Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Out with the old, in with the new!

I think instead of writing a long list of New Year's resolutions this year, the only thing I am going to resolve to do is try to be content - with my physical self and with my life.

I know that's easier said than done, but I think the value I gain from contentment on earth will be far more rewarding that any 10 pound weight loss!

I received the text below in an email that I get every morning from Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church and author of The Purpose Driven Life. I thought it was perfect reading as we ring out the old year and ring in the new.

Lessons in Contentment

by Rick Warren

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Philippians 4:11 (NIV)
Here are four steps to develop contentment in your life.

1. Stop comparing yourself to others. When you compare your life with someone else’s, the only place it can lead is toward discontentment. There will always be people who appear to be better off than you, but you don't know their real circumstances.

I recall counseling a husband many years ago, and he said he wished his wife could be more like so-and-so, and he named a woman in our congregation. What he didn't know is that the woman was a functioning alcoholic causing incredible heartache and stress for her family and for her husband. That's why the Bible teaches it is unwise to compare (2 Corinthians 10:12).

2. Be grateful for who you are and what you have. Learning to be content requires that you stop any "when and then" thinking. When I am ___________, then I'll be happy.” (You fill in the blank.)

The reason we fall into this trap is that we may actually be content for a little while but it won't last. But, more than likely, someone else or something else will come along and drain the contentment from your life.

But listen, you are unique. God created you to be like nobody else, so why would you want to be anyone else. God is perfect, and you were his perfect choice to be you. Understanding that is a huge step toward being content with your life.

And then look at all the things God has given you. So often we allow what we don't have to so dominate our focus that we forget the many wonderful things we already have, not only material blessing, but far more important things, such as family and friends.

3. Give yourself to others. If you will begin giving yourself to others, sharing what things you do have, sharing your time and your talents, you will find yourself learning to be content. Helping others will give you an appreciation for what you have and who you are, but more importantly, you will find yourself growing content. Why? Because God designed us to serve and share with others, and until we do that, we will feel great discontent.

4. Focus on things with eternal value. The real secret to becoming content is to focus on the things that have eternal value. It may be a familiar teaching to you, but Jesus said we should store up our treasures in heaven, and not on earth where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-21 NIV).

Think about the things in your life: What will last forever? What will last at least for your lifetime? What will last a few short years, or months, or days? Based on eternal value, what things are most important in your life? Where and with whom should you put your most time and energy?

By re-organizing your life around eternal priorities, you'll find yourself growing in contentment as you live according to God's design and purpose

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Mari said...

I enjoyed that reading. Those are good things to apply as we start the new year. Happy New Year to you!

Lee and Beth said...

Thanks so much for that, Beth. I was having a hard day of being discontent and grumpy, and that sure helped a lot. Hope you have a great new year!

Michelle said...

You know Beth......Sometimes you just hit me right between the eyeballs. What a perfect post.

I saw that you visited my blog and Thank You so much for your prayers. You are absolutely right, God is the healer. With so many people praying, I know.

May you have your own amazing revelations tonight.

Much love,


Denise said...

Happy New Year sweetie.

He And Me + 3 said...

I need help in that area...just being content, but I am working on it. Great post!

Christina said...

Awesome. I love Pastor Warren and am reading the Purpose Driven life again right now. I am also awaiting the library copy of his new book about Christmas. I am going to sign up for his e-mail list.

I like your resolution. It's only one, but boy is it a good one.

Happy New Year to you and your family.

RR Mama said...

Happy New Year Beth! I loved what you posted so much I printed it out and have it on my fridge.

Rebekah said...

Happy New Year.

Very good post. The last two years I have gotten daily e-mails from Joel Olsteen. I think this year I will subscribe to Rick Warren. (mix it up a little)

Ann(ie) said...
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Lisa said...

Beth that is an awesome post. I need to check out that book, I have not read it yet but there are areas you mentioned that I see myself. I am posting a Miracle Monday for tomorrow, God has really been working in my life and I just have to blog about it.

Heather said...

Great list, and very timely. Thanks for sharing.

Jaina said...

I think that's a great goal. What more do you need than contentment? Thanks for sharing that email. :)

Kim said...

Enjoyed this post, very encouraging. Thanks for sharing.

Jewel said...

What a timely post, Beth! I really needed to be reminded of this. I do need to lose some weight...well, I'm not sure according to who....but I can wear the clothes that I have and I love them and if I lost much weight I wouldn't be able to wear them! How awful would that be? *smile*

Amy said...

Hi, Beth! I found you through Julie at Inmates. Great post--thank you for sharing this article.

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

great message!

Sunflowermommie said...

I loved that post! It fits right in with things God has already been showing me.

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