Sunday, February 24, 2013

Moving toward contentment

Nearly two months into 2013, I have to ask myself how I am doing with my word of the year. If I had chosen the word "chocolate," I bet I would be doing my best to live up to it. It's probably a good thing I didn't, though, because then my word for the year in 2014 would have to be "detox" which doesn't look very pretty embroidered on a pillow.

No, my word is "content." I had to look up the definition of it because that's what nerdy word lovers like me do. It means, "in a state of peaceful happiness; satisfied with a certain level of achievement, good fortune, etc. and not wishing for more; to accept as adequate despite wanting more or better."

Many words jump to mind for me as synonyms for "content" after reading this definition and pondering it: satisfied, accepting, peaceful, patience, submission, enough. It's a lack of striving, of trying to make life a certain way. It's receiving with gratitude and a quiet heart. It's freedom from being in control. It's taking a deep breath and saying, "This is ok."

In other words, it's the antithesis of my mode of operation. I've already started to think that a lot of my emotional woes would be solved if I could just grasp this state of being content. I think I've spent most of these two months simply becoming more aware of where I am NOT content and why ("the first step is admitting you have a problem").

This basically involves three areas - content with who I am, what I have, and what I do. The dissonance between where I am and true contentment stems usually from idealistic images I have in my head about the way those things could look. I am seeing how much what I look at - television, magazines, the internet - feeds my discontent.

I would like to say that I am ruthlessly eliminating the things in my life that breed discontent. I can say that I am trying to make choices to turn my heart away from them. It's little things - choosing not to watch the red carpet for the Oscars because I know it will cause me to be discontent with my body and my current state of non-famousness. Or trying to spend less time on Pinterest because after I look there, I find that I feel unsettled and uneasy about the lack of awesome DIY projects that could make my house look like a magazine ad.

Beyond that, it's mostly a conversation with myself. The number of conversations I have with myself on any given day are legion (the by-product of being a high communicator AND an introvert) but these are an attempt to be a little more directive with my thoughts. Meaning I am trying to be conscious to stop when I am feeling discontent and ask myself things like, "When you look at your own body, will you choose to be content? Will you say yes to what God has given you?" or, "When you look at the mess of things undone, can you smile and say, 'It's ok'?" and maybe hardest of all, "Will you be content to let God choose His own way of working your life and not demand your own ways?"

So am I more content? I don't know about that. I would say I'm more and more convinced that it is the key for me to live well here right now. I'm not there yet, but I'm moving toward it.

1 comment:

  1. I'm behind, but just popped over from the One Word linkup! Wonderful post! I think most of us need to work on contentment! I'd like to say that after many years, I feel more content, but it is always a struggle. I just wrote a post a couple days ago about how we compare {like Pinterest} and let it get us discouraged when we should be happy with the wonderful and unique way God created each of us! Have a wonderful weekend!