I’ve been mulling over the word contentment lately. When we were young girls, my parents would attempt nightly devotions with the family. Most days it would evolve into a giggle fest during my dad’s prayer after one of us girls decided it would be funny to um, how do I say this delicately, pass gas. Yep, all girl family doesn’t mean fluffing did not go on. I digress.
Finally I think my mom had it and decided a new approach was necessary if we were to actually sit still and listen. She got these character education books; stories of different value such as peace, kindness, contentment, etc. The stories, from my recollection, were simple but memorable. As three squirmy girls, we actually listened.
I’m glad my parents powered through on that as many of those verses we memorized as a family still stick in my brain. And the character traits? Well, I’d like to say I learned them all perfectly as a child and have much peace, kindness and contentment in my life.
Unfortunately that’s not how it works. Just as I will never perfect the ultimate loaf of bread (I always say, “Maybe next time I can try X and it will turn out even better”), I won’t when it comes to that little word contentment.
It’s hard to be happy where you are with what you have when living in the midst of messages that tell me I should definitely use more face cream (those wrinkles..I’m telling you, the upper 30s is when it all attacks!), I should fit a certain size, drive a certain car and have certain items. I’m not against any of that.
What I don’t like is the feeling behind collecting all that stuff. It’s an ugly feeling that makes me feel “not good enough.” So I’ve been working on soaking my mind with things that do matter. One of those things is Scripture memory. Not my area of expertise in any way, shape or form.
Currently I have a few little hand written cards I carry around and pop out to look at. The verses are about contentment. They are words that liberate me when I allow them to really speak to me. Sometimes its a quote that gets me through.
I’m trying to figure out how I can teach our children this very important concept. It’s easy to look around and see all we don’t have. But when I think of what 2/3 of the world doesn’t have (hello, clean water or vitamins!) I have many, many things to be blessed and content about.
There’s my sermon for the week.
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I 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. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.