Saturday, November 12, 2011

10 Ways To Live In Contentment and Have Enough

 As far as I am concerned, enough has always been about a mind-set.
Today, in our society, we live in the land of plenty. We’ve been conditioned to consume without consideration. “Don’t have the money right away, don’t worry, just use your credit card.” However, buying frivolous things has not only caused debt and added clutter in our home, but it has led to discontentment as we have demonstrated a lack of self-control.
 It is time for something to give.
 Even in the midst of a waning economic situation, average Americans...
  • Spend $0.47 of every food dollar on dining out.
  • Spend more money than they earn each year. This accounts for 43% of American families.
  • Owe $4,200 per adult and $8,100 per household.
From all-you-can-eat buffets, to offers for BOGO (buy one get one free), to the newest gadget we are constantly tempted to increase our consumption; wouldn’t you agree?
Most of us are not able to wrap our minds around what it means to go to bed hungry. Nor have we ever had want for a necessity. Even with full dinner plates, packed-full closets, and garages bloated with floor to ceiling storage bins because all of our possessions won’t fit in our oversized houses, we continue to search for more.

Earlier in the week I posted a question on the wall of my facebook page. I asked what people would do differently if they thought they had enough, and here were some of the responses:

-Give more
-Share more
-Grow more food
-Follow my dreams

What if…just what if…we all decided to accept the fact that we already have enough?What if we started resisting the lure of consumerism and instead, we started to become content with what we have?

How could this shift in thinking transform our lives?

A word of encouragement: This transformation will not, and cannot, happen overnight! It is a journey, not a destination. It requires continuous, intentional living. It involves a daily renewing of minds.

Here are a few practical changes we can begin to implement. Try it! Even if only for a few days. You could be surprised as to how much you enjoy enough.

10 Ways to Live In Contentment and Have Enough
1. Re-defining Our Understanding of Enough.
  • Re-define necessities.
  • If we have $20 in our pocket, food in the refrigerator, clothes on our back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep, we are richer than 75% of the people in the world.
 2. Save Money.
  • Save more than you spend.
  • Cut up the credit cards, or at least put them away for a while, and stop acquiring debt.
  • Seek out and follow budgeting principles such as those provided by Dave Ramsey, Crown Financial Ministries, or the Pear Budget.
3. Un-Plug.

4. Create Your Own Entertainment
  • Carry over the un-plugged theme and turn off the TV!
  • Stop spending money on super expensive entertainment, travel, and/or recreational activities! Get outdoors and enjoy what has been freely given to us in nature.
5. Just Say NO
  • Having enough often means we will make decisions that are not accepted by the masses. We may have to tell our children no, we may have to tell our friends no, we may even have to tell our extended families no.
6. Quit Trying To Keep Up.
  • Here’s the brutal truth, there will always be someone that makes more money that you! And what’s more, there will always be someone that has more stuff than you! Gasp! Yes, it’s true. But who really cares? Quit trying to keep up. You are a unique, amazingly talented individual all in your own right.
7. Prioritize People
  • I quit my job 6 months ago. You know why? It wasn’t because it made financial sense. It was because I realized that all my children wanted was me. They didn’t care about the stuff I was able to buy them. I realized that they are only with me for such a short time and then they are off.  Sure, we spend a whole lot less (I mean thousands less) and we have a whole lot less than we did before, but we’ve never been happier.
8. Be Happy With You.
  • Over the years, as I have matured and grown into my own skin, I am beginning to develop the ability to be content. I no longer need top-of-the-line corporate food, name-brand clothing, or mountains of money to define me. Enough just looks different when I am happy with myself.
9. Eat Real, Nutritious Food
  • Eat at home. 
  • Begin eating less from a box.
  • Learn what grows seasonally in your location and eat it.
  • Grow as much of your own food as possible. Don’t let the size of your outdoor space limit you!
10. Show Gratitude
  • In this the season of thanks, make a list of all the things you are thankful for. Post it in a high traffic area of your home. Embrace it!
In order to begin the journey, we must find ways to bring our family along. Gather everyone together and openly discuss the things on this list. Challenge each other to spend less money this season.
Just think of how great it will be when you have gained control over your life! Begin implementing a few changes, but remain sensitive. If it doesn’t work that’s okay, baby steps.
So now I ask you. What would you do differently if you thought you had enough?

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.” - Mahatma Gandhi


At November 12, 2011 at 11:04 AM , Blogger Rich Fletcher's Good Food said...

Wonderful words of Wisdom! Thank you for sharing !!

At November 12, 2011 at 11:10 AM , Anonymous Carol J. Alexander said...

Very well put. Thanks for sharing this.

At November 12, 2011 at 11:52 AM , Blogger Stacie said...

I've been struggling with these kinds of thoughts since my husband has been out of work, and it's just what I needed to hear. Thank you so much for your (timely) blog post! =)

At November 12, 2011 at 1:26 PM , Anonymous April said...

TOTALLY agree--thank you! I have learned these things over the past few years, since my husband's business fell apart in 2008. There's been hardly any work over the past few years, and I stay home and homeschool my kids. But we have learned these things that you posted, and we are HAPPY!

At November 12, 2011 at 3:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

you've hit the nail on the head!

We've been following a much simpler life the 2-3 years and are much happier for it, put your savings away before you spend any of your income!


At November 12, 2011 at 4:46 PM , Blogger marilyn said...

I just started reading another John Grisham book, and it has really made me do some thinking about the homeless, and people who have so little, while I have plenty. He is a successful lawyer, and leaves his fluent practice, to serve in soup kitchens, and help with their legal problems. Its called "The Street Lawyer". Gives you alot to think what you have been talking about, too. Thank you...

At November 12, 2011 at 6:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we do a good job with all 10 of these. Which probably accounts with why we are happy with our life. I am so thankful for all that we have and all we are able to share.

At November 12, 2011 at 9:16 PM , Blogger MarianneG said...

Thank you.

At November 13, 2011 at 2:55 AM , Anonymous June Rollins said...

Thank you for this well-researched, timely post. I shared on FB. June

At November 13, 2011 at 7:08 AM , Blogger Misty said...

That's pretty good. I need to work on a few of these! I tend to get an over achiever attitude and then get stressed. I always advise my friends to just say no, but then don't do it myself.

At November 13, 2011 at 9:49 AM , Blogger Kimberly said...

Tossing your television will do amazing things for your life. We can't eliminate everything that makes us want, but most people have no idea how much comes from the endless assault of tv. 13+ years and never going back.

At November 13, 2011 at 12:02 PM , Blogger Lori said...

I couldn't agree more. Great post!!

At November 14, 2011 at 12:06 PM , Blogger Ginny said...

I appreciate this wonderful post. Words of wisdom.

At November 14, 2011 at 5:29 PM , Blogger April's Homemaking said...

Love this post! Especially poignant post for this holiday season, I have been very careful this year to plan for a nice and simple Christmas. We also cut our Dish service to just basic reception and thought it would be so difficult, but it has been a real blessing, and frees up a lot of time and money. I loved all of your suggestions!

At November 14, 2011 at 10:22 PM , Anonymous Michelle said...

I love your list. These are things I have really been thinking about more and more. Some I am actually working on, some are waiting in the wings to to tackled. Great reminders of the life values we should be focused on.

At November 15, 2011 at 10:57 AM , Blogger Jenny said...

Such a great list! It is so easy to get caught up in life and to confuse wanting things with needing things. This post has encouraged me to take a step back and to see what I really need.

For me, things like learning crafts and skills are far more entertaining than shopping or watching television.

I'm having a giveaway!

At November 16, 2011 at 4:34 PM , Anonymous OneMommy said...

Could not agree more with what you've written!

At November 17, 2011 at 4:12 AM , Blogger MommaHen said...

My husband always says, " I wish we were rich." I don't! I somehow , sorta, appreciate that we live "pay-check-to-pay-check" Everything that we have, we own. Granted, it's not much, but it's ours! I wouldn't have created our home , by hand. If we were rich, I would probably have someone else design my house....what's the fun in that? I love this post, it really speaks loud and clear!

At November 17, 2011 at 6:52 AM , Anonymous Stephanie said...

I like the sentiments, although I have to say I literally have NO outdoor space with my apartment. I was fortunate to receive a community gardening plot (there are long waitlists in my neighborhood: 3-5 years) but there is only so much you can do in 50 semi-shady sq. ft when you can't shade your neighbors by growing up too much.

It's also very reasonable to accept your limits. You can't be perfect. I don't compost year round, for example.

I'll have enough when I have a small cabin, have paid off my student loans, and truly adore my work. (In about 5 years, I think.)

At November 17, 2011 at 11:23 AM , Anonymous 'Becca said...

This is excellent advice!!

For me, odd as it sounds, one of the best ways to appreciate that I have enough is to give some away. I was asked to give a talk about giving at church after arguing with someone who stated in a committee meeting that it is "unrealistic" to expect anyone to tithe 10% of their income to the church--the IRS says I am "low income," but I am able to pay 3 people's everyday expenses on about 60% of that income, freeing the rest for charitable giving and savings, by having what is apparently a "humble" lifestyle but feels luxurious to us!

I do have occasional freak-outs when I worry about not having enough. In general, though, I learned from birth to be creative with and appreciative of the abundance of stuff that comes my way rather than to crave the newest and fanciest things.

At December 26, 2011 at 7:10 PM , Blogger Hyacynth said...

This was wonderful! I'm going to be thinking and rethinking that list as we enter into 2012 ... and as we make the 2012 budget in the next few days.
Thank you!

At December 27, 2011 at 3:32 AM , Blogger kneesandpaws said...

Five years ago I began to embrace this thinking in increments. I used to have a continual fog of "desperation" around me, thinking I needed to achieve, have success, be financially "secure", which was a standard that my parents implanted through their lifestyle. We did not consider ourselves rich growing up, but looking back there was a lot of comfort and new things. It's difficult sometimes, to realize that I invested a lot of finances in a private college education to end up homeschooling, developing a handmade business. But these choices make me happy. Less material goods can lead to a fuller experience of life and also has the affect of making me more open and approachable to people. I have more friends now than ever...and that makes life incredibly wealthy!


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