It’s often when our budget is the tightest that these small thoughts starts to creep into my mind: “Gosh, I wish my house looked like ____ (fill in the blank with whomever’s house I have most recently visited)”, or “I have nothing to wear”, or “I know we don’t have the money, but I just need to buy ____”.
There is something so intrinsically human about wanting what we cannot have. It’s as if once a limit has been established (such as setting a budget), that our desires suddenly morph from a mild-mannered whisper in the back of our minds, into a frantic, high-pitched demand that must be met.
Establishing a strict budget or limitation seems to be one of the ways in which God deals with the discontentment that always seems to be lurking in my heart. And this month is no exception.
I must admit that as soon as we had decided together that we would do this financial fast for the month of November, my thoughts went into high gear, transferring all of the low-priority items that I thought we may like to get at some point into immediate must-haves.
So how can I practice contentment these days?
- By reminding myself of the bounty with which I have been blessed- there is nothing like purposeful gratefulness to ease the covetousness and materialism in my heart
- By taking stock of what I already have- rooting through my pantry and freezer for hidden jackpots, sorting through the bags of the next-size-up clothes that I’ve accumulated for my children, re-organizing my closet and remembering clothes that I don’t frequently wear
- By doing something special- baking a favorite treat or dessert, creating a candlelit meal for my family, surprising my children or husband with a card or a date, inviting friends over for a fun-filled night
- By rearranging and redecorating- there’s nothing like moving furniture around, or coming up with a new arrangement on your fireplace mantel. Perhaps you’re like me and you stash away decorating items and forget that you even have them- go look in the backs of your closets and in your crawl space and see what treasures you come up with!
- By de-cluttering- just cleaning, organizing or simplifying can have such a satisfying effect on me, and a very pleasing effect on my house
- By serving others- nothing else has quite the power to help me take my eyes off of myself like focusing on the needs of another
And most of all, by remembering what Christ has done for me. When I am daily preaching the Gospel to myself, and reminding myself of the price that was paid for me, a wretched sinner, and of the righteousness that has been bought for me, I can scarcely remain dissatisfied.