Contentment Challenge

It’s one thing to talk about being content. It’s another thing entirely to embrace contentment, to commit to it, to be content. That is precisely what we are going to do today:

Contentment Challenge

Commit to contentment.

Are you ready?

Deep breath.

Here we go!

Today, beginning whenever you read this, make the commitment to not complain.

Don’t complain about anything.

Don’t complain with your words, with the tone of your voice, with your eyes, with the way you hold your shoulders, with that irritating little sigh–you know the one!

Don’t complain with your silence.

No complaining on Facebook, email, twitter, or anywhere else your cyber-jogs take you.

No complaining out loud or in your head.

No complaining about the weather, about your man, about your neighbor’s man, about your neighbor’s dog, about your neighbor.

No agreeing with someone else who is complaining…not even a sympathetic grumble.

No complaining about your hair, your nails, your weight, your personality, your inability to stop complaining.

You cannot stop the birds of temptation from flying over your head, but you can stop them from building a nest in your hair.

~attributed to Martin Luther

When the tempting birds of complaint fly over your head, and they will, do not let them land! Don’t give in to the temptation to complain!

Turn instead to gratefulness.

For every one complaint you feel tempted to send rippling through your peaceful home, find three things to be thankful for. If you can’t think of three, ask for help. If you have someone to ask, count that person as one blessing to be thankful for.

How long?

The challenge lasts for 24 hours, but I can guarantee your husband and children would rather you kept it going for, say, 24 years…times four. Please, please and again please don’t store up your complaints for 24 hours and unleash them. Instead, annihilate them with gratitude.

I know it sounds like a juvenile game, but isn’t our complaining really juvenile? Aren’t we just spoiled children who are unhappy that God’s gifts aren’t exactly what we would have chosen?

Live a simple life of joyful contentment…beginning with the next 24 hours.

Are you in? Leave a comment and let us know, so we can pray for and encourage each other on the road to simple contentment.

5 Tips for Contentment

5 Tips for ContentmentHarboring 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Don’t dwell–don’t pine away after what you don’t have. Just plain stop. Period. Return to Tip 1.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Contentment in the Desert

Contentment in the DesertYears ago I told my then newlywed husband that I would follow him anywhere except the desert. While some people love the desert and others think–say it with me–“it’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there,” I did not even want to visit. I’d been there three times and that was three times too many!

The Lord tested my loyalty. Apparently, I passed the test, because we moved to the desert three years into our marriage, and we have been here ever since.

God has funny ways of eliminating the clutter of discontentment. The desert is one of the tools He uses on me.

While I frequently chose to be blind to the stunning beauty of the mountains surrounding our home in all directions, He forced me to see. He used little girls calling us outside to watch the glorious sunsets paint our mountains. He used my husband’s songwriting ability to focus me on the wonders of Creation and Creator.

Whereas I was immune to the amazing weather we experience nine months of the year, He forced me to appreciate it, setting my husband to the task of making a mini-paradise in our backyard. There we have enjoyed hours of simple fun, exercise, laughter, and togetherness.

When I grew oblivious to the remarkable day-trip destinations that surround us, He filled my camera with pictures of the stunning places we have been, possible only because of where we live.

Discontent clutters the mind, contaminates the soul, and saps life of joy.

Contentment is not a right. It is a battle. It is a struggle. It is a prize. If I cannot be content right here in our desert valley, then I cannot be content anywhere. I would like to say with Paul that I have learned to be content in all things….but I’d like to forgo the circumstances that brought him to that truth! No shipwrecks for me, thank you! I’ll stick with my beautiful desert.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post on tips to declutter the discontentment.