"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."- Philippians 4:12
I have been thinking a lot about contentment lately. Probably because we are trying to actually stick to a budget these days and really watch where the money goes. It really does open your eyes up to how much frivolous spending goes on without your even realizing it. It's also made me think twice before purchasing something: I'll stop and think, do we really need this? Could we get by without it, or do we have something already at home we could use instead?
A silly example: lotion and body sprays from Bath and Body Works. I have SO much of that stuff, and they are all partially used bottles! Really?? So instead of being drawn in by the latest delicious scent (You know what you're doing, you evil BBW), I'm trying really hard to consider what I already have at home and focus on using that up before I buy more. I mean really, how many bottles of lotion does one girl need anyway?
Or clothes. Clothes are a BIG one for me. I love to just go look at all of the cute clothes, the latest styles and find great deals! But do I really need yet another pair of shorts or pants? Or another pair of heels? Or are the 6 pairs of shorts and who knows how many pairs of shoes I have at home just fine?
That's just a couple of examples, but thinking this way is really making me realize just how much STUFF we have, and how so much of it is unnecessary. So many people in this world survive on the true bare necessities of life, like food, water, shelter. And so many don't even have those.
Now I'm not at all saying that it's bad to have nice things and enjoy the blessings I have, because that's certainly not the case! There is nothing wrong with enjoying a shopping trip and indulging in a treat! But if I'm not careful, I can so easily slip into the mindset of "more stuff, I need MOAR" and feeling like all of these things are something I NEED rather than something that would be nice to have, but it is no way necessary to life, or even necessary to happiness.
In fact, the more I feel that drive to buy, buy, buy, the less true joy I feel. Because those things, while they may provide temporary happiness, don't in any way feed the need for true satisfaction and contentment. They just leave you wanting more.
It's so easy to look at what everyone else has, nicer car, nicer house, nicer clothes, and feel like your missing out on some crucial part of life. But then, are those really the things that make life worth living, the things that make us truly happy?
I'm learning that it comes down to the fact that when you have true peace and joy, you can be content in any situation. Whether you have lots of extra money to buy whatever you want or whether you have just enough to get by.
So instead of feeling frustrated when I want something and it's just not in the budget, I'm going to work on being thankful for the amazing blessings that I already have, both the material blessings and the infinitely more important blessings like love, grace, friendship, peace, and joy.