31 Days of Journaling Prompts: Contentment

Day 28: Contentment

So far I’ve been ahead of the game with having my entries ready to post at midnight every night. Yesterday’s post was about Excuses, and yesterday was the first day that I didn’t have the next day’s entry already written. I could give some valid reasons as to why that happened, but in reality they’d just be excuses. It’s really as simple as saying that living life came first.

Contentment is a difficult topic for me because it’s something that I struggle with daily. I frequently fall victim to thinking that the grass is greener on the other side, there’s something I’d rather have or I wish, I wish, I wish… Seriously, it’s pretty bad. To be honest, when I got to today’s topic, I admit that I dreaded writing about it, because of how bad it can be for me. However, I know that I am not alone.

I’ve been reading (off and on), a book entitled, Calm My Anxious Heart, by Linda Dillow. I started reading it with a few other bloggers but quickly fell behind in reading it along with the others. I picked it back up the other day when I was looking over my list of journaling prompts and saw that this day was coming soon. I wanted to feel more prepared to write this entry. In retrospect, it’s probably good that I fell behind in reading, because last night I read some really interesting information about why Americans are so discontent with what we have when we already have so much: marketing and advertising.

While I don’t also want to fall victim to giving excuses, I can definitely see how marketing has targeted us to believe that we need more and more and more. We’re given false hope that happiness can be achieved by what we own, so we continue to accumulate more stuff, only to find that it doesn’t make us any more content, therefore we must buy more. It’s a vicious cycle that is never going to get us anywhere, and it’s certainly never going to make us more content.

The author of the book even goes on to say that she met a family from Poland when Poland was still under communism who asked why Americans need God when we already have so much. Can we say WOW? It was an eye opening experience for me to consider that someone would think that we don’t need God because of material possessions. But truly, isn’t that what we’re striving for even if we don’t realize it? I don’t consciously say to myself that buying things will lessen my need for God, but that’s what I am doing. I need to seek contentment by seeking God and not accumulating possessions.

In addition to marketing and advertising, we also fall victim to comparing ourselves with others. It’s so easy to notice that person who appears to have it all: the great marriage, excellent job, nice car, a beautiful home, perfect kids, and so on. We only see those perfect traits of that apparently contented person and think that if we have all that he or she has, then we’ll be more content just like that. If we just had one of those things…or even all of those things, then life will be perfect, and we’ll never have problems ever. Come on, you know you do it! I do it all the time, and it makes me miss out on the joys of what is in my life that truly make me happy. We can’t see the good stuff in our life when our focus is on what others have. I encourage you to take inventory of what is in your life that leads to contentment and focus on finding your contentment in God and not what you don’t have or what others have.

Do you fall victim to the greener grass of other pastures? What could you do differently to finding contentment than what you’re currently doing? 

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough” ― Oprah Winfrey

“It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.”  ― Dale Carnegie

Read more about the 31 Days of Journaling Prompts
Today’s recommended 31 Day Blogger: 31 Days Away from Comparison Island @ Daily Bread & Butter

Five Minute Friday: Focus

The rules: Write for five minutes. No editing, revising, or over thinking. Just write.

Today’s Topic: Focus

START

Oh, Focus. You and I are but distant acquaintances, not close friends like we should be. I am easily distracted and tend to let my mind wander when I should be focusing.

Just like now.

The more I think about what to write, the less the words come to my head, and then…

Oh, look at that shiny thing over there! I have new mail! There’s a Facebook Notification! I need to check that person’s blog! Oops, I need to pay that bill! When is my next appointment? What should I cook for dinner? I should start on my grocery list!

Yeah, that’s me.

I’m working on it, though. Starting this week, I am following an online Bible study on Contentment that will likely contribute to better Focus. I’m eating better, exercising and living a healthier lifestyle. That’s got to count for something, too! Next I’m going to see about getting more rested sleep or find out what might be causing my restless sleep.

But yes, Focus. See? I almost got off the subject again. It’s a challenge for me!

“We can always choose to perceive things differently. You can focus on what’s wrong in your life, or you can focus on what’s right.” – Marianne Williamson

STOP

Read other Five Minute Friday posts on the topic of ‘Focus’.
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