Dreary that was the word for it as I headed to work today. Continuous rain, grey sky. It felt melancholy and yes dreary. I’d rather have stayed snuggled in bed listening to the soft rain. Then it would have been a cosy day – not dreary. But nonetheless here I was joining the commute to work. However, somehow between leaving home and arriving at work my attitude changed. It didn’t stop raining, but stopping off to grab a coffee (yes the coffee helped!) I noticed something. Or rather I heard something. The birds were still singing. And let’s face it they’re more out in the elements than we are. In this grey day there were still joy and blessings to be found. Yes joy in my delicious hot flat white – perfect for this weather. Blessings in hearing the birds singing. Blessings in the conversations with my workmates.
Our attitude or our outlook on life has an impact. A famous Zig Ziglar quote says this “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” Attitude is the eye of our souls. It determines how we view life. How we react to circumstances, how we respond to life itself is up to us. We can put limits on our lives by our attitudes.
“But I also knew if I could somehow replace my doubt with hope, my fear with courage, and my self-pity with a sense of pride, then I just might be able to do this.” (Bear Grylls)
And tonight as the rain has lingered on I get to snuggle into bed and go to sleep listening to the soft rain falling. A cosy day indeed.
I had a moment today when I had to decide if I was content with the 2 coffees I had already had that day or whether I “needed” a third. Unsurprisingly, (given moment was had outside coffee shop) I decided for being discontent and proceeded to order the coffee. Was my decision then validated by the fact that the lady then gave me the coffee for free, I am sure….but as I sipped on my coffee I began to contemplate the word “contentment”. (Yes that is what continual injections of caffeine in a day does to a person!)
There is much in life that can stir up discontentment. And as easily as a breeze scatters a pile of leaves, peace is disturbed, chaos created, equilibrium lost. A passing comment by a friend, news of an aspect of someone else’s life can sometimes unintentionally unsettle us. It can prod a restlessness inside us that can turn into discontentment if we aren’t careful.
To be content is to be satisfied, have peace of mind and to be accepting of one’s situation. To be discontented is to be dissatisfied with one’s circumstances. The concept of contentment in life has been around forever and we can find it in the Bible with Paul writing “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 everything through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11)
Paul gives us the key here to contentment and that is one of “learned”. Contentment is not something that necessarily comes easily – it is a discipline, a way of life that we must learn, that we must cultivate. It is something that we can have regardless of the condition of our lives. As with Paul, he found contentment, whether living in plenty or in want….Contentment is an attitude that shouldn’t be thrown by circumstances. I read once that “contentment is an inner sufficiency that keeps us at peace in spite of outward circumstances.” The other key that Paul gives us, is anchoring our lives in God.
A contented life is a happy life.
“I have kept my feet on the ground; I’ve cultivated a quiet heart. Like a baby content in its’ mother’s arms, my soul is a baby content.” (Psalm 131:2, MSG Bible)