Friday, March 20, 2009

If Wishes Were Fishes the Sea Would Be Full

This is a quality, that sometimes I struggle with. Contentment. I wish for the green grass on the other side of the fence, I dream, I desire for things that may not be right for me. So this week, let's focus on how to be content.

Content: 1. Desiring no more than what one has; satisfied. 2. Ready to accept or acquiesce; willing

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. (1 Timothy 6:6-8)

When you think about it, my basic human needs are more than met. I’m blessed. I have every reason to be grateful. How about you? And are you content?

It’s hard to hang onto that perspective when you see others who have more. When you watch commercials that can make you feel incomplete without the latest cell phone, computer or SUV. How about when you lose a job and your notion of “enough” is challenged.

Thankfully, the Bible helps us right our perspective—with the 1 Timothy passage above, with Paul’s inspiring words about contentment in Philippians 4:12, with the reminder in Matthew 6:25-34 that life is about so much more than “stuff.”

Here are some other ways to cultivate contentment:
1. Read the passages listed in the paragraph above. Make a list of what you learn about the keys to and rewards of contentment.

2. For a reminder of all the ways you’ve been blessed, make a list of 50 things in your life for which you’re grateful.

3. When we’re content with what we have, we’re freed up to give to others. Clean out a drawer or a closet or your food pantry this week, gather items you don’t need, and give them to a local shelter.

4. Post the word contentment or one of the verses listed above in a place where you’re often tempted to feel discontent: on the dashboard of your older car, near your television or computer, in your closet.

5. Think of contentment-stealers in your life—such as television or fashion magazines—and choose to eliminate some of these things from your life.

6. Ask God to forgive you of any discontent that’s been plaguing you. And ask him to fill you instead with a contented and grateful heart.

7. If you’re dealing with serious lack in your life—losing a home, facing a serious health threat, mourning a loved one’s passing—ask a trusted Christian friend, a pastor, or a counselor to pray with you, walk with you, and help you find the peace that passes all understanding.

How do you cultivate contentment?
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