Monday, February 11, 2013

14 Ways to Show Your Family "I Love You" (#6 Be Content)

Hi there! If you're reading my blog tonight, then your obviously not watching the game of the season...

...a Big 12 basketball game.  They call it the Sunflower Showdown...KU versus KSU.  (That would be the University of Kansas versus Kansas State University.)

Honestly, I don't care all that much.  I am a Missouri grad, but, anytime KU loses 3 in a row I'm cheering on their opponent!  ;)

So, what does all this basketball talk have to do with tonight's blog post?

Well, I'm a Kansas resident.  With a heart for Missouri.  And a passion for all things coastal/Southern.

I am probably the last person on earth that should be talking about contentment!  But here I am.

14 Ways to Show Your Family "I Love You"
#6  Be Content

"..., for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."
Philippians 4:11 (KJV)

It is believed that at the time of his writing (St. Paul's letter to the Philippians), St. Paul was in jail (location unknown) and under threat of death for preaching the Gospel of Christ.  Yet, even in this extremely dangerous situation, Paul expresses his desire to always be in a state of contentment.

How often I experience discontent!

Discontent with my husband's rotating fire fighter schedule...

Discontent with the decorating state of our home...

Discontent with living in Kansas...

...yet all that discontentment does nothing to foster/create happiness within myself or my family.

While contentment means being satisfied with what you have and focusing less on what you don't have, it doesn't necessarily translate to not improving ones self or situation.  But, sometimes, we need to step outside of our selves and look at a situation from a fresh perspective.

Is the situation really all that bad?  

Are we living in an abusive situation...or do we really just hate living in the heartland of America far away from sunny beaches and swaying palm trees?  Can we see the forest for the trees...is there beauty to be found in the wheat and sunflower fields?  

And what about my home?  Am I discontent because I'm living in a dangerous neighborhood with gunfire and drug pushers...or am I just unhappy because my HOA doesn't allow chickens???!!!  Is my life really that bad living in a 2800 square foot custom-built farmhouse where the heat kicks on and the fridge is full of fresh produce???!!!

And about that fire department rotating schedule...are 24-hour shifts every other day of the week not a fair trade off for the job security my husband has including opportunities for promotion...incredible health and dental coverage...and a retirement plan that pays him 100% of his final average salary?   

"Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have, for he has said, 
"I will never forsake you or abandon you.""
Hebrews 13:5 (NAB, Saint Joseph Edition)

For most of us (not all...I understand that there are terminal illnesses, homelessness, abusive situations, etc.), contentment lies in making a choice to be satisfied with what life has handed us...focusing on what we do have...and appreciating it.

So, what can we do to live more contented lives?

  • Count our blessings.  (I love Ann Voskamp's 1000 Gifts)  Appreciating what we do have.
  • Appreciate others.
  • Do more...with less.
  • Simplify...reduce clutter.  Donate...give away...bless someone else.


I believe that by finding contentment, we show our loved ones how much we appreciate and care for them.  By choosing contentment, we send the message that regardless of our current situation (our needs and our wants) we can be happy just being with the ones we love.

Contentment does not come naturally to me.  I'm more glass half-empty than full.  I have to realllllly find the beauty in the sunflowers when my ocean-loving self longs for a life along the coast.  

So this might be a good Lenten resolution for me...

...to pray for and practice contentment.

Oh...and what a bummer.  KU won.  ;)

     

6 comments:

  1. Valerie,

    I was sitting here thinking that I have absolutely no problem with being discontent. Then I thought a bit more and realised I often complain about my husband's long work hours and our lack of social life and... I'd better not start thinking too much about my complaints! Rather I will focus on my blessings. I have so much to be thankful for. A good Lenten resolution? Yes! Thank you for your post.

    God bless!

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  2. Good morning, Sue Elvis...or maybe it's night where you're at?!!! Either way, grace-laden greetings to you!

    Thanks for your kind thoughts. I do think that some of us are more privy to discontentment than others! Our human nature allows us to be constantly comparing and longing for more!

    Yes, the more I think about it, the more I am making contentment training be my #1 Lenten resolution!

    Blessings,
    Val

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  3. As you know, I am from the mid-west too. (Yea St. Louis!) I thought that living in Florida, with its tropical weather and swaying palm trees, would be like living life on vacation everyday of the year. So, I moved to here. :)

    The reality- well, life is life, full of challenges and opportunities for discontentment even in paradise! Of course, on my bad days I can walk out my front door and feel the sunshine on my face, see the palm trees, and if I drive just ten minutes, be at the beach to smell the salt air and listen to the waves crashing on the beach.

    My reasons for discontent- I won't go into those, because I want to take your advice and give my family a mother/wife with a positive attitude and a grateful heart.

    But, suffice to say there ARE those moments I lose sight of my blessings and focus on what I don't have. There are lots of things I could complain about if I let myself (and sometimes, every once in a while, I do....)

    Blessings!

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  4. Interesting post Valerie because I think our media, society and world promotes discontentment. The need to keep up with the latest technology, latest cars, toys...whatever. It's what drives our retail industry but can cause feelings of "this isn't good enough" mentality. I need to work on this too because even though I consider myself a "half full" kind of person, I can switch in certain scenarios! God bless and pray that the Holy Spirit lets us be aware of when we're discontented!

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  5. Hi Noreen! Amen, you are so right...that's why I think turning off television...social media..etc. is so important. Whether we realize it or not...we are constantly being bombarded by retailers to buy more, more, more! And it's a complicated situation b/c so many folks' livelihood does depend on us buying things. aaaaah...I hate dichotomies!

    Anyway, thanks for dropping by!

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  6. Hi Kari! I know, you're speaking the truth...I would probably still catch myself complaining about something even if I lived among the sand and palm trees. I only shared some of my own discontent so that I appear not to throw stones. Much easier to point out others flaws than ourselves...so I'm working on that...worrying less about others and more about me!

    I won't lie and say I'm not jealous though! LOL

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Your kind words are appreciated! As Mother Teresa said, "Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love."

Valerie