Friday, November 8, 2013

It Happens Every November

Just as sure as the leaves change color and fall off the trees.

And then it is all undone in December.

Facebook friends begin using #30daysofthanksgiving hashtags and talk about a Thanksgiving Challenge. At churches and in homes paper turkeys and trees boast of all the things for which we are thankful.

But in December we begin to make lists--mental, written, or on Amazon--of the things we want. 

Does that strike you as incongruous? 

I did it with my kids every year, but a few weeks ago I was asked to speak to some college girls on "contentment" and it gave me a whole new perspective on thankfulness.

The world thinks we'll be content if we have a little bit more. 
Or if we learn to want a little bit less.

Is that what the Bible teaches?

Or how about:

In other words: God is enough.

How can we teach our children this? I am not sure I succeeded with my children. I'm not sure I have come to truly believe this in my own life. But I'm working on it.

I'll give you a few of my ideas of how we can teach this to our children, but I would love to hear from you and know how you are working on this. Please let me know.

  1. Be an example. Are you someone who is always talking about wanting the newest, the better, the improved? Or do you exhibit contentment? What do you talk about?
  2. Talk about contentment. If you look online you will find all kinds of quotes about contentment. Read one to your kids each night at dinner and ask if they think it's true. Is this is a clever statement or the path to contentment?
  3. Read what the Bible says. Look at the verses I have mentioned here and others. What does the Bible say is the basis for a Christian to be content? Ask who they can think of in the Bible that lived contentedly...or didn't.
  4. Look for real life examples. Talk about people who are living life content with having God in their lives. Ask your children, "What would true contentment look like in your life?"
  5. Be thankful. This year I challenged the college girls and myself to not just list things they are thankful for, but start their thanksgivings with "I'm thankful for God's presence in my life because..."
Leave me a comment and let me know your ideas for living and teaching true contentment.

P.S. I took these photos the other day while on a "leaf crunching" walk with my youngest daughter who is a college sophomore.

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  1. I used to consider myself a pretty content person, I had few wants and was pretty happy with the things I did have, but lately I think Satan is using my kids to plant seed of discontentment. I keep wishing for more things for them, a yard, a bigger house, ect. And while I dont consider the desire for any of those things sin I do believe I need to be content with what God has given us and leave my desires in his hands to work out, or not. Thanks for the post and reminder!

    1. I thought I was content too, Erin, until I started preparing for the lesson I taught the college girls and I realized how much I do want things. I guess it's something we need to continually work on.

  2. Great post and beautiful pictures! I shared my thoughts on contentment and a poem I wrote at .

  3. Beautiful pictures. Beautiful thoughts. Thank you! Janet Reeves

  4. There is an interesting paradox...when we are content with our lives because we understand God is enough...He will shower us with blessings! The blessings may not be what we would have "wanted" in years past, but they are exactly what God knows are the best for us. Focusing on our blessings keeps us in an attitude of thanks and keeps our hearts in line with His. (BTW, I'm still learning this! lol)

    Blessings, Joan

    1. You are right, Joan. We "get" so much more when we are content with God alone. As you said, it's our new wants, not the old ones.

  5. This is a beautiful post, and so timely. I love the idea of looking at the concept of "contentment" as associated with thankfulness. I like your ideas of how to teach contentment- I think my favorite may be #1. Children learn from what we do much more than from what we say. :) Your photography is beautiful.

    Visiting from the Grand Social,

    Love, Joy @ Yesterfood

    1. Joy, I think the biggest and most effective ministry God has for all of us is "be an example". The scary part is we don't know when we are being observed!

  6. A local church always has great text on their outside sign. The latest one is Have you thanked God today for what He gave you yesterday

  7. I love this post. We don't let the kids go nutso over Christmas. No catalogs in our household. We may ask the kids what they want or need, but they know there are definite limits. Sometimes the "want" is a gift that all the kids share. They make presents for each other... our big focus with them is finding something they can make that their sibling will enjoy. One year we all got origami animals from one of our daughters (she is very talented with origami!) Lots of coupons get exchanged... homemade ones for "doing the dishes when it's your turn" and things like that.

    I guess there are some advantages to not having much money!

  8. Thanks so much for sharing with Wednesday’s Adorned From Above Link Party.
    Have a great week.
    Debi and Charly @ Adorned From Above

  9. Hi, I popped in from Grandma's Briefs and enjoyed your about page as well as this. LOVE the leaf pix AND the grand food for thought. Thanks for a delightful visit.

  10. Your pictures are absolutely beautiful. What a nice post!!



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