Desiring no more than what one has; satisfied.
Philippians 4:11-13 says: I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 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. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Today I had a beautiful conversation with someone about the simple life. She said she had one word for me: contentment. Being content. BAM. THAT is the word that I have been looking for. When I had copied those definitions of “simple” two posts ago, I felt it did not describe what I was trying to express. It’s because contentment is the word that I want to be living for. It just so happens that I think that living the simple life, is a way to obtain contentment.
So, this whole journey is going down a new path – a path of contentment. Isn’t THAT what God desires of us? I am so thankful I talked with this person today – it was one of God’s divine appointments! I am a firm believer in them and today I know why God had one set up for me. The simple life maybe isn’t the right way of looking at it – it is in seeking a life of contentment, that we will find peace and live uncluttered, simple, lives – lives lived for Christ – a life of contentment.
When talking with her, she gave such valuable advice on how she has learned the value of contentment. Dan and I have always seen the value of having relationships with people of ALL ages. We have been blessed to know this woman and her husband for awhile now (Dan longer than me), and I have learned so much from them! I plan on getting into this a little later, but I thought I would share just a few of her pieces of advice:
1. Pay cash. Don’t go into debt to buy something. Ex. cars and boats.
3. Be content with the life you are living – don’t look at everyone else.
4. The life you live, is the life your kids will most likely live as well – choose wisely
5. There are cheap, but fulfilling ways to have fun. Ex. go to a park, take a walk outside on the beach; just spend time outdoors.
So where to begin? How do you begin to live a contented life? Of course it starts with your relationship with Christ. By that I mean, it matters how you see Christ – where He is in your life. If He is not at the center (meaning you are storing up your treasures in something else, other than Him), you will not be content. But I think there are very practical ways as to how to live a contented life.
Why do you buy or do certain things? I think it’s important to know WHY you do everything that you do. If you are doing things to just please others or impress others, you will never find true joy or contentment. You are living for something or someone else.
What limits have you set on how you live your life? What makes you “stop” and say: “I don’t need this? Can I be content without it?”
I suppose maybe the first question to ask is do you live within your means? Honestly, that was a concept my parents taught me all my life. If you don’t have the money, you don’t buy it. I got a credit card at 18 for only gas, to build credit. I didn’t know there were other options of buying things you couldn’t afford. I am so thankful for my parents in raising me in that philosophy (and they continue to live that way).
What values and money-spending ways are YOU passing onto your children? Do you ever think “boy I hope my kids aren’t like me someday…” Well, they probably will be. The money habits you have right now are probably the habits they will also have. What do you want passed on to them?
Be content. It first starts with Christ. Ask Him to help you figure out what is “enough.” What IS enough for you? Know WHY you are buying something (and have a logical reason). Put limits on your spending and lifestyle. Live within your means.
Just stop and think. Are you content? If you are not, why not? What is holding you back? I know for me, it is greed and the need to have the latest and greatest. In Bible study, someone said “we change our minds about our possessions all the time and they end up disappointing us.” She said “10 years from now, am I going to care or want this specific thing I so badly want now?” That I think is the beginning of a contented life. Not living for the here and now, but living for what’s ahead – and for Christians, it is living for Christ. That is where true contentment is found.
Our earthly treasures and desires change. Invest in the One that DOESN’T change – Christ.
Here is another comment that Amanda said that I think is cool – did a MONTH of simplifying:
I’ve been challenged so much lately to live more simply. All of our “stuff” gets in the way of what really matters. I am so guilty of letting myself get carried away with things that don’t really matter. So for the month of October we decided to simplify and re-focus on God. We did 30 little things, some tasks, such as cleaning out our closets or organizing the medicine cabinet and others were things to help us focus on God, such as reading a Proverb a day together or getting up early to do devotions. It has definitely made an impact and I hope we can see it through even beyond this month!
Amanda I think has great advice in the sense that starting small can end up making a huge difference – do 30 little things. It’s all worth it in the end! Thanks Amanda!