I’m sitting in my newly rearranged living room. I got a new desk and bookshelf yesterday, and I love it. In the past month, we’ve bought more furniture than we’ve bought in the entire 16 years we’ve been married. Up until this point, we’ve made do with a lot of hand-me downs and discount store furniture. And we’re still using a lot of it.
As I sit in my chair, I’m looking at my couch and chair. We are the third generation of my family to use this furniture. Neither is super comfortable, but I look at those pieces of furniture, and I’m always reminded of the connection to my family. It helps to make me content.
My new desk and bookshelf don’t match the older furniture all that well. They definitely give the room an eclectic look. And as happy as I am with them, I know that at some point in the near future, I’ll walk into someone else’s house, see someone else’s living room and lose my contentment with what I have. It won’t matter that my furniture reminds me of family. It won’t matter that my bookshelf and desk are perfect for my needs. All that will matter is that my living room doesn’t look like it came out of a Pottery Barn catalog. Contentment is that easy to lose.
All last week, we talked about contentment in our Learning to Be Content series. Because contentment is something that I don’t think we ever completely learn, this month’s dinner discussions are all about contentment, envy and joy. My prayer is that as you use these questions to spark your dinnertime conversations that your family will take to heart Paul’s words in Philippians 4:11-13: “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
By keeping the focus on contentment for an entire month, we can learn the roots of jealousy, the desires of our hearts and how to learn to be content. It’s not an easy process, and it’s always an ongoing one. But contentment is something we can learn and teach to our children. And the first step is getting the conversation started.