Sunday, October 28, 2012

Choosing Contentment

When I lived in Southern California, we attended Mariners Church for many years.  Every year, the senior pastor, Kenton Beshore, gave a nearly identical sermon the Sunday before Thanksgiving. 
Each year, he talked about contentment as the feeling of wanting what you have and no more.   
Each year, Kenton would have us say aloud phrases like, “I love my car, it couldn’t be better.”  “I love my husband, he couldn’t be better.”  “I love my kids, they couldn’t be better.” 
Thanksgiving 2009, the request to repeat those things felt particularly silly and dishonest.  Of course my car, husband and kids could be better!  My car had dings and dents and many thousand miles on it.  My husband snored and doesn’t always do his fair share of chores.  My daughter, then a baby, had colic and reflux and rarely slept for more than an hour at a time unless I held her.
But I said the phrases anyway.  To my surprise, hearing myself say them did something in my heart.  It changed my focus from how the car, my husband and my daughter could be better to the simple fact that I had them at all. 
I had a vehicle that was only a few years old and reliably got me from point A to point B, with good gas mileage to boot.  I have a living, loving husband who loves the Lord and is a good father.  My daughter is a spunky individual whom I have the privilege to raise and watch grow into the person God created her to be. 
The exercise illustrated to me how much gratitude and contentment are an act of will, attitudes I can put on like a garment.  And like getting dressed, it’s something I need to practice daily lest resentment and discontent creep in.
The car I had in 2009 was totaled and replaced with an even older van.  My husband still snores and skips some chores.  My now four year old daughter still wakes up at night.  But this fall, I’m still choosing to say, “I love them, they couldn’t be better.” 
How about you?  About what in your life do you need to stop and say, “I love this, it couldn’t be better?

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