During this pandemic I find contentment fleeting and elusive.
The physical distancing and not meeting with family and friends is feeling really long now.
When will our world get back to normal?
I keep thinking that with the next phase of the reopening I will be content.
But I’m realizing that contentment is a frame of mind and an attitude and it’s not really based on circumstance.
The Urban dictionary defines contentment as “ true peace of mind that has absolutely nothing to do with any external pleasure or condition, but rather your attitude”. That’s the kind of contentment I want. How about you?
In my research on how to be content some of my own thoughts were confirmed. I also found a few insights that I am going to use as I pursue contentment.
I share them today with a hope and a prayer that you will be encouraged too my friend.
1. An attitude of gratitude is vital.
It’s too easy to think about what we don’t have or what we are missing these days.
An attitude of gratitude helps us realize all the little blessings that are part of every day!
One of the things I do is take a few minutes every morning to write my list of 10 things I am thankful for. That gets my focus on what I have. My focus is on what is good. My focus is on small joys. My focus is on God’s goodness.
Making that list every morning gives me an attitude of gratitude, which shapes the rest of my day. Give it a try!
2. Enjoy small moments of joy.
One of my simple joys is slowly sipping a cup of hot tea before the busyness of the day. Or going for a walk in the cool of the evening.
Life is made up of lots of little moments of joy. These little moments need to be savoured. They are little moments of contentment.
I was surprised by how many little moments I had in my day. I challenge you to be aware of your little moments too and become aware of your moments of contentment.
3. Live in the present.
This goes with those little joys but adds another little bit.
We’ve all had those moments when we are enjoying those little joys and instantly a thought steals our contentment.
Contentment can be lost when we dwell on the past and wish we could change it.
Contentment can disappear in a second when we start thinking about an uncertain future.
How do I live in the present? When those thoughts intrude I remind myself of what is happening right now and refocus my thoughts. It takes practice to not let my thoughts wander especially with so much uncertainty.
I’m working on it all the time!
But when I reign those thoughts in, my contentment returns.
4. Stop the comparison game.
Scrolling through social media can rob us of our contentment. Our stuff, our family, our lives are measured against a false and hyper positive reality.
Sometimes I ‘unfollow’ people especially if every post makes me feel like my life isn’t measuring up. If watching someone else’s life makes me less thankful and less content with my life, then it’s not a good choice. You know those people. Maybe you have ‘friends’ like that?
Or I simply take a break from social media if it’s stealing my contentment. It’s worth it. My true friends will keep in touch with me.
I ordered a book called Comparison Girl by Shannon Popkin. I think she gets it and has more insights that I need. I’ll let you know what I learn!
Or maybe you could order one too and we could chat? A book reading group sounds fun!
5. Contentment is a process.
I guess that’s why it seems elusive. Some days contentment comes easy and some days it’s hard work.
As a follower of Jesus I go to the Bible for guidance. The apostle Paul writes to friends and he says, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4: 12b, 13
Paul talks about the secret of contentment so I see that it is something that was not initially easy for him to find either. Paul says he has learned to be content. I am encouraged in my quest for contentment as I see again that it is a learning process.
Paul’s contentment wasn’t instantaneous. It was a process that he learned by learning about God. Paul learned that everything – the good stuff and the bad stuff – are all under God’s power. He uses all of it to teach us to rely on Him and trust Him.
Paul says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” The ‘things’ he is talking about includes being content. Ultimately Paul knows that he can’t be content without God’s power.
Paul‘s contentment is an “inner sense of rest or peace that comes from being right with God and knowing that He is in control of all that happens to us.” http://27 secrets to contentment
That’s the kind of contentment I want! The kind of contentment is based on God’s peace and God’s power. That’s true contentment!
If you would like to know more about God’s contentment you can check out this resource.
Today’s little step: Are you ready to pursue contentment? Start the learning process today with these tips.
What helps you be content? I’d love to hear your ideas too!