Harboring discontent robs us of joy and contaminates our lives. It is soul clutter, plain and simple. And since we are trying to enjoy a simple life, there is no room for clutter. Discontent has to go.
For some people, living a contented life is a daily challenge, a sometimes hourly choice. For others, contentment seems to almost come naturally. I, sadly, fall into the first category. Contentment is a constant battle, and its nemesis, discontent, is frequently jumping in to take my eyes off the daily blessings God has given.
Following are some tips for encouraging contentment and giving discontent the boot:
- Gratitude–find a reason to be grateful in all circumstances. Did you catch that? ALL circumstances. Thank God for everything. Count your blessings. Make it a game. Keep a list. Do it as a family. However you do it, just do it.
- Don’t compare–never ever look at someone else’s situation and compare it to your own. And don’t listen to others who will enthusiastically do the comparing for you. You don’t know what hurts and fears and sorrows are hidden behind a happy facade, good job, big house and successful children. You also don’t know the purpose God has for you in your situation.
- Don’t dwell–don’t pine away after what you don’t have. Just plain stop. Period. Return to Tip 1.
- Don’t complain–don’t grumble, don’t hint, don’t whine. Just stop. It didn’t work when you were four (and if it did, your parents dropped the ball), and it’s not going to work when you’re 24 or 54 or 84. There is no room in the contented heart for complaining, so just get rid of the option. Don’t do it, don’t let others do it, don’t listen to it. By the way, complaining in your head is still complaining.
- Focus outward–stop looking at what you want for yourself, and think what you can do for others. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Whenever you find yourself reverting inward and cluttering your life with “if only’s,” think of a need in your community, extended family, church family, anywhere, and pray. Drop someone a note. Bake cookies for a neighbor. Kiss your husband. Play catch with a child. Get your focus off yourself.
Discontent has got to go. There’s no room in the simple life for discontentment!
What are your tips for contentment?
I believe the idea for a contentment challenge came from Joy, the precious gal who runs The Stay-at-Home Missionary. Journey through her blog for encouragement and guidance. Time well spent, my friends.