“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” – Phillipians 4:11-13
I finally have landed on my “word of the year” (thanks to Jane for introducing me to her tradition of picking a word or theme at each new year instead of creating a huge list of goals). This year, the word is contentment.
I need to learn this. I want to learn it, but my heart gets restless. Contentment takes patience, takes time. I am not such a patient person! But in learning contentment – spiritual, emotional, financial – I want to learn the value of simple, joyful living. So that’s the focus of my journey this year. I’ve even dreamt (is that a word?) about it! Instead of spending weekends rushing from store to store, happily (sort of) spending my money, I want to invest in things that last. Our kids. My husband. Friends. Family. Things like picniking, biking (realizing I have to buy a bike first, but this is something I’ve actually daydreamed about, everytime I drive by Elmwood Park), etc. And doing things that nourish me, like spending time creating, reading, baking & writing. And (most importantly), feeding my relationship with God – like reading the Bible daily, praying daily (more for others than myself), and teaching my kids the same thing. I probably should have written that part first….because it’s the only way any of the other stuff will be halfway fulfilling. Duh.
I sometimes go to Sacred Space for a spiritual “time-out” during the day: recently one of the prayers read like this:
By God’s grace I was born to live in freedom.
Free to enjoy the pleasures He created for me.
Dear Lord, grant that I may live as you intended,
with complete confidence in your Loving care. (emphasis added)
It struck me that ‘living as God intends’ includes a great deal of trust in Him to care for me & my family. Confidence that He will provided my every need and then some….it’s easy for me, for some reason, to trust that He’ll bring the money to our bank account, but I haven’t found myself very trustworthy of that money – I am so tempted to blow it, spend it, and not save it. We’re trying to learn, this year, the value of saving – not just so we can buy a house someday, or have a fat retirement account (nice as those things are!), but so that we can learn to be content with living on less. Simply because we don’t want to be slaves to a lifestyle or a cultural ideal.
So…contentment. Simplicity, trust, patience. A lot to learn, but oh-so-essential. So here I go, for better or worse this year. Sara had a quote on her blog once that said, “There is joy in the mundane, if you can find it.” I’m out to find it. To be content in the not-so-glitzy, not-so-glamorous everyday.