Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Practicing Contentment

Contentment seems like a worthy goal. It's to be satisfied; it's a peace of mind.

Paul learned to be content in his circumstances (Philippians 4:11-12)
If we are godly and content with having food and clothing, it's beneficial (1 Timothy 6:6-8)
Hebrews 13:5 urges us to be content with what we have.

I want contentment. I want satisfaction. I don't want to be constantly working and striving after the next new thing, only to discard it when something better comes out.

Soon after I got my kindle, I became mildly obsessed with getting books for it. Fortunately for me, I was obsessed with getting free books for my kindle. Thanks to two emails a day, I was aware of all these great deals and free books on Amazon. And a lot of newly written books (the first in a series) were free. It's just the rest of the series cost monies. Soon I had 2000 books. I would go on buying binges. 20, 50, 80, 100 books might be added to my kindle in one day. And then I would obsessively sort each book into a category, so I could navigate my books with greater easy.

How was I measuring up to scripture? I wasn't content with what I had. I had a wish list costing hundreds of dollars. I would get a book and then forget to what it was about. I would feel guilty if I bought a book I was geneuinely intrested in, because I had so many free ones.

What changed? I realized that I was spending more time searching for, getting, and organizing my books then I was reading them. I realized that I was overwhelmed with my choices and would freeze if I was wanting to read one. I needed to change my behavior to become more content.

I cut back on my emails and offers. I used to get 2 emails a day, showing free and cheap kindle books. But I started to drool after the almost free books and the rest of a series. I had 2000+ books but I wasn't content. I wasn't happy. I wanted more. By blocking my view of what I could have, I'm happier. I'm more content.

I purged many of my books. I went through and weeded out the books that I thought that I should want to read or that I thought might be useful in the future. I mean, I might one day be stranded in the wilderness and need to know how to make a snare or build a shelter. I decided that I could wing it. I wanted to want to read highly intellectual books, but I really didn't have an interest in reading the founding documents our country was built on.

I set up my own set of standards. I decided that for me, new book series breed discontent, because one book is free and then I want the rest of the series. Don't get me wrong, I love the Chronicles of Narnia and the Lord of the Rings. But I'm hesistant to embark with new book series. Why? It breeds discontent. So I went through my kindle and deleted all of the free books that marked themselves as first in a series. Without reading them. The thing is, I still have over 1500 books on my kindle. I can afford to be picky. It's true that I probably would have really enjoyed so of the series on my kindle, but I am happy enough with what I have.

I decided what language and what behavior I would tolerate in books. Books that don't meet my standards are deleted. And I can read something that I prefer.

My hubby and I had netflix, but didn't have a traditional tv...which means no commericials...which means that I don't know how incomplete my life is without _________. Which means that I continue on as I have before.

It was odd, as I adjusted my behaviors, I began to become more content. I began to read for pleasure and enjoy it.


  1. Good thoughts Elizabeth. It is so easy to get caught up in wanting more. A lot of times less is more. Mom

    1. Quite true, especially when our society urges us to spend to help the economy and especially when our culture is a *tad* materialistic. :-)