The end of the year brings an annual time of reflection. A discovery of self by reflecting past and reaching out to the future. New Years goals are how you want to progress as a person. I love sitting in that spot of discovering who I can be, what I currently like and reaching out for more things that I know would bring more joy to my life. Mainly, just figuring out who I was made to be. My purpose and mission here on earth.
Deep thoughts on a random day, am I right? Probably. But I think what better time than the end of the year to redefine yourself in a small sense and push your boundaries a bit farther. And make a few fun goals (one of mine is to try wood whittling!).
Word of the Year
Like many years in the past, I am choosing one word to focus on for the year. Not all words I’ve chosen are home runs, I couldn’t remember what word I had chosen for 2023 until I found it on a list with previous years (for those curious, it was the word “carefree”, which I ended up growing and learning from that word subconsciously anyways!).
For 2024 though, I am feeling pulled very strongly towards the word “contentment.” At this time in our family’s life, we have hit that moment. We made it through the grueling years of school, we got the steady job he loves, we have the beautiful children we desired (hopefully more to come 🥰), and we got the home we have always dreamed of. Regardless of all of this though, we have everything we need to be content. We always have. And yet sometimes it has felt difficult to truly sit in that contentment for long.
That word, content, is usually combined with being content, feeling content. But I think it should really be paired with choosing contentment and seeking contentment.
What does “being content” looks like. I imagine myself looking around at my environment with a small smile and a glisten in my eye – this little glimpse of happiness. I’ve noticed it is usually the smallest of things that create the largest contentment in my heart.
A separate, yet similar way I see contentment is more of an intentional, neutral choice. Being content in the specific circumstance you are currently in regardless if it’s positive or negative. Realizing you cannot change certain things and being content with that.
Often, I have defined contentment like it means I’m settling. My mind tells me I need to be constantly moving forward and evolving into this better, more Christ-like version of myself and if I were to be content, then I am not reaching my fullest potential. That if I were to be content with the state of my relationships or the weaker characteristics of my family/friends/myself, then I am settling with a lower quality of life with them. Toxic, right?
I am very much a person of action. If I am not moving or being productive or progressing, I feel like I am wasting my time. This can seen as a positive quality but at times I allow this to become a stumbling block for myself and to my relationships. If I see others participating in activities that I find wasteful, I get extremely frustrated and want to show them how wasteful I think they are being with their time/energy/etc.
I loved what @m.is.for.meg said in a post: “I have those common thoughts that we all get. I get caught up in the “woe is me” mindset and swirl into negativity, which causes me to lose any and all empathy for my husband and everything he sacrifices in his role as provider, father, protector, etc. Thankfulness breeds contentment. A thankful heart leaves no room for resentment. Instead, it gives us the clarity to assess our needs and express where we need support and help. We can be honest about the challenges we face without slipping into unhealthy patterns of negative thoughts and resentment.”
In my year of living by the word contentment, I seek to pull out of this terrible cycle. I first need to realize that no one holds my contentment other than myself (but of course Jesus can gift me contentment). I have to choose contentment regardless of how I go about my day and the problems that arise around me.
In 2024, I hope and plan that contentment will look a lot like solitude and rest. That it will look like spending freezes and social media hiatuses. I think seeking contentment will involve memorizing scriptures to have with me in times I need instead of rushing through information to try to squeeze all the growth I can fit in my free time. It will involve more deep breaths and using all five senses to bring my running mind back to the present moment. To me, I want contentment to equal full presence and unhurried peace.
This all sounds magical and exciting to me. I can’t wait to see what a year of choosing contentment will look like by the end of 2024.
Similar Words to Contentment
Other words I considered that feel similar to contentment to me: joy, peace, savor, marvel, rejoice.
Scriptures about Contentment
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have.”Hebrews 13:5
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”John 14:27
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith…”Galations 5:22
“Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”1 Timothy 6:6-7
“He did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him.”Alma 58:11
“Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?”Doctrine and covenants 6:23
“Whatsoever things are honest…just…pure…lovely…of good report; if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things…which ye have…seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you…For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”Philippians 4:8-11
Jesus Gifts me Contentment
I listened to a podcast episode recently and it really spoke to my heart. Corrine, the host, and her husband, Neil talk about Jesus not being a codependent. That is is not a rescuer and doesn’t just rescue us whenever we feel uncomfortable. If he were to codependently rescue us from every hard thing, He knows we would not grow.
Jesus Minds His own Business
She also mentions how Jesus taught us to mind our own business. To not worry about policing each other’s behavior. I’ve heard the part in the Sermon on the Mount about not judging and the parable of the mote and beam, but it’s always a great reminder that Jesus truly did not police other people’s behavior. He approached them with love, gave them the chance to show faith, forgave them, and didn’t follow up with them to make sure they were doing what they were supposed to be doing. This umbrella’s under my word for contentment, because my weakness is to put other people’s characteristics flaws under my wing as if I need to help them overcome it. I can relieve myself of this, give that job to Jesus, and I know I will feel much more content because of it.
Jesus is Not a Victim
Corrine also mentions how he took things on and out of love and he did not sit in victimhood. He lived the most difficult life, and He did it willingly. There are moments of my week where I will sit and spiral into a cycle of victimhood. Those thoughts can get out of control and if I realize that when Jesus did hard things, He did them intentionally with love and that complaints will get me nowhere.
Jesus did Not Run Himself Ragged
I can learn from Jesus that I do not need to do all the things until I get completely burnt out. Jesus took breaks, naps, got away in solitude to pray and rest.
One thing I really respect about Jesus is that He was probably the most misunderstood person and it was fine with Him because He didn’t have this codependent need to get everybody to approve of Him. That sounds so freeing and full of contentment, that you know where you stand with God and it’s okay if other’s do not like you for one reason or another.
If you feel inspired, I would love for you to please join me and choose a word that is calling to you!
Less resentment, more contentment.
Less movement, more moments.
Less consuming, more creating.
Less comparison, more appreciation.