Finding Freedom Through Living Contently

Posted by admin on July 16, 2015

wellness-594181_1280In this series of posts, I'm going to be letting you in on a large struggle of mine-living contently.  Do you ever struggle with this?  Well, this is a constant for me.  So, I would like to share with you the steps I take, when I recognize that I am needing an attitude adjustment-which is more often than I would like to admit...

Before I go on, I must point out that I have a life that I love. An amazing husband, great kids, most anything that I could ask for, a creative mind, we live a debt free life, and I am richly blessed.  Does this mean that I never struggle with living contently, or without feeling depressed?  Nope.

I must mention this, because I have to move a little toward the dark side for a moment to explain where I am at.

dab-93945_1280The other day, my youngest teenager was throwing a fit. Now if you've had kids in the different stages-toddlers, kids, adolescense, and so on, you know that they throw fits throughout-it just looks different with each stage.

He no longer throws himself on the floor head first without his hands in front of him to break the fall, which of course would hurt him even more, sending him into even more of a frenzy than he was in before.  We have moved passed those years-thank God!  However, when we tell him no to something, in 1.2 seconds, he can go  from being this amazingly happy, funny, witty 13 year old to a completely silent, grumpy, "if you say anything to me, you're not going to get a nice response" kind of kid. It makes the atmosphere very awkward to say the least.

Anyways, he was upset that we weren't going to go 7 Eleven to get a free slurpy on Free Slurpy Day, I mean is this a new Holiday I am unaware of?  Not a huge deal, right?  Well, we HAD told him the day before that we could probably stop in to get one at some point in the day. However, the circumstances changed.

On the day to go, he had been house sitting, and had had a multitude of Mountain Dew, danishes, and other junk food items. So, I told him that he didn't need any more sugar or junk food, and that we wouldn't be going. Well, he immediately got defensive, because we were going "back on our word."  It was very annoying to me-he wouldn't hear our reasoning, and just kept holding on to that piece of it. We definitely had some confrontation over this.

Well, it's pretty funny how I can so quickly get upset at my children's inability to be content with what they have, and then turn around and throw a fit about the same thing myself.  I definitely still throw fits too.  They're usually internal, or come in the form of wearing my emotions on my sleeve.  I put on the "I can handle this" face, but I am kicking and screaming on the inside.  Things like, "I don't want to figure out my finances and cut back!!" or "I don't want to stop eating everything in sight!!" or "I don't want to be an adult and have responsibilities, and I definitely don't want to raise teenagers any more!!  I quit!!"

I love when God gives me what I like to call "Glimpses of God," where he reveals something about His relationship with me.  I personally believe that God is my Heavenly daddy, and when I am acting this way,  I am sure He must be shaking His head the same way I do when my own kids are doing these things.  It's quite humbling :-)

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Today as I was reading my devotions I read this, "Live your creative best...Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life." Galations 6:1 & 4-5 (Message version)

For me, this speaks directly to living the life I was given to live, and living it contently.  It's crazy to me how easily I can compare myself and my family to what others and their families are doing-either with their finances, or their homes, or even just the fun activities they do, and feeling like we NEVER get to do these kinds of things ourselves.  Oooh, there's a word that drives me crazy when my kids use it-that NEVER word.

Have you ever noticed how quickly kids can turn to that word?  Well, I know that I am just as guilty.  I love the quote from Star Wars by Obi-Wan:

"Only a Sith deals in absolutes." (click to see video of quote :-))

When dealing with what we WANT, we can quickly turn to these statements:
"I'm NEVER going to get what I want,"  or "Why do we ALWAYS have to live on less?"  I can find myself quickly living in lies.  And feeling like my life and the things that we DO get to do or have, are not enough.  I want MORE!

I've come to realize this:

It is difficult to live contently. REALLY, TRULY, I already have so many of the things that I could NEED or even WANT.  I already get to do some very amazing things.  My resources are vast, but in these exact moments, I easily forget about those things, because I am so desperately wanting something else.

The truth is, we are constantly bombarded by marketing that is directly aimed at making us feel this way.  WOW!! I mean, for me, all I have to do is:

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  • Watch an HGTV show and see all their home improvements people are given:

    • the perfect kitchen,
    • bathroom,
    • back porch living space.
  • Go to the mall or any store to see:

    • all the beautiful, trendy clothing items, jewelry and shoes;
    • bath and body stores with the wonderful smelling lotions, candles and such;
    • peruse the large department stores with the perfect bed linens and many household gadgets to make cooking so much more luxurious!

Sheesh!!  I wonder at WHY my kids complain that they don't have everything they want or desire, when I can feel very discontent in about a heart beat myself.

I could go on and on about this, and so I've decided that I need to turn this into a few posts.  There are some very specific things that I am doing to help myself live more contently in my life, and I would definitely like to share them with you.

For now though, I don't want to leave with us just pondering these things.  I think it is important to put some action steps into place here:

1.  Here are some questions for each us to reflect on individually (I highly recommend writing them down, see #3):

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  • What are the things that make you feel ill-
    content?
  • What do your fits look like?
  • What are the blessings in your life?
  • What keeps you from "seeing" those blessings?

2.  I will be praying (you can pray or meditate, or both).

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  • Pray/meditate about the things that you just wrote down
  • Then pray and ask for direction, and for peace

 

3.  Let's start a "Blessing" journals, ASAP.  This is an important strategy for me.

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  • I have done this many times in my life, and go back to it, and am going back to it again, now.  It is much easier to live contently when you are focusing on finding your blessings.
  • I would suggest trying to find between 3-5 blessings each day.  They don't have to be large either.  Sometimes, it's all we can do to find a few small items, such as "my partner told me they loved me."  This may be a reoccurring event, but lets not take it for granted today.  Write it down.
  • Make this a habit, but don't let perfectionism get in the way.   If you miss a day, that's ok, just write them down the next day.  Sometimes I get out of the habit for months, and then recognize that I'm struggling again with feeling discontent, and so I start it back up again.  That's ok.  It's not about being perfect.  It's about recognizing the issue, and going back to the strategy.

I would love to hear from you on this topic.  I didn't mention reaching out as a step, but just like when you are dealing with depression and I tell you that reaching out is important, so it is also true with living contently.  I think you will find that you are not alone, and that you will get a lot of support from people around you, when you share.

You can leave a comment in this post, or share on my Facebook page, or my Twitter.

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