Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Learning To Be {Content}

Contentment.  It's a big word, and it's a really hard one to learn!  There are always at least two ways to see each situation in life, and one of those is with contentment.  I want to see life that way.  I'm working on seeing life that way.  I had to pray really hard about seeing life that way last night!  Right now I have 2 sick kids, and the third is barely feeling better today.

Emery is such a joy, such a happy girl.  But at night, she still gets me up at least twice, usually 3 times, and she wants to nurse.  I don't resent that.  I love spending time with her.  It is incredibly exhausting though, and it's really starting to take a toll on me physically and mentally.  I have a hard time keeping my cool throughout the day.

So, last night, while I was up with her for the second (and third) time, I prayed for joy.  You know the little song "The Joy of the Lord is My Strength".  That is what was going through my head.  Cause it's kind of hard to be joyful when you can hardly keep your head up!

And to go further along the lines of contentment... You know Keith and I started the big process of remodeling our bedroom, right?  Well, I had a lot of plans for our room.  Plans like new lamps, new furniture (even if only a couple nightstands), new bedding.  At this point, non of those things fit into the budget, and work has ceased for now.  I'm trying to get past that, be thankful for how beautiful my room looks now (even without trim and baseboards, lol).  I'm trying not to let things bother me, like seeing my friends beautiful new homes, hearing that they go shopping across the border for the weekend whenever they feel like it, seeing all the fancy, shiny gadgets that they own.  It can wear on my mind after a while.

So, I'm SUPER thankful that we are going through a great book with our ladies Bible Study group on Thursday mornings.  It's called Calm My Anxious Heart.  So far, I'm really challenged by the book.  Can I wake up in the morning and make it through my day with no regrets, no jealous thoughts, just pure contentment?  That is my goal.  To know that I have a beautiful family, a home that suits our needs, clothes to keep me warm, and a God who cares about the little details, should be enough.

I want to share a small quote from the book.  I find it incredibly challenging, and I hope that one day I can really say these things are true in my life.

* Never allow yourself to complain about anything - not even the weather.
* Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or someplace else.
*Never compare your lot with another's.
* Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
*Never dwell on tomorrow - rememer that {tomorrow} is God's, not ours.

This was written in the diary of a woman who had truly learned to be content, despite living in Africa for 52 years, leaving all that was familiar behind, and suffering through staggering heat day after day with no relief.

I am struggling most days, but I know that God's plan for my life is far better for me than what I can dream up.  So, that is where I will leave it, in His hands.

Philippians 4:11-13
11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. 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. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.


Stam House said...

I love that book!!! And that list is still on my heart 5 years after I read it!!

I love that contentment is something to be learned, meaning we might not be doing it perfectly now but we are learning!

Laura said...

that's funny...I just started reading this book too. And we're also doing a ladies' bible study for Sunday School on contentment. I told them last week that I was going to bring in the book this week and read that section :) Since I've read that part it's popped up in my head a lot. Hopefully it will help change me! :)

Sheila said...

Here's another way to look at this - just think, most of these people who have the new homes loaded with new furniture, who get to go cross-border shopping whenever they feel like it probably have a whole lot more debt than you do, probably up to their eyeballs! I wouldn't want to compare myself and desire to have all that if it meant having a tonne of debt. A lot of people are insecure about themselves, therefore feeding their egos with stuff. It's one thing to have "good" debt, ie., investments, home (if you can truely afford it), etc. But I think if a person has a lot of consumer debt you are not living your true self! And that's my spin on things. I was brought up to NEVER use a credit card unless it's an absolute emergency - and I've always stuck by that, and came to the conclusion a long time ago that I'm not going to buy things to impress the next person either! If you're a confident enough person, you won't feel the need to fill the void with stuff. And I believe that you are a confident person Stacey!

Stacey said...

Thanks Sheila! Yeah, I guess others may have more debt than us, and we certainly don't want to go down that path. It's tempting, especially for things that need to be done on our house, like shingles, siding, and windows. But we both know (and agree) that it would be much smarter financially to just do things as we can.

S Club Mama said...

I think I need that book.

Ellen said...

what a great post and a great thing to strive for! I like that list that you posted too. For me, when I read it, I found that a lot also applied to the past - being content with the present and not resenting or wishing to change the past. That's something I've been working on a lot since the failures of my past often come to haunt me and I know that I need to let it go and use the lessons God has taught me to change me for the future. I also know what you mean about needing to be content with my home - for me it's more to do with the size than anything. I'd rather have a larger older home than a newer small one but the market is not forgiving in that area, we would lose a lot of money if we sold now. Our home is a 2 bedroom house.. we are having our 3rd child - you do the math!! I like what Renee said, that contentment is a learning thing :)

Kalle said...

Stacey, I really appreciate this post. I struggle with contentment all of the time and your post really hit home. Contentment is often so hard to find, even if it's just around the corner.

Hope you kids feel better soon.

Tara said...

great post!

i've learned that being content is a state of mind/a choice, as opposed to being "happy", which is an emotion. i find that when i'm content, i'm happy... not the other way around.

i've learned that i'm ok with a house that isn't 100% renovated, most clothes bought secondhand, and older furniture b/c i know we haven't over-committed ourselves.

just recently we had a message in church about tithing/giving and how when people commit every penny they make (and sometimes more) to all the "stuff" they want... then when God leads you to give, you "can't". lots to think about!

Elaine said...

Love the look of your ´new´ blog! Just stay the way you are! You were such a good example for me, don´t try to keep up with other people standarts! Can´t wait until I get the book!