Contentment….

“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??

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway too 🙂

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11 responses

  1. great post. i love it. thank you!

  2. Yes, I totally agree. I am choosing to use the phrase, “That’s not my priority” to remind myself that I don’t need to buy everything in sight. I, too, have plenty, or enough resources to make all sorts of beautiful creations. I could probably stop buying fabric and yarn for a year!

  3. When I had little children like you do I remember a wonderful verse which spoke to me: ‘Godliness with contentment is great gain’.
    You have nailed it. There is always so much that is wonderful. xxx

  4. My word(s) for the year are reorganise and simplify… but I like yours! I suspect this is something I also need to work on… maybe 2013 though ;-)!

  5. Lovely post – and amen to all that you have said in it 🙂

  6. love this post – i feel the same way 🙂 it is hard not to compare to others, we live is a world of more more more, but life is so much happier when you appreciate what you are blessed with – and our blessings are too numerous to count xx

  7. My word/phrase of the year is “Let go” especially of things I can’t control that stop me appreciating what is happening in the present. A similar sentiment to yours I think.

  8. p.s. have two words; organise and purposeful (which is kinda like your b.m.w.b. – i want to be more purposeful about my time with the kids).

  9. Excellent post, Contentment – a lot to do with expectations of course. Contentment for all please! 😀

  10. Here is a little something I have blue-tacked to the wall of my make-up/jewellery area. I think it came from a magazine or somewhere. I think it could equally be called “how to be content”:

    “True sources of personal happiness and wellbeing”:
    * expressing gratitude
    * being optimistic
    * focusing on what I have rather than what I want
    * not comparing myself to others
    * not ruminating on things
    * focusing on relationships
    * having goals
    * being forgiving
    * being kind to those around me

    Seems to fit quite nicely with this post and sums up what you are trying to achieve this year! Well done, you are an example to many 🙂

  11. Oh and my word for the month is “yield”. Easier to explain in real voice I think…so I’ll leave everyone else guessing.

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