How to Be Content with What You Have: 6 Strategies that Work


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how to be content with what you have

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.

1 Timothy 6:6-7 decorative verse card Hebrews 13:5 decorative verse card

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?

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Comments

  1. Eliza says:

    I found this older post on pinterest, and it is one of my favourites from your blog! Learning to be content with what the Lord has provided for me and my family is definitely an ongoing struggle, especially in this consumer driven society! I have been working on encouraging a heart of gratitude in myself and also in my son, one way I heard about recently was that if we are going to compare ourselves to someone who has more, we also need to compare ourselves to someone who has less. It’s only fair. So far, this has been working with my 10yo, he has been thinking a bit more carefully about despairing because he doesn’t have *insert whatever thing is currently longed for*, when we turn our attention to all the things that we DO have, we really are very blessed.

    • That is so great Eliza! I am amazed how much I still struggle with contentment, but yet it is SO key to living a fulfilling life on this earth… far more key than actually having *insert the thing.* 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  2. Michelle says:

    Ultimately our contentment needs to come from The Lord. It truly is a heart issue as you said! He is the only One who can give us that rich, deep heart of contentment.

    I would also add to your list confession and asking for forgiveness….speaking from experience. A few years back a family member that is younger than my husband and I built their second house. It was beautiful! After visiting their home I was so discontented with the home The Lord had provided for us (we have rented a beautiful home our whole married life) and thought maybe if we did different things to our home it would be nicer. After a week or two of really meditating and letting it consume my thoughts I confessed. It was so freeing! I am so thankful for the beautiful home The Lord has provided for us these last 11 years! Renting vs owning has not been a issue for me personally, but it was “what they have is more beautiful than what we have” heart that was the issue. Pinterest can be the same way if I’m not careful. Dreams and desires are ok, as long as the heart is right and it doesn’t become a idol and sinful.

    PS: After a long summer of searching The Lord has provided a Beautiful, Over the Top Blessing of a Home for us to purchase! We will be moving next month 🙂

  3. Heather says:

    #1, #2, and #4 are my favorites. I am reading Ann’s devotional for the second time and it really is a mind and heart changer. Gratitude changes our perspective, our heart, and our words. These are the things that create, not just contentment, but true joy. Thank you for this post, Katie!

  4. Nikki says:

    Oh, my! Katie, this is EXACTLY what has been on my heart lately! We were shopping for new tennis shoes for my son the other day, and while at the mall, I kept praying. I was feeling so yucky inside because I couldn’t shop the way I wanted to shop-I could ONLY buy shoes, and I WANTED more! I’m working hard on being content. I absolutely love this post as it’s right in tune with the lesson I am currently learning! 🙂 Thank you!!!

  5. Alysha says:

    Hi Katie, I just wanted to say thank you for this post. I want to shout a loud, “YES!” to all of these points. I am a firm believer in striving for contentment after losing my husband to cancer. As a newly formed family of three we chose to redefine our priorities and take consumerism out of the mix which has resulted in much richer interactions and deeper relationships. I specifically love your #6. Thanks again for sharing! I’ll be following your blog from now on.

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