I can look back at times in my life where I was not content with my circumstances. During these times I would look at people and the culture surrounding me and think if I just had their clothes, car, phone then life would be good. During these times, I worked and focused so much attention on getting what I wanted. The crazy thing wasn’t that I focused on it so much, but that I usually got whatever it was I was pursuing. Living in the American culture, with just a little determination and a decent work ethic, you can pretty much get what you want. Oh, and if you got credit even better, right?!
This past summer, Filipe and I had to decide where we would continue living. We had a two bedroom apartment, but with another baby coming, needed to expand a little. Looking at our options naturally made me think about houses and the possibility of buying again. After only minutes of looking at a newspaper, it was pretty evident it wouldn’t even be a possibility for us right now. We live in one of the most expensive places in the country- I mean really, what does a mortgage on $8K- $1 million even look like?! Something inside of me was feeling a little weird about it, a little depressed even. Our culture pressures us and creates the feeling that buying a house is a basic human right- a financial goal for every growing family. For us, the first five and a half years of our marriage we owned the homes we lived in (two total), and renting felt like we were taking a step backwards- financially speaking.
Over these last few months, God got a hold of me and shifted my thinking. He helped me see that having a house doesn’t really matter- it didn’t equal happiness. My attitude about living has drastically changed, and I have so much peace in our new three bedroom apartment- which is not too shabby I might add! Having a place to live is enough. In fact, it is quite freeing about not having a mortgage or any (ZERO!) debt.
The past couple weeks, I’ve noticed an overwhelming sense of contentment within myself. It’s not something I was necessarily working on, but I think came as an overflow of my relationship with God lately and feeling like my heart is more connected to His. God has blessed our family with more than enough, and I can rejoice in that. Contentment will never come in pursuit of more. A life of contentment is far more enjoyable (and much less stressful) than the constant pursuit of more.
“… 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. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)