“Jessi, I love how content you are.” “Your contentment amazes me and inspires me.” “How are you always so content?”
These are just a few of the comments I’ve received throughout my life about how content I am, but I want to be 100% honest – I’m not always as content as I seem.
I think contentment comes in seasons. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great example growing up of what contentment looks like from my mom so contentment does tend to come a little more naturally to me, but that doesn’t mean that I’m perfectly content all the time.
Most of y’all know about my early adult life when I was broke and was struggling through financial hell. That was definitely a season of discontentment and it was obvious that I was discontent, but discontentment isn’t always so visible.
In fact, I believe the most dangerous form of discontentment is the kind that sneaks up on us.
If you subscribe to my weekly email newsletter, you know that at the start of summer, I was struggling with discontentment, because with summertime comes summer vacations. And I really want a vacation…like yesterday. And by a vacation, I mean a week off from cell phones, laptops, tablets, from grocery shopping, from bill paying, and cleaning up the same gosh-darn mess 17 times in one day. I want a vacation with a sandy beach, ocean view, and lots of sun block.
From our honeymoon…
But here’s the kicker – we can’t afford a vacation this year. If we were to take the vacation described above, it would literally take almost a $1,000 (and maybe even more) away from our debt payoff goal of having my student loans paid off by the end of this year. Not to mention that we still have to pay my doctor for our upcoming arrival of baby three and the fact that in September we have a lot of traveling to North Carolina to afford.
There’s no way that we can afford to “get away” right now and that thought just makes me sad, because I need a vacation. I need a getaway. I need to hear the ocean calling my name. I need to lie out in the sun all day and not care about the world.
I need, I need, I need….
Y’all, that’s how discontentment starts. Right there ^^^^, with “I need……; I need…..; I need……”. Let’s get real – do I really need a vacation?
Do I really need to hear the ocean calling my name?
Do I really need to lay out in the sun and be roasted and toasted and burnt to a crisp?
It’s so challenging to remind ourselves of what our true needs are instead of what our wants are. Because sometimes our wants really do feel like needs and in our current digital age, discerning between a need and want is difficult.
From our trip to Mexico in 2012…
This is why I have to remind myself almost daily of what our goals are. Not just our financial goals, but my personal and business goals as well. I have to remind myself of my top priorities because although yes, a family vacation does fit in with my priorities of spending time with my family, it doesn’t fit in with our financial goal of paying off my student loans by the end of year.
Now, many of y’all have asked me why it is that we don’t consider putting a temporary hold on our debt pay off plan. Sure, we could do that and there’s nothing wrong with doing that if that’s something that you’re family agrees on, but for us a temporary hold, would turn into an almost indefinite hold. We know from many other aspects of our lives together that anytime we hit the pause button on something, we struggle to pick it back up and regain momentum.
Therefore, we have to constantly seek contentment. We constantly have to remind each other what we’re working towards. When my husband struggles to say “no” to his McFrappes every day, I have to remind him that it’s money that could be better spent. And when I struggle with wanting a vacation that I need so desperately, he has to remind me that my student loans aren’t going to pay themselves.
Being content isn’t easy. We have to seek gratitude for the things that we do have – a comfortable bed to sleep in at night, a working vehicle, money to pay the power bill, a best friend that knows when we need a batch of cookies without even asking, a spouse that knows when to give us space to work through something, the sound of little feet running down the hallway in the morning, the grace and mercy of God, and the peace that comes from an attitude of gratitude.
Where can you find contentment today?
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