“It is of our own choosing if we grovel in that which is mean and low, for we are constantly invited to a higher life, to purer thoughts, to nobler works.”*
Contentment. Peace. Joy. How can we experience these to the full? How can we have life and have it abundantly?
I can’t say I’ve arrived, but so far I’ve learned three ways –
- First: Be thankful. For example, don’t focus on what you want; be thankful for what you have. As Nabil N. Jamal noted, “He who is satisfied with what he has, is a rich man.”
As an outdoorsman living in Montana I’d love to have a good selection of hunting rifles and shotguns. Instead, I have one rifle and one shotgun. The rifle shoots straight and the shotgun is reliable. I have one fly rod, a three-weight that’s a little light for Montana’s big rivers, but just right for the streams and mountain lakes.
I couldn’t have said this years ago, but today I no longer have to have. Instead, I have learned to be thankful for what I do have. Thankfulness = contentment.
Second: Cultivate acceptance. We can make our plans and try to control life, but when it all comes down to it all we really do is react.
Recently I arose one morning and like any dutiful Christian I submitted my plans to the Lord so they would be established (Proverbs 16:3). Which meant I hoped God would see things my way. He didn’t.
Shortly after breakfast as I was getting ready to take my tasks to task, I got a phone call from a friend who lives about an hour away. He wanted to come for a visit and a cup of coffee. I thought of my plans for the day, hesitated a moment and then said, “Come on over.”
We had a great conversation and something I said was so encouraging to him that he exclaimed, “If you weren’t male I’d jump up and hug ya!” I was reminded that life is about people, not about all the junk I think I have to get done. Acceptance = peace.
- Third: Slow down and appreciate.
Sometimes this comes by seeing the world with new eyes, even the eyes of a child.
Childlike wonder isn’t something we need to be appreciative, but it helps. Those dandelions aren’t weeds; they’re yard flowers. It is so sad to grow up. As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote in his classic, The Little Prince “All grown-ups were once children… but only few of them remember it.” Do you remember? I’m learning that appreciation = joy.
If you’d like to read more about appreciating God and His creation, try my post God and the Great Outdoors.
If you feel pressured and frustrated with life, try Slow Down and Live.
If (like me) you’re getting older and feel like life is passing you by, try Reminisce or Live?
Or just for fun, try Real Men Own Poodles.
AND LASTLY: I usually update my blog with at least one new post every Wednesday by 4:00 P.M. MST. My latest post is titled, What I Learned from a Dandelion Seed.
Y’all come back now, ya hear?
If you’d like to PM me, my email is mike (at) mikeraether (dot) com. (Well, not literally of course but this format gives spambots indigestion).
*Jacob Cooper, D.D. in The Biblical Illustrator, © ÂŠ 2002, 2003, 2006 Ages Software, Inc. and Biblesoft, Inc. Used with permission.