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The power of contentment
The definition of contentment from Oxford Languages:
I was about 26 when I was asked a loaded question, “Where do you see your life in 10 years?”
I responded, “A nice big house, white picket fence, two nice cars in the garage, great job…”
He responded, “OK, and in another 10 years?”
Concentrating a little more I answered a bit confused, “In a bigger house, newer cars and better job,” realizing my heart would forever be chasing bigger and better as that is all the world can give us.
This experience for me was the beginning of recognizing my heart, the sadness of possibly always chasing but ever getting enough, but also the beginning of understanding contentment through a relationship with Jesus. Wouldn’t it be nice if eventually you had enough? Or maybe if you didn’t have enough and more was coming your way, you didn’t even know you lacked?
Contentment does not mean being stagnant or just accepting yuck
I don’t want to get into the idea that contentment means just being “ok” and not wanting more or anything else great for your life or not improving – or not wanting to upgrade in life. It doesn’t mean you aren’t content if you shop, or buy furniture, or spruce up a place or get new clothes, or get facial things done or work out. It all depends on where your heart is when it comes to chasing those things and only you know deep down in your heart if you are looking for those things to fulfill you (but finding it never does).
Contentment doesn’t mean standing still in life. Contentment is being happy and satisfied within the movement of life. It just means your heart has shifted and you don’t really NEED them or covet it so heavily like your life depended on it and that would be the ultimate win for you in life. You could go either way. You can wait, or you are also just totally happy with what you have and have found a way to make it work!
Contentment can be spiritual and/or a state of mind
I loved this excerpt from this online bible study about contentment, “Upon reflection we can see that Paul has illustrated several characteristics of contentment. First, one can be content no matter the circumstances. Second, contentment is a spiritual principle of dependence on the Lord rather than on human help or self reliance. Thus, our third characteristic is that contentment can be learned. And praise the good Lord, once it is learned contentment leaves no room for need as illustrated by Paul.”
No one has to be religious to be content or being so doesn’t make you content. I think it’s something that shifts in your brain and heart. Great things can still come, great wonderful things, but it means being happy and satisfied with where you are in work, in life, in relationships. If you aren’t, that’s OK and very normal, that is the ups and downs of life and you can make changes. I also don’t think it means we can’t be sad, mad or hurt when bad things happen, that’s not what I’m talking about. We all just want to avoid being stuck in a state of discontentment when you have wonderful things or always wanting or needing more can make us have weary souls and focus on all the wrong thing instead of the blessings right in front of us!
An example of my own contentment
This is when I realized I was content without knowing it! Some of you have seen how we’ve renovated our home more heavily over the last four years – and I’m talking beyond the small few thousand dollar projects like a paint job or small decorating swaps. The big jobs where we needed to get city permits to build!
We look at before photos and we are astonished at the changes but most of all the feeling that we never really thought our home was “ugly” or “ew” or terrible looking at all. Sure there were things we knew we’d like to change but never knew what that would be. I liked it enough to still share it and post about it! By the way if your house looks like this or you think worse please don’t think I am saying it’s ugly, because we didn’t think so at all! We actually just see a huge difference in the before versus after!
One of my close friends Amber immediately called me when she saw I shared what our backyard looked like on Instagram and she said, “I never thought your house wasn’t cute!” and I felt the same. We still hosted parties, our friends still came over (because it’s not about how your home looks), and we were still happy to come home! But also, the things that we owned and had were just within the budget we had. We were still young and building, so I kept my vision aligned with that.
Another example I have about contentment is driving my 2006 Lexus SUV since 2021! I don’t care! You know what the best car is? A paid off one haha! But also, I just didn’t feel the need to upgrade. New cars are nice, and I have one now and Benjamin jokes he sold his 2010 for a new 2006 LOL! I’ll be driving around town in this one for a decade at least. But nothing is wrong with having a nice new car all the time either, you just don’t want to be house poor or car poor because you can’t be content with what you have, at least I don’t.
I remember I once told my mom when I was in college what car a guy drove and she said, “Who cares, you can get one right now, just get a loan like everyone else. Don’t let that impress you, how about how much money he has in the bank?” And I remembered to not fall into the illusion of wealth of others, or myself. It’s no one’s business but my parents taught me to not get caught up in it. I’ll stop there before I start giving unsolicited financial advice, that’s not what you’re here for, hahaha!
Or how about when I did this in my studio which wasn’t a studio yet and just a backdrop of paper and some Home Depot lights to take outfit pics? Sure I saw empty paint cans and Christmas decor in boxes but it didn’t keep me from working or making creative things happen.
Being content can (sometimes) be easy on the wallet *wink*
An example of my own discontentment
Granted there were moments when I wasn’t content with my house and that usually came during work photoshoot time when I needed light to actually take a decent photo for a campaign and our house was kind of like a cave. That’s when Amber stepped in and always offered me her vacation rental homes or houses she was flipping with her husband to shoot in. That held me over for a year which I was so thankful for. She’s an incredible generous and supportive friend.
Those moments were hard, and we expanded into our garden room, added skylights, and it has brought us so much joy to host and live in our home with family and friends.
When I look back, I recognized a soul change within me, the blessing of contentment. Sure we can upgrade our lifestyle, get a bigger house, get this, do that, as that is a normal part of growing up but then I also think, isn’t it more than OK to love where I am? Is it my dream _____ ? I mean kinda, yeah, it is. I mean maybe my dream is a______, but no matter wha I had, I’m sure eventually I could find cons. There’s always something we can pick apart right?
That’s the beauty of contentment. It’s looking around, feeling happy, fulfilled, and satisfied, until the next thing just comes.
I just wanted to share these thoughts because I’ve been wanting to discuss this and it’s been in the back of my head for a few months. I hope it encourages you until you get to the next phase of life or you look around and say, I love this! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know you enjoyed most of all you were given and the stages? Chapters in life are so unique and circumstances can chance so quickly. xx
Diana Elizabeth is getting super excited for the holidays. Mr. Wonderful says put up the tree November 1 but she thinks she might not be that ready yet. Maybe smaller things go up and the the big tree actually goes up Mid- November. But now she can see why people put it up after Thanksgiving especially if the host Thanksgiving!