It started with Minimalism
I recently watched a documentary on Netflix called Minimalism which definitely deserves a standing ovation. The documentary focuses on living a more meaningful life with less possessions and consciously choosing possessions we really need instead of what we want or see other people possessing. Through living a life of minimalism we can have more freedom and more happiness. This is opposite to the current cultural belief that having more material possessions will make us happy. The drive to happiness leads us to buy more things but does not often result in happiness.
I totally resonated with this documentary and minimalism. From my own life experiences I know more possessions do not make me happier. I have set many goals in my life or have found my self saying when I make this amount of money or reach this goal my life will be so much more better, yet I was still not happy when I achieved my personal life goals. I began to accept and understand why happiness is not obtainable through goals and material possessions.
Why Happiness is Not Obtainable Through Goals & Material Possessions
Happiness is a feeling. Our feelings change moment by moment and we will always experience a variety of feelings. Therefore, we will not be happy all the time. Even when you have a six figure salary, get married, travel the world, or buy a house, you are STILL going to experience sadness, anger, fear, anxiety, frustration etc. Continue reading
I recently read a book called “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment” by Jeremiah Burroughs. This is a powerful book, that helps a Christian understand how to be content regardless of their circumstances. As mention by Paul in Philippians 4:11-12 he was content in a low or a high position. “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (NIV). I have wondered how this was possible. How could you possibly be content when you are hunger?
This book provides an understanding of why a Christian should be content no matter the circumstances and how a Christian can be content. I will share some of the points that spoke to me personally. However I do recommend reading the book to develop further understanding of Christian contentment.
Burroughs states “Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition” (p. 19).
- A Christian can be content because they are in covenant with God. God’s promises are true. He is not a man, therefore, He cannot lie. In other words as a Christian we are covered!
- God’s mercy is greater than our affliction. The Grace of God and salvation alone is greater than any affliction! Think about God’s mercy that are new each day! This far outweighs your affliction.
- Jesus takes the venom out of affliction. Therefore, all the affliction a Christian encounters is less impactful because of the sacrifice Jesus made.
- A Christian is content because they can read the Bible as an inheritances, whilst a carnal heart reads the Bible as stories.
- If you can only be content with desires and not the present when will you be content?
- When you are content you no longer chase after people, places or things thinking they will bring contentment.
- There is beauty and strength in the grace of contentment. A Christian content in affliction is beauty, because it shows the glory of God.
- A heart that is not content is able to be tempted. A discontented Christian may search for people, places, or things they feel will bring contentment.
- Burroughs states “When we are strangers to our own hearts we are powerfully discontented, and do not know how to quiet ourselves, because we do not know wherein the disquiet lies, but if we are very well versed in our own hearts, when anything happens to unsettle us, we soon find out the cause of it, and so quickly become quiet” (p. 100).
- Contentment is when a Christian merges their will with God’s will.
- Unthankfulness is a discontented heart. It equates to saying, all that God has given me is worthless. Consequently, continually being thankful brings contentment.
- A discontented Christian can become envious of what others have.
- A Christian can only receive from God when they are quiet and resting. For example, if a child is having a tantrum, the parent can only effectively speak to the child when they calm down. A Christians’s strength is to sit still.
Steps to Contentment
- Make a list of God’s mercy and a list of your affliction. Compare the lit and not your thoughts
- Focus on being thankful for the next 30 days and write down what you are thankful for.
- Focus on being mindful, by enjoying the present moment you are in, not the next 10 minutes or the day’s agenda.
I pray this helps you on your journey of contentment, where joy is overflowing. I am on this same journey with you!