Has it just seemed that when you have contentment in your sights that it just zips away, never to actually be realized?
It may seem like you are playing a game with contentment. Sort of like basketball. You think I'll go left and I go right. You go right and I'll lean left and the opportunity for you to get the ball seems like an illusion.
Contentment is the fundamental pursuit in each area of life. We want to get the house painted or our certification completed or the kids grown or something that we are convinced will enable us to finally be content. We may constantly hold a belief when we get to this place or that situation happens or this is complete, we will find contentment waiting like a supportive friend.
The problem with that thinking is that is always future-focused. And that makes it elusive. Because the future will always be... the future, and not the present.
So, how do we find and enjoy contentment here and now, where we live?
It is really a condition of our inner person. Sort of an at-peace-with-me feeling. It is also a foundation to enjoying life and being intentional in the moment. Can it be done? If so, how?
Practice delaying gratification. Yes, you can do it! When you consider making a purchase, use patience and consider postponing the ones that are simply for convenience. If you end up purchasing the item later, it will be well thought out. If not, you’ll be happier to have saved the time and money. To the one whom much is given, much is required.
Make a focused effort to remain inspired and to be inspiring. Spend some time each day reading something from the Bible, an inspirational author, or other areas of interest. Spend some time several times each week journaling about experiences you have or about things you've gleaned from what you read, personal encounters you've had, a movie you've watched or perhaps something that came to mind while you were in the shower. You will be amazed at how you can gain such positive perspective from your quiet times. Invest in others by offering an encouraging word in the way of a note, text or call to them when they are working on a particular event or endeavor or are facing a personal trial. Research has shown that our happiness is much more about how we treat others, than even how we are treated by others. Truly, it is more blessed to give than to receive.
Unplug from the technology of life and plug in to the simpler paths. Change gears for half an hour each day by taking a walk or a bubble bath. Find a neat little hobby such as painting or woodworking or gardening that you can enjoy and de-stress from the working hours in your day. Write a blog — oh, I resemble that! — on something that you have learned in an effort to enlighten others and to reflect back on in the future. Create some new plans or adventures trying some things you may have never done. You may find a new and better lifestyle that fits who you are in the current season of life that you are in.
Get a mentor – be a mentor. Spend time with people you admire and learn about their lives and interests. They can be living instructional aids to learning how to do things in a different, possibly, more efficient way. Find ways that you can share things with those who can gain a lot by your experiences or teach a class that will be beneficial to others who may not have had all of your experiences . Show appreciation for what you learn and for the opportunity to share. I especially enjoy spending time with young children and mature adults. The wealth of information and the creativity amuse and inspire me.
Reach out and get to know a neighbor at home or work. Don’t worry, if you’re the new-bee you can still take the initiative. Every friend we have was once a stranger. Be observant in watching for common interests. Maybe you both have kids the same age, have dogs to walk, or at work, someone who goes to lunch at the same time as you. When we consider what the feeling of 'home' is like, it has as much to do with the community where we live as the actual home we live in. It's wonderful to have the neighbors and friends that check in with you if they notice things that are out of your normal routine of coming and going. Host a night of dinner and games or even a neighborhood clean-up. It will radically increase your feelings of connectedness and the contentment of knowing you can make a difference right where you are.
Practice learning to be a great listener. By doing so, you will learn the true art of emotional intelligence and the high quality of “likeability”. When you work to listen to others at deeper levels, you communicate to them that you place high value on them and the time they spend with you. You will also learn how to take the focus off of your own issues and personal challenges and be an encourager to others. This goes a long way in developing strong friendships. And, when you build relational capital by listening, you may very well find that you have a great friend and listening ear in place when you are in need of sharing your heart.
Practice these steps on a regular basis for 30 days and judge for yourself if you don’t have a life that can be defined as being more content. And the good news is that if you are around people who are discontent, you may be the one to influence them to a more positive stance.
The one you encourage today, may be YOU!
Until next time....
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Sheri Geyer is a Relationship Coach for Christian Women*
*And women seeking to learn more about a relationship with Jesus Christ!
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