Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Secret to Contentment

Seems as if my thoughts lately have not been what I did yesterday or recently but have for the most part been on things, places and people I knew long ago. That's really strange for me since most of the time, I can't remember yesterday, but seems that many years ago comes back to me very vividly. We use to live on a farm not to far from the house I mentioned in my last blog. Obviously, I'm not a farmer, its just too much work involved in farming. My father-in-law's family owned the farm and they had cattle, grew tobacco and raised some corn etc;. However some of the hardest work that I ever assisted in on the farm was when hay was bailed and stacked in the barn. You know hay isn't stacked on the ground, but it's in the very top of the barn, up high and where it's hot. Again, my thoughts come back to me that one day as we were putting hay in the barn, I can remember my father in law telling me to go to the loft and I was to stack the hay neatly and pack it in tight. Well, I'm a banker by trade and choice and not a farmer, but I did the very best I could. I'm not the strongest person in the world and would probably come closer to being one of the weakest when it comes to hard work. Putting hay in the loft of a barn is hard work. I can remember just after unloading a wagon full of hay bales, I just laid down in some of the hay. I was exausted, tired, sore and wishing it was over. However as I laid down in that hay, it felt pretty good, no in fact it felt fantastic. I was in "hay heaven" if you will. It was the most confortable place that I could imagine at that time. I couldn't have ask for a better place to be other than maybe in my own bed, but it was restful. I could even fell a breeze coming through some of the cracks int he side of the barn. This was good. Now, I've said all that to say this. I was content. Now think about that. It's clear that I'm in the top of a barn, hot as it can be, laying in a bed of hay and I'm confortable, I'm OKAY, I'm content. Contentment comes from perspective. It clear that a great deal of our happiness is rooted in our expectations, and not necessarily in any particular level of comfort in which we find ourselves. It's obvious, that my contentment came not from where I was, but from my perspective. Anything was better than lifting those hay bales, stacking them in tight and sweating like a pig. I'm more convinced than ever, that our expectations, whether met or unmet, are key to our contentment in this life. Whenever our expectations exceed reality, we experience discontent. Therefore, whenever our reality exceeds our expectations, we experience contentment. Now, I could have complained about the hay loft being hot, the hay not being comfortable, but in reality, it was better than I expected. Now what about our state of contentment or discontentment in our life today? Are we expecting too much? Do we criticise everything that comes our way whether it be good, OKay or even bad? Can we ever be happy? Can we ever be content? Well, only if we live in reality and consider all things and consider everybody else above ourselves. You see, I promise you that even in your worst time, in your worst situation, someone else has it worse than you. It really depends on your expectations and your perception. If you get your perception right and your expectations in line, contentment is possible even in troublesome times. Our perception should be reality. Reality is; God owns everything, God is in control, God is our provider and we should live out our lives expecting God to do only what God can do. Now that's contentment. Hope you have a very God contented day.


Greg P. said...

Contentment is definitely perception. How many people have we all heard about that grew up poor, wore patches on their clothing, worn shoes, and had a warm loving family centered around God?

The person telling the story always seemed to be happy and content. They describe those times as the best days of their lives. If God is the center of your life, you have it all.