Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Learning Contentment

image found here
Something strange has been happening over the last few months. I have been yearning for my 'dream house' less and appreciating our imperfect, little house more.

I think I was first concious of this shift back when we had to vacate our house for two nights while my husband was deer hunting. Our carbon monoxide detector kept going off, we couldn't figure out why, and so to be safe we spent one night with my in-law's and one night at my parent's house.

I just wanted to be home. And, when we came back home it felt so good.

The other time I noticed a shift in my thinking was shortly after this. I love to check out real estate listings for our area on-line. I've always been fascinated by houses & love to see what the insides of other houses look like. The real estate site I go to lists the houses details, along with pictures or a virtual tour. It's kinda addicting.

I would go to this site, type in a search listing all the things on my wish list, and see what came up. Then I'd find myself wishing we were in a position to buy another place NOW.

But more recently, when I'd go to this site and try to imagine our family in some of these houses, and imagine what it would be like to leave THIS house, our home, I just felt a little sad.

And, here's the other shift. Lately, instead of seeing and lamenting all the glaring imperfections of our house, I've been noticing it's charm. And, most of the charm comes from watching my boys interact in our house. This is the only home any of them have ever known.

When I was at my parent's house over the holidays I was thinking about how as a child I don't ever remember wishing we had a bigger or nicer house. My parents have a very modest rancher style home. And, to me it was always just home.

In the same way, my boys don't care that our house doesn't meet the 'standards' of this society and culture. To them, it's just home.

Another thing that really struck me was when Dwyanna from Sugar and Spice posted pictures from the little town near where she and her husband live in Guatemala. Take a look at these pictures if you have a minute or two. It's all about perspective. Much of that town is living in houses smaller than the average American bedroom. By American standards my house is small, substandard. By that town's standards my house is luxurious.

Finally, I've been really convicted by this thought. How ungrateful and selfish of me to whine or complain about the home God has given us! How would I react if one of my children told me a gift that I had given them wasn't good enough? What if all I heard was how they wanted something different, bigger, better? Isn't this exactly what I've been doing to God?

It could be that someday God might have that stone farmhouse on acreage in a quiet, serene area in store for us. Or not. I don't know. But, I need to care for, appreciate, and be a good steward of what He's given us now. Because, if I can't learn contentment now, it won't matter where we are discontentment will follow.


  1. I've been experiencing something very similar recently! There are things about our very old house that we wish were different- particularly the way we heat. This and other reasons have lead us to dream off and on about one day building a house. But, like you, lately I've felt the urge to stay and make due and try to make it more of what we want. It would save us lots of money to stay and how can I be ungrateful for what we have? I think we've just formed our own little support group: Those That Wanted to Move and Now Wish to Stay and Make Do:-). I'm happy you've found some peace as well.

  2. Thank-you for posting this! I think all of us go through this! We're currently building our house, so I am living in a one room and a bathroom house...it's hard to be content at times, but I am so thankful for what we do have! Thank-your for the reminder!

  3. This is so true, in many areas of life (at least in many areas of my life!). I love to peruse online clearance clothing racks and usually come up with all sorts of items I just can't live without... except I'd been living just fine without them until I saw them! It wasn't until I looked that I was discontent with what I had. So awhile back I decided to just stop looking, because every time I did I felt unsatisfied with what I already had. And you know what? I feel so much more content! You're absolutely right that we should be focusing on God's good blessings to us rather than on what others have or what we don't have. Thanks for this reminder!

  4. This is a great perspective check. I've actually spent a little time pondering this exact concept--learning contentment. It's hard.
    Thanks for reminding me that it's important.

  5. This is a wonderful reminder. Being content can at times be a challenge. We're always told to strive for more, to be better, to have it all. Sometimes it's okay to be happy with who and what we are. Thanks!

  6. I couldn't agree more! Thanks for the great reminder.

  7. So true. I lived in an apartment my whole life until I got married and I do kind of remember wishing for a house but home was always with my mom and I was never ashamed of our apartment(s) or any of that. I know what you mean, sometimes being away makes it all come into perspective. By the way, I plan on posting the tortellini recipe, thanks for requesting it. Have a great day.

  8. I was here hanging out at your blog tonight, playing catch up! I love this post! It reminds me to be thankful for what I do have!!Something I have been working on for awhile, to be thankful for what I do have and not to focus on what I don't have! I agree the little houses in the village also keep me reminded that I have so much!


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