There’s only one good way to live life, and that is with contentment. What you have or don’t have ultimately doesn’t determine the quality of your days or the satisfaction you feel, the state of your heart does.
A quick study of the Bible’s references to contentment illustrate that it is a discipline, not an accident. It is a life-giving, intentional choice. Philippains 4:11-12
So how does one become content when constantly bombarded with all kinds of propaganda telling us we need more?
Here are six strategies, inspired by my own journey to contentment, for being content with what you have.
6 Strategies for Learning to Be Content with What You Have
1. Memorize a Bible verse or two.
Meditating on truth has otherworldly power to change our hearts. If you want contentment in your life, this is where you start.
Here are two verses that I have memorized and found very helpful in sowing contentment deeply into my heart.
For printable versions of these verse cards click here.
2. Don’t Complain.
I’ve noticed that the words I say influence my attitude. If I let myself complain, I’ll become more and more unsatisfied and discontent. If I control my tongue and choose thankful and gracious words, my heart eventually is trained by them.
Swallowing words you want to say takes tremendous self-control, but opens the door for so many good things.
“Do everything without complaining and arguing so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. ” Philippians 2:14
3. Take a break from shopping.
Over the past few years I’ve been on a involuntary shopping break. Because my husband and I decided I would stop working to be at home full-time with our kids, our budget has not allowed for extra shopping. Many months, not one penny. No garage sales, no thrift stores, nothing.
And I am so incredibly thankful for this season! I have had unimaginable breakthroughs in the area of contentment, and I have been forced to totally retrain my thinking. I have learned to better assess my own needs.
If you struggle with contentment, I suggest setting a time frame and putting yourself on a strict shopping break. Perhaps a month? For more ideas and support in this area, check out 31 Days of Living Well and Spending Zero.
4. Start a thankfulness journal.
I am currently reading a book by Ann Voskamp called One Thousand Gifts that has led me to do just that. My thankfulness journal is comprised of a running list of gifts God has given me. Simple things. It is refreshing on so many levels and has definitely cultivated an heart of contentment in me.
5. Declutter your mind by eliminating propaganda.
This may be things like TV, reading that fashion blog, popping into your favorite stores just to look, or window shopping online. Buying things isn’t inherently bad, and it is necessary at times, but the process can be a big enemy of contentment if not controlled.
I know that I am influenced by hype. Seeing and thinking about all the latest “whatever” causes me to want it and think I should have it. So, avoiding browsing stores and the lovely internet shopping world has gone a long way in freeing me (truly how it feels) to be content with what I have.
6. Have fun being with people.
If contentment with possessions is a struggle for you, perhaps you’re not enjoying the people in your life enough? Try planning a fun date with your husband or picnic with your kids. Or have your friends over and grill out or play games. Rediscover the fun of community and relationships, and be reminded that “more stuff” truly does not bring more happiness.
How do you cultivate contentment in your own life?