CONTENT: adj. in a state of peaceful happiness
In our world today, the idea of being truly content seems like a myth. With Photoshop and Pinterest perfection, the bar of how we should live, look, and act has been set to an unattainable level. That may sound like a crazy assertion, but the internet has completely shaped the way we see the world. We can’t just live our lives anymore. We have to post about them. It’s an endless rat race that I all too often question whether or not I’m in.
The world says…
Before we can share our lives on social media, we have to edit our photos. The natural lighting may be off-putting to followers. And don’t forget a clever caption, otherwise you’re committing social media suicide. And if you don’t have enough followers, you can always just buy them. And last but not least, never post about emotional, political, or personal issues. It won’t perform as well.
What a crazy world we live in! No wonder we’re all struggling with the comparison game. Our lives are constantly being held under a microscope. So amidst the constant noise and impossible standards, how can we seek after a contented heart? How can that possibly be attainable? I’ll tell you!
1. Quit Comparing Your Journey to Someone Else’s
Can I get an amen?!?! How many times in the past week have you compared yourself to someone else? Heck, how many times have you compared yourself to someone else today? Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and I think he really nailed that truth. When we being to compare and contrast our journey with another individual’s, nothing good will come of it. Quit using the accomplishments, appearances, and timelines of others as a barometer for your own journey. YOU were fearfully and wonderfully made to be you!
2. Celebrate Your Life
Can you think of a couple positive affirmations about yourself? Or maybe, ask the Lord to reveal a couple of positive affirmations that he can speak over you. Then, meditate on them and let them sink into your heart and mind! Maybe you’re alive, healthy, encouraging, courageous, loved, or joy-filled. Whatever the case, celebrate what you as an individual bring to the table. Celebrate what God has equipped you for in this life. You may not be able to run a half marathon or be the mom of 5 kids, but I’ll bet the Lord has blessed you with specific giftings that you alone were made for. Give thanks and celebrate the ways in which God has created you uniquely for the season you are placed in. As Jess Connolly would say, “You are the girl for the job!”
3. Prioritize Peace and Rest
Sometimes seeking after a contented heart isn’t possible, because we’re listening to too much noise. Each day, we intake information at a rapid pace. We are in constant communication by way of email, text messaging, phone calls, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and the like. But amidst all the “breaking news” and notifications, we HAVE to prioritize peace and rest. Reading, meditating, and quieting your mind are essential practices for finding contentment. Why? Because when our minds are at peace, our hearts will follow suit. It’s not healthy or wise to be in round-the-clock communication. So put down your phone, go for a walk, read a book, talk to God, take a nap, just do something that doesn’t require connection with the world 24-7. I promise you that stepping away from your phone or technology for a short hiatus can bring a refreshing sense of peace and rest.
4. Step Outside Yourself
According to Dale Carnegie, the author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, we spend 95% of our time thinking about ourselves and our own story. So the majority of my time and energy is put into taking care of ME ME ME. But what if we flipped the focus on those around us? What if we sought after the welfare of others above ourselves? Maybe it would allow us to stop being so concerned about what people thought of us. And who cares what the world thinks of us, as long as we are doing the will of God? Like the old saying goes, “It is better to give than to receive.” We are better friends, neighbors, and family members when we think outside of ourselves. And when we center our focus on others, we subsequently will find deeper contentment in our own life and circumstances. Sounds like a win-win to me!