Sunday, February 17, 2008

contentment


Sitting on our back porch sipping our coffee with the sun shining on our pale faces .. .was pretty much perfect. It is certainly true that when something is withheld for a time it becomes increasingly more desired and precious. We felt content.


Later in the evening we watched 60 minutes and they had a segment on contentment and the country Denmark is currently the most content overall country. They interviewed a group of young people and asked them what they attribute the country's overall contentment level with . They felt their expectations were lower than Europe or America. They even admit that generally speaking people are heard to complain often. When something good happens, they appreciate it .. . .a lot. Interesting isn't it?


They didn't feel that they would be anymore content with more money. They feel that most people place the highest value of contentment on family relationships.

Canada scored higher in the happiness scale than the US. Good to know. Really how are these things measured? How do we feel as if we are content? I confess until yesterday, I complained bitterly about the weather . .day in and day out. This is mostly for show, since when making small talk in line ups and casual conversations it would seem unrealistic and a bit odd to be joyous of another drizzly day.
Perhaps that explains why when the sky looked as it did yesterday we felt utterly content with our surroundings.

This caused me to wonder of my own life. . .what if anything would make me happier. I understand happiness to be rather superficial depending on the circumstances I find myself in. Momentary unhappiness is caused by things like pouring water in the coffee maker when it was already filled, and thus caused messy flooding on the counter top. I'm generally a bit unhappy when I leave a batch of cookies in the oven for double the length of time and ruin them. I felt a bit unhappy when i recently spent hours baking a cake that was destined for the garbage from the moment it began . . . .Oh vey!! Does this then make me a person who is discontented?

Generally speaking I suppose I am blessed to be content. Certainly as with most people there are circumstances in my life which I would choose to change if I had the power to do so. Everyone has stuff. Challenges in our lives and how we choose to deal with them make us who we are.

The deeper question and one that they didn't discuss is whether we have joy. Joy is infinitely more important than happiness. Joy deep within the soul remains even when our circumstances go awry.


Believing that nothing touches my life except being passed by the hand of God allows me to rest in the assurance that my life is in His hands. As a child of God I trust God's heart even when I don't understand all that He allows. In believing and understanding this truth for my life . ..I have joy.

So . .I'm wondering today .. .if you are not one of the folks from Denmark .. .would you still say that you live in a state of contentment today? Just for today, what would make a difference?


Alrighty. . .you know the drill .. . line up and get your pedometers fastened with duct tape or whatever else works for you. This morning on an advertising clip promoting heart health, they had several points which claim to be beneficial. One of those points was wearing a pedometer. Another thing that they said was vital was to have friends, at least 10.
Well, I have both . .. (including you of course) .. . so I'm set.


Have a wonderful day my friends .. . The sky is blue .. . again.

11 comments:

  1. Hmmmm, interesting questions you pose. I'll have something to ponder for a bit...perhaps I should actually get out my journal and write it down.

    You, palefaces, really do look content! :>

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  2. I agree with Vee...very interesting questions. I suppose, like beauty, it is in the eye or perhaps heart, of the beholder. It would seem that happiness is objective and only each person can say what would make them happy or bring joy to their hearts. That's a very tough one! Thanks for bringing this up so I can be analytical for the day and really think about this! : )
    And you both DO look terribly content out there on your deck! Take care!

    Jan

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  3. I must say that I am generally a contented person, but these few months of upheaval (the move) have left me feeling a bit discontented at times. I'm just ready to have it all behind me. I am trying not to think like that - I don't want to wish my life away and I realize that I just need to appreciate every moment...in other words, enjoy the journey!

    As for being happy or being joyful...interesting! For the most part, Doc and I are happy people. However, an untimely combination of outside influences and a job-related situation swept the joy from our lives for a few months. The joy was there all along, but we didn't always recognize it. There are still some hurts that must be put behind us, but we do recognize that God has been with us all along, and He has been guiding us through the obstacles. (Those thoughts sound a bit rambling, don't they?)

    Thank you for reminding us to be joyful at all times, and to continually give thanks to God for all that He has provided!

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  4. Lovella, how interesting that you would post about 'contentment' this morning.
    Yesterday was such an absolutely beautiful day and the mountains so sharp against the clear blue sky .. I was already filled to the brim just from enjoying God's majestic nature before we even got to church ..Being a little early we stopped to take some photos including the eagles in the 'eagle tree' just down the hill from us.
    After church we couldn't just go straight home but took the long way round just enjoying the beauty around us...
    In the afternoon we visited Vic's nephew and wife and then later my parents.
    I thought a lot about contentent yesterday because my heart was soo full to overflowing with it .. and I thought about how little I need to be content !!!
    As long as I know "God's in His heaven" and my loved ones close, I am content !!!

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  5. I saw an interesting survey done on the various provinces in Canada. Ontario and Alberta scored highest in healthy living and financial success - but lowest in contentment.

    Interestingly, Nfld. scored lowest in healthy living - they were the heaviest and smoked the most. Also scored low in finances. But they were the most contented with their lives. They have very strong social connections there. PEI comes in second.

    I must admit that it is easier to feel more contented in the summer than in the winter. Blue skies and sunshine lift the spirits.

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  6. With windchill it's -33 here so there is no sitting on the porch for us. Still I must say we are contented, we have a warm house and can look out at the beautiful sunshine! And we have spring to look forward to!

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  7. Yes! I am content and I am wearing my pedometer. Maybe that's the key!
    I'm so happy you are having such nice sunshine and can enjoy it on your face! Us Northwest people so much more seem to appreciate sunshine when it happens...
    I still count myself as a Northwesterner even though I'm living in Southern California right now...

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  8. Re: Happiness/joy:
    I've noticed a phenomenon known as FDH syndrome: Fat, Dumb and Happy.
    Sometimes I envy those who have bliss because they are ignorant, and those who are "happy" because they just accept what is readily available instead of exploring and stretching to know what else is out there.

    The hardest part of leaving Blissful Ignorance to get to Knowlege is Power is that it is almost impossible to go back. Highly educated and highly successful people frequently have unhappiness and dissatisfaction because they know there is always more to know and do and be in life. They struggle against limits of time, money, energy etc, and feel angry/sad that they can't do and be all.

    I think the reason the Bible doesn't talk much about happiness is that it was more concerned with being contented in God. He gives joy, and comforts sorrow, yet doesn't seem to be too concerned about happiness or unhappiness.

    I'm glad you are having contented moments on your deck!

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  9. Greetings from Redding, California. How can I not be content after a day spent driving through God's beautiful creation with the one I love...singing along to Brian Doerksen's worship CD? I have so much to be thankful for!

    I have likely walked about 100 steps today...but I'm 'content' with that too. And I can hardly believe that I just plugged in my laptop at the hotel & it works! That's all new to me.

    PS Would Terry want to take his ladder and pruners and head out to our place next?

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  10. I feel so lucky to be "friend "10" to comment today...thank you for sharing...I must say that the sunshine sure does reign its effect on contentment...Elma

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  11. Yes, the question is thought provoking. At one time, I was certainly discontented and it did have to do at one level with my surroundings. And my discontent infected others. I hope I have learned my lesson well as it was a painful one. Is contentment next to godliness?

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Thank you!