contentment in the new year ID-10051979 (1)

The New Year brings in a sense of fresh starts, vision and enthusiasm for setting goals and making change.  But unless we start with a heart of thankfulness we end up striving and stressing about all the things that aren’t right in our lives.

Before we set goals for the New Year please consider:

  • What you have, and be thankful
  • Where you have come from, and what has happened in the last year, be mindful
  • Whose standard of success are you basing your goals on – For example, the world we live in promotes success in terms of promotion, money and stuff – God sees success in terms of relationships. Define your value of success before you set goals.
  • Which season of life you are in – be honest about the constraints and opportunities of this season. Resist the temptation to look over the fence and wish for or focus on a past or future season.

I saw this meme on my facebook page and it made me think:

contentment

http://www.becomingminimalist.com/

 

I want to be in a place of contentment before I start planning my goals for the New Year.

Often when we consider contentment we seem to equate it with accepting where we are at and we use it as a premise for things to stay as they are.  This is actually complacency – and that is a very debilitating state to be in – we lose vision, purpose, and energy.  We are wired to reflect God – and through the Fall that desire has been twisted and depleted, but as a redeemed person we walk towards that every day.  When we choose to settle at where we are at (under the guise of contentment) then we limit the change that God desires for us.

So how do we change and yet still be content?

To find this balance we need to have a better understanding of what contentment is.  Contentment is an inner peace regardless of the circumstances, a serenity, a sense of being happy.

Paul said: “… for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” Phil 4:11b

As a Christian I have to ask myself, am I happy because of externals, or am I happy because of inner peace – peace with God, with myself and with my neighbour.  Is my happiness dependent on the externals in my life: my weight or fitness, the order of my house, my schedule, my income, my abilities?  If I lost the ability to grow in any one of these areas would I be content?  Would I have an inner peace and happiness?  Tough questions.  I’d like to say yes, but to be honest, I don’t know.

Paul goes on to say that his secret is in depending on Jesus – who gives him strength.  (Phil 4:13)

v.19  My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Our understanding of what we ‘need’ is out of whack.  We live in a materialistic world. My contentment won’t come out of working hard, being committed, consistently working on my goals.  Yes, I will have a sense of achievement, and that is a good thing, a healthy thing.  But at the heart of it, if I am not at peace with God, I have gained nothing.  What we truly need is contentment –  to be at peace regardless of my circumstances.  I believe God’s riches are great enough to meet my need.

I am reminded of a song that is a part of our kids’ childhood:  Colin Buchanan’s Greatest Treasure

Yeah the greatest treasure in the whole wide world is peace with God

Yeah the greatest treasure in the whole wide world is peace with God
It’s the only treasure that will never fade
Even death can’t take it away
Yeah the greatest treasure in the whole wide world is peace with God

You can live for happiness or live for stuff but its all gonna fade away
Never ever feel like you’ve got enough but its all gonna fade away
The greatest toys that money can buy its all gonna fade away

Yeah the greatest treasure in the whole wide world is peace with God
Yeah the greatest treasure in the whole wide world is peace with God
It’s the only treasure that will never fade
Even death can’t take it away
Yeah the greatest treasure in the whole wide world is peace with God

What if the world makes you a star? Well it’s all gonna fade away
The biggest house and the flashiest car, it’s all gonna fade away
Earthly treasures like the morning mist are all gonna fade away

Yeah the greatest treasure in the whole wide world is peace with God
Yeah the greatest treasure in the whole wide world is peace with God
It’s the only treasure that will never fade
Even death can’t take it away
Yeah the greatest treasure in the whole wide world is peace with God
Yeah the greatest treasure in the whole wide world is peace with God

 

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