“Poor and content is rich and rich enough” [William Shakespeare Othello]
Over the holidays I read a book called ‘Enough – breaking free from the world of more’ by John Naish.
Along with some of the other books I read it really got me thinking about stuff. The book doesn’t just talk about stuff it talks about information and happiness as well as other things.
The challenge of contentment is hardly new and it’s problems can be seen in many of the problems the world is facing – famine, war, slavery, environmental crisis, even image obsession….surely they all have their origins in our desire to have/be more than we have and to keep up with others. Our feeling that we ‘need‘ that elusive something to make us ‘feel’ better.
I’ve decided I want contentment to be one of my words for the year. For me it’s more than just not complaining about life or things that go wrong it’s about finding peace within my circumstances.
At times it might help me to stop and remind myself that other people are facing so much less and so much more crisis or trial than I am – but in essence that is still happiness based on comparison. And there it is COMPARISON the great robber. The seductive voice that makes us measure ourselves as better than others or we feel not up to the standard and our lives aren’t as good as someone else’s.
I want my contentment to come from a place of being at peace and being grateful. Stopping my eyes from wandering and wishing (not ‘wandering eyes’ in the traditional sense I must point out!!). I’m happy to look at lovely things but only as they inspire me to be more creative with my own resources. I’m happy to enjoy my friend’s happiness in their children and their relationships as long as they encourage me to be SO grateful for the beautiful people I have to call family.
It’s interesting to me that The 10 Commandments (God’s law presented in the Old Testament that form the basis of Judaism and Christianity’s morals and ethics), number 10 is ‘You shall not covet…’ Coveting is wanting someone else’s stuff – (the Bible chooses to mention houses, wives/husbands… nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.’) It seems interesting that watching over the fence and wishing you had something that isn’t yours is up there with murdering, lying, stealing…. Challenging?
I think God knows when we become discontent we lose joy. Without contentment in who we are and what we have we are hamstrung in everything else we might do and achieve. If the things we do, the way we eat, the way we look/dress, car we drive……. are motivated by trying to keep up and be something we are not then our unique ability to impact the world is lost.
Contentment… elusive? Perhaps. But I think the real competition in life is not to keep up and work out what is missing. I think the competition is to be at home in ourselves and embrace what we have. This is the invitation I am trying to accept – that I can be content. Not because I am enough but because He is enough and I can be content right here, where.I.am.
What is your word for the year??
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