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I struggled with the topic for this week. I started another post, but it just didn’t feel right. My daughter started asking me questions about what I was writing. I shared and told her it just didn’t feel right. She asked a few more questions and said ‘sounds like contentment.’ I love when your children help you get to your aha moment.

con·tent·ment kənˈtentmənt/ noun -- a state of happiness and satisfaction.

How wonderful does that sound? A state of happiness! I hope everyone can say they experience this state in their lives and my hope is that you strive for it every day. I wish I could say this is something that just comes naturally to everyone, I know this is not true. For some, it seems easier to find than other people, but it is something that is in everyone's reach.

How often during your day do you say ‘I didn’t get enough done’ or ‘I wish I would have done X’ or that you ‘do, do, do’ and never leave time to acknowledge the good or find the happy in your day?

When I think of contentment, it reminds me of my first trip out of the United States. We went to San Salvador with the church I was attending at the time. This was for a missions trip where we were helping to dig footers for a new church they were building on this campus.

Seeing how people live in this area was an eye-opening for me. In comparison to what we have in the U.S., the people I met had nothing and yet they were happier than many people I know here. They found happiness in the little they had, and contentment in the life they live.

These families lived in small homes with very few rooms. There was no TV and very little furniture if any at all. They didn’t have decorations on the walls and multiple generations living in one home. They did not separate as we do here. They seemed genuinely happy, but if you or I had to live that way, I would think we would feel miserable.

Some struggles in our lives center on having the fastest Internet, the latest game station, nicest car, the biggest house, or name brand clothes. There are times even in my house my kids have complained about not having name brand something or they didn’t want to shop at a certain store because it wasn’t where their friends shopped. And yet there are other people who may have very few or only a couple pieces of clothing that they live in. How did our lives get so cluttered with the material things we feel we need now? Are those things making us happy?

I want to be content with what I have in my life. Over the past year I have done a lot of scaling back in my life. I had a big home and a lot of unnecessary stuff, I have realized there is a lot I do not need. I want to be thankful and content with having less so that I may spend more time with family and friends making memories and be able to give more.

When I look around my home, I do not feel I have much and what I do have is used or years old, but in comparison to the families in San Salvador, I live like a queen. It is silly to even question what I have; I like my home, I feel it is comfortable and peaceful, what more could you ask for?

Being content with what you have is something we each can train our brains to do… the same way marketing campaigns have trained our brains to feel we need more. We each need to evaluate our lives and be honest with ourselves to determine what is truly important. Are you trying to keep up with the Jones’s or are you content with what you have?

Being content is a state of happiness and satisfaction, how do you feel about your life? What do you feel you need to make you happy and satisfied with your life? Do you know that finding happiness is something that you find from within, not from what you buy?

One way to start retraining your brain is to be thankful. Each day, write down 3-4 things that you are thankful for. When you think of these things, are they objects? Or are they people and activities; time spent with family or friends?

Finding happiness is an act that each of us can choose to do daily. As negative thoughts or thoughts of dissatisfaction start to creep in, take a moment to remind yourself of what you are thankful for, write them down or say them out loud. Make the choice to retrain your brain to be happy and content in your world.

Do you have contentment in your life? Choose to find your happy, choose to be thankful for all you have, choose to give more than buy more, choose to find contentment in your world.

Sending peace, love, and joy to you my friend. Sam

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