Joy on the Narrow Road
10/27/14 at 01:08 PM 0 Comments

Delightfully Living in Contentment

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Do you live and learn or do you think you are wise enough to just live as you are? Do you delight in your life?

I keep waiting for the day I will be done learning life's lessons. At least in my mind I imagine it will be a less dramatic life. However, for today I'm revisiting the topic of contentment with new insights.

Last year I came to understand a bit about contentment and wrote about it (here.) Recently, I saw with my own eyes how easy it was to desire something simply by spending too much time focused on it (here.) I mention these two previous posts because this one deals with the same thing but takes it a step further. Clearly the eye is the window to the soul. Whether you let in light or darkness, depends on how much discipline you have.

The bible refers to eye this way:

"The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! Matthew 6:22

Looking is dangerous! Oh, we like to call it innocent, "look but don't touch" we say, as if it's permissible to look but not to touch. I have a different thought and that is "Don't Look!" and you won't even think about touching. This refers to EVERYTHING. Granted we cannot go through life with our eyes closed and I am not suggesting we even try it. However, we can choose to NOT LOOK at things we might find ourselves desiring such as food, clothing, jewelry, cars, vacations, etc. The marketing industry knows the power of a single glance and that is why advertising has the best pictures. They slip into our lives as every day occurrences.

Here's a few things that come to mind:

    • TV Commercials
    • Weekly Store Advertisements
    • Travel Brochures
    • Amazon's Deal of the Day
    • Special Offers in the mail (lawn care, car dealers, etc)
    • Catalogs

Like the Apostle Paul

"I have learned to be content in whatever (my) circumstances. I know both how to have a little and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content..." (Philippians 4:11,12)

For me, this secret is to not look. By looking, you allow your mind to ponder the possibilities. Once the hook is in you, you start to calculate and contemplate every angle. I see this with people and grocery store coupons. Oh they will tell you how much money they've saved and how much they needed those items but I stand here from a different perspective. I am not saying they are wrong only sharing a different view as coming from one who does not look at store fliers. I have tried. I have clipped coupons for major dollars off if I spend X many dollars on X, Y and Z. Typically, those items were not on my shopping list to begin with so why should I buy something just to save money on that item?

For me, the things that I would want, I could never afford. It has been easy for me to not look. I learned this the hard way. I once subscribed to all kinds of catalogs and I would mark the pages with the items I wanted. Then I would try to see if there was money for it, which there never was. I was left constantly disappointed. I began looking around me, to coworkers, neighbors, even strangers I pass by. Everyone had better things than I did. It was never even about keeping up with the Jones for me, it was simply about having what I did not, and I did not have a lot of things. The end result of this was always disappointment and low self esteem or self worth. Defeat.

When I grew to understand contentment last year and realized that I did in fact have nice things already in my possession, my self worth increased. I felt better about myself. This is the world we live in and it has it's worldly effects. Though I am a spiritual being, I am still impacted by the world on many levels.

Honestly, the only reason I am able to see these things is because I have just spent many days and nights without some of the modern luxuries of living. During that time I realized that in the absence of these things, there was no desire for them. The only things I did desire were the matters of the heart. Once I realized what really mattered in my life, the desire to make them happen became a reality and for me this had nothing to do with celebrities nor things that other people had that I didn't.

By not looking at the TV, I no longer have the desire to watch it. By not window shopping or browsing store ads, I do not wish for better things than I have. I honestly appreciate what I have. By not comparing my stuff to my neighbor's or friend's, I do not feel envious. I am so content with what I have and what I don't have that the feeling it gives me is that of delight. I am lifted by having less. I am free to enjoy the good things God gives me each day. I see things so much more clearly now that I have been in these places. I see what matters. It reminds me of King Solomon who in his time sought every pleasure in the world and discovered that it was all like chasing the wind. He was never satisfied though he was extremely wealthy and could get everything he wanted.

I ask you this: are you too set in your ways to learn from life? Are you too wise to be humbled? If you empty yourself of all that you have what do you have left? Job in the bible lost all that he owned, he lost everything he loved including his family. He never turned his face from God though. He knew who was more important than life itself. Today, I am reflecting on these people in the bible who have forged the Way before me. I am living and learning to listen to the voice of God in every circumstance.

Today I set my eyes clear on Jesus to let God's light in. My heart is full of Joy because the darkness has no place in my heart.

Contentment at it's best is so beautiful.

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