Posted in Living Intentional, Uncategorized

Living next door to those Joneses…Geez!

I have told you all many times that I feel so stuck living in Northern Virginia next door to the Joneses, and well, being friends with them, that it’s hard to not be able to keep up. I struggle with having to turn down invites due to our financial status at the time, or trying to stick to the budget that I just created, and well….that I am wearing the same skirt to work that I have had for over 5 years. But, that’s my life…and well, I need to learn to be content with that. We aren’t starving. We have nice things. We drive reliable cars, have food in the fridge and more than we need.

But I have really been trying to learn to be more content with what we have. The word I want for me and my family is to be “abundant”.  To know that I have a life full of abundance! But the comparison creeps in so often and is such an energy sucker.

I have realized that in order to feel a life of “Abundancy”, I need to find my level of contentment…so this article was spot on for me.

slide-02

 

Paragraph 3 is actually my favorite. I ended up taking this to heart a little over a year ago. I remember the days of the Groupons and Brad Deals and just clicking and buying. I wasn’t rich then, I just thought I had the money, and well, I GOT A GREAT DEAL! Who doesn’t love a deal, right?

I love Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma and Ann Taylor and, and, and….well, with each email that shows up every day, I would open it and it would create a feeling of WANT that actually was detrimental to my thinking, EVERY DAY! It created so much want and then a feeling of let down of “ugh I am so poor” that it really started to hurt my head, my soul, and just physically I was noticing the type of depression setting in that was so sad. I created all of this on my own. I don’t NEED any of it! I just WANTED it.

So it was time to take action! How? Well, I went on the new journey of UNSUBSCRIBE! This was my big turn over to filling my emails with positive sites and nothing retail! I had to give it up, and well, as you see below in Paragraph #1, it was time to “Set my Priorities”!

So, I hope you, too, can gain something from this and help you realize that you ARE enough and you HAVE enough! I hope you can get something fulfilling out this and start a new way to felling content!

 7 WAYS TO BE MORE CONTENT

A few months ago I shared that our family’s theme word for the year is contentment.
After an entire lifetime of wanting to trying to fill my life with beautiful things in the hope that it would bring fulfillment, learning to simply be content with what I have is a huge shift in paradigm.

I backslide sometimes–too often, really–and I find myself getting caught up in the pursuit of wanting something new, in the trap of thinking that there is better than here, of telling myself the reason I’m not satisfied is because I don’t have X or because I haven’t achieved Y.  They are the familiar lies that keep creeping back over and over again.

Even so, slowly and painfully, through much prayer and reflection, I can still feel myself being changed, transformed, renewed.  As this process continues, and as I continue to delve deeper into God’s Word, I am finding that these seven strategies are helping me to be much more content right where I am.

 

1. SET YOUR PRIORITIES

Take the time to actually write down what is most important to you, and to determine what it is you want most out of life.  Is having a bigger house, better clothes, a nicer car or the latest iPhone your ultimate goal?  If you were to die tomorrow, what would you want people to remember you for?   It is much easier to be content with what we have when we truly consider where our priorities lie.  Jesus, in Matthew 6:20-21, put it simpler still: “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven….for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

2. STOP COMPARING

This is so easy to say and yet, unless you live in a bubble, so hard to do.  No matter what we do or who we are or how much we have, it is so tempting to see what someone else does or is or has and suddenly want that for ourselves.

As a blogger, my own biggest temptation is comparing myself to other bloggers.  I’ll see another blog that has more subscribers or Facebook fans or blog comments and think, “why are they so much bigger or better than me?”  Then I’ll read an amazingly insightful post or see a super-creative DiY project or delicious-looking recipe on another blog and think “Why couldn’t I think of that.”  But I don’t stop there.  I start questioning everything I am doing, I begin second-guessing my own path, my own content, my own worth.  Suddenly everything I do is complete crap and I might as well just quit altogether.I am learning, slowly, that another person’s success or talent doesn’t negate my own.  I remind myself over and over of the message found in Romans 12:6:  “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.”  No two people will walk the same path, and nothing someone else has will fulfill me if I’m not already filled.  My only job is to walk my own path to the best of my abilities.

S

3. CHANGE THE MESSAGE

Do you ever feel like modern culture is just one big advertisement, constantly telling telling us what we need to be happy or successful?  Between television, books, online media, magazines, and even billboards, it is practically impossible to escape the pressure to have more, do more, or be more.  Much of  that message involves filling our lives with things, promoting the idea that stuff will make happy.  Sometimes it is just a “motivational” message, telling us that we should simply be better.  In any case, the idea that what we have and who we are is enough is rarely–if ever–promoted.  Contentment just doesn’t sell.

4. COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

Discontentment can sneak up on us so quickly, often before we even know it is happening.  Something doesn’t go exactly our way, and suddenly we are wishing the whole world was different.   I especially see this with my kids!  I have found that it helps both them and me to have daily conversations about the blessings in our lives and the things we are grateful for.

Philippians 4:4-7 reminds us to “rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice!….Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will gthe-true-definitionuard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I am trying (yet often failing) in my own morning devotions, to be more intentional about thanking God for what He’s done, rather than constantly coming with my own petitions.  This is still hard for me.  To be perfectly honest, my prayers can often be very self-consumed.  There is a lot I still want, but remembering all that I have does make a difference.

5. LIVE PASSIONATELY

Where is your passion?   What do you love to do most of all?  What makes you jump out of bed in the morning, or rush home from work just so that you can have a little extra time to do it?  Is it sewing?  Crafting?  Blogging?  Speaking?  Volunteering? Starting your own business?  Raising children?  Becoming a missionary?  Whatever it is, DO IT.  Do it with abandon, do it like your life depends on it.

There is nothing in the Bible that says we should simply sit quietly by, trying not to make waves.  On the contrary, Jesus specifically said “I have come that they may have LIFE, and have it to the FULL.”  A full life is one filled with passion, and it is hard to feel discontented when you are following your dreams.

6. FIND POSITIVE FRIENDS

Trying to “keep up with the Jones’” can become all-consuming if everyone you know is caught up in the same more-more-more mentality.  Unspoken competition among friends for the nicest house, most athletic kids, or biggest television (just to name a few!) not only breeds discontentment, but can cause true resentment among the people who should be your support system.bff_6-1

The Bible is pretty clear on this topic, saying “do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33).  A good way to make sure you’ll never be content is to surround yourself with discontented friends.  Instead, find people who are striving for the same goals.

7. PRAY FOR CHANGE

It always, always, always comes down to prayer.  Pray for contentment, for God to truly transform your heart and satisfy your need for more, and he will.  It is only through God’s grace we are redeemed.  “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.”  (Matthew 7:7)

*   *   *

Do you ever struggle with discontentment?  What are your strategies for dealing with it?

 

What paragraph struck you the most? I would love to hear! Please comment below and let’s cheer each other on! We can do this!

RL

 

Author:

I’m a wife of 24 years, mother of 3 kids; 16, 19 and 22, now a Mother In Law, pet owner of 2 dogs and a cat,. I'm living an imperfect life in a colonial home in suburbia trying to make everything around me perfect!

2 thoughts on “Living next door to those Joneses…Geez!

  1. RL, I so appreciate this post..you are so spot on! While I have a wonderful life, I always want more. But not things…I want time…together. My husband is 15 years older than me, and I want us to explore the country together and make new memories while we can…we see the same thing off our back porch every night.let’s see more, together, while we can. Money can but things, but not time. The Joneses may be accumulating things but are they accumulating what’s important…time with loved ones?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s