Are you like me? Do you get so stressed that you want to say “Screw it all, I don’t want to deal with….” I could fill in the blank with so many things. I am too stressed to deal with school, housework, my gym goals, getting the oil changed... I mean my list goes on and on about the things that I am stressed about.
So, let’s talk about last Monday at Starbucks. All I wanted to do was sulk in self-pity about how my Chai Tea Latte is a little watered down and that I didn’t get a table by an outlet. My laptop was at 74%. I mean clearly I was in trouble…
Then I sat down to write a blog post about how to eat healthy during a busy week and I glanced over at a table next to me and saw a homeless woman drinking a simple cup of coffee bought for her by the Starbucks staff. And she was reading her Bible… (Conviction). And then a homeless man walked in and she greeted him warmly. He announced to her with pride that he collected enough water bottles to pay child support and that someone gave him a $5 Starbucks card to buy coffee and a bagel. After he grabbed his coffee, she quietly read her bible to him. (Ugh!)
Okay… that’s cool… God, I wanted to sulk about how hard my life is and how much I just want a vacation. Maybe somewhere on a beach with a Pina Colada in hand where I can just watch countless sunsets. But instead, I sat there watching people who struggle to pay for meals and collect water bottles for child support laugh and rejoice about how good God is for providing. In that moment I was reminded of how selfish and pathetic I am for complaining about such trivial things.
Philippians 1:4 “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.”
As I sat there in all of my conviction listening to these two strangers talk I overheard this verse. And then I heard them ask this simple question. “How do you find contentment in your circumstance?” (Okay God, I get it..)
I am reminded that contentment is something that we have to choose every day. It is so easy for me to get caught up in the negative and forget that all of my needs are provided for. I do not need more.
I made a list of 5 things I do every morning to feel content in my life:
#1. Make a List – I love lists! They make me feel productive. As soon as I wake up in the morning, I set my timer for 3 minutes and make a list of everything I am grateful for that morning. Some mornings there are so many things to be thankful for, other mornings I write: my pillow, the sheets, sleep. And even though the list is short and clearly directed at my longing to be asleep, I am reminded that they are a luxury for some. I have reasons to be thankful.
#2. Give a hug – Sometimes I give a hug to my handsome, half-awake husband. Other times I hug our cat who is even less of a morning person than I am. Regardless, the important thing is that every morning I hug someone and tell them that I love them. Reminding someone else that they are valued and loved gives me a feeling of purpose. It reminds me that my actions have an impact on others. There is something so powerful about giving to others, I am not sure what it is… but it takes my mind off of myself and I think of others. I have an impact on others.
#3. No social media – I try to avoid social media before 8 am. This has helped me have more productive mornings, When I spend too much time on Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter, I start comparing myself to others and nit picking at myself. So I stay away from it, especially when I am feeling self-loathe-y. I am more productive.
#4. Eat Breakfast – I have noticed that when I am hungry, I am even more prone to wallowing in self-pity and complaining. I get selfish and hangry! When I have reached the hangry stage, I am not the most fun person to be around, but I mean who is? (Right? I am not alone in that… Am I?) Eating breakfast gives me a moment to slow down my morning and also time to relax and reflect. I am able to start the day on a full stomach! This alone can change my mood. I choose a breakfast that I am excited about! I am full and ready to start the day.
#5. Open the curtains – There is something so energizing and joyful about seeing the first rays of sun peek into my living room. Seeing a beautiful sunrise and feeling the warmth on my skin. It is a new day. A clean start. No matter what yesterday looked like, I have the opportunity to do anything I want with this new day. I think so often we neglect the idea that a new day is a new start. With that we hold on to the frustrations of yesterday and let that cause frustration, self-pity and resentment. I have a new day, another chance.
Do you feel frustrated and unhappy with the little things? Are you overwhelmed with life’s daily struggles? I get that. My list doesn’t erase things like bills, school stress, a frustrating boss, or your dad’s cancer. But it can help change your mood and your outlook like it has mine. Proverbs 15:13 says, “A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.”
Is your spirit broken?
I know mine is more often than I would like. But when I remember that God meets my needs, not my wants, then I can be thankful and content. I would love to know how you find contentment in your life! Do you do something that I don’t? What is it? How has it helped you?
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