Do you struggle with contentment? Are you always thinking things like, “If I can just get past this thing or this time, I will be happy?” Or, “If only this would happen, I would be happy?” Or, “If I could only change this one thing, I would be happy?”
My friend, I hate to break it to you but if you can’t find contentment and happiness in your present situation or time in life, you will never find it.
The key to contentment is to embrace the present, embrace your own unique journey and embrace who you are as a person, uniquely created by God.
Whenever I struggle with issues of contentment or talk to a friend or family member who is struggling, I am reminded of a TV episode that I watched with my young children when they were growing up, from the Amazing Book of Virtues.
The episode was called the “Magic Thread.” It is a story of a boy named Peter who was always wishing for things to be different. In every season of his life, he was wishing for the next season. He was given a ball of yarn from an old woman who told him that he could pull on the thread to advance time a bit to get past the present and into the future but was warned not to do it too much or he would run out of thread and he couldn’t go back.
The story really draws you in because we can all relate to those feelings of discontentment. Sadly, this boy’s life passes far too quickly before he realized that he missed it all and didn’t enjoy it. You can read the story HERE. And you can watch it here…
5 Life Lessons for Finding the Key to Contentment
1. Savor the Present
This means letting go of the past. Don’t dwell on it anymore. You can’t change it so just let it go and move on. If you are holding onto hurts from your past, let them go, they are robbing you of the present. Forgive those who hurt you. Hanging on to unforgiveness only hurts yourself, not the person who hurt you. Living in the present also means not focusing too much on the future. It’s ok to make goals and plans for the future but don’t let hoping for the future rob you of today either. Practice being mindful of each day and what it has for you. Notice and enjoy all the little things.
2. Avoid the Comparison Trap
Don’t compare yourself to others. It is a mirage really. We only see a glimpse of other people’s lives tied up in pretty packages topped with a bow, but we don’t know what is inside that box of a life full of unique challenges and struggles. If social media has you falling into this trap, take a break for awhile. There are even ways to manage your feed so you can see the things you want to see without seeing the things that trip you up. If you really want to work through this issue, consider joining the online bible study with Proverbs 31 Ministries going through the book Why Her? 6 Truths We Need to Hear When Measuring Up Leaves Us Falling Behind, By Nicki Koziarz. Note: This free study starts April 9th and goes through May 18 so sign up today if you are interested. The first 3 chapters of the book are free to give you time to order the book, which you can get in 2 days from Amazon.
3. Run Your Own Race
Who told you life was a competition? It’s not. Who said you have to keep up with anyone else’s life or timeline? You don’t. That is the enemy talking to you, my friend. Remember he is the father of lies and all he wants to do is discourage you and defeat you. This is your own, unique life and God has a very personal and unique plan for you. Focus on your race and quit looking around at everyone around you that may be coming on your heels to pass you up and don’t be discouraged by those who are miles ahead of you. Focus all your energy into putting one step in front of the other and pressing on in your own race.
4. Challenge Negative Thoughts
Again, remember, the father of lies? The enemy who prowls around looking for someone to devour? Those negative thoughts are whispered in your ear by someone who’s very goal is to defeat you. Just keeping this in mind helps me to stop myself and dig my heels in because I don’t want the enemy to win or gain a foothold in my life. The Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:5 that we need to take every thought captive and make sure it lines up with the truth. So once you capture those negative thoughts, counteract them with the truth. Replace them with positive statements.
5. Enjoy Your Journey.
I sign off on every blog post with “Wishing you JOY in your journey” for a reason. Even though we all struggle with things in life, we can still find joy in our journey. It may challenge your thinking if you are currently in a dark and discouraging place right now but trust me, if you look for it you will find it. There is always some good to go with the bad. There is always something to be thankful for. There is always something to enjoy or savor in every day of our lives…even the hardest ones. If you have trouble finding those things, I challenge you to start a gratitude journal and force yourself to find 3 things each day to be thankful for. You will be surprised by how this can change everything for you. I like this quote, by Henri Nouwen “Joy does not simply happen to us. You have to choose joy and keep on choosing it.” I even have a plaque that says “Choose Joy” to remind me. It is featured in a post I wrote about Joy, my favorite essential oil and how it gets me through my hard days. If you want to get your own plaque as a reminder, there are some really nice ones on Amazon you can see here.
I want to tie this whole message in with this absolutely wonderful gem I found online of a sermonette done by a young worship leader who brilliantly ties in the whole story of “The Magic Thread” into an amazing and inspirational message that is golden. If you invest the time into watching it, I guarantee you will be richly blessed.
What about you? Do you struggle with contentment? I hope this encourages you to embrace your life and savor each and every day. I have created a printable “Finding Contentment” worksheet with journaling prompts to help you work through the things standing in your way of living a life of contentment and start living a life of joy. Find out how to get a copy at the bottom of this post.
Wishing you JOY in your journey,
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