words, that even though we may apologize for...can NEVER be taken back!!!

Thanks for some very good advice today!!!

Love you guys bunches...give Sammy a hug for me!!!

Tightwad Mom said...

I totally agree with you! So,many of the problems in our society are the result of a lack of contentment. We should count our blessings,not wish for new ones! Thank you for another great post.

Michele said...

Something to remember when you are comparing your life to someone else, is that it is not always what it seems. You never really know what is going on with that other person. They may not have the perfect life you thought.

Life is short treasure what you have.

Greg said...

I think I remember from way back some of those words Cheryl is talking about!

Katie said...

Cherie,

Yes, we speak without thinking all too much. I also believe we speak those negative things to oursleves about ourselves and we being to believe it.

Hug given...and he loved it :) Sammy has the life...he is so spoiled!

Katie said...

Michele,

I totally agree with you. We see others lives and assume they have everything. They may have all of the material possessions the world has to offer, but that doesn't bring happinesss or contentment.

Misty said...

Katie,
I love this post. Thank you for sharing and it is so beautifully written... Learning to be content... something I can definitely work on.

Tiffanee said...

Thanks for some great heartfelt reminders!!

Wanda said...

Well said, Katie!

Cheryl said...

OK Kate.....you tell your Dad that it was ALWAYS Sandy with the words...not me...ummmm....at least that's the way I remember it!!! LOL

And...he didn't use many words...just busted doors in!!! ROFL....but only YEARS after the fact!!!

At the time....I was pretty scared that Papaw was gonna kill BOTH of us!!!

Of course...Sandy was nowhere around...so we couldn't use her as a scapegoat!!!

Katie said...

Cherie,

Wow, Dad busted in a door? Somehow I don't believe that. I don't think Dad has ever yelled...let alond busted in a door.

I can't imagine what would have happened to me if I would have done that.

Poor Sandy, you guys were mean to her...I can't believe she grew up okay...into a normal adult!

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