Friday, June 15, 2007

Tip of the Day -- Develop Contentment

Today's tip is one that will be helpful in homeschooling, as well as many other areas of life.  Develop Contentment.  I didn't say "be content", because sometimes we have to work at it and develop it. 

It's easy to sit, poring over the latest homeschool catalog and become discontent.  The newest shining star of curriculum may be out of our reach at the moment, and we feel discontent.   We've spent our homeschool budget for the year, and can't afford this great new supplemental book, so we feel discontent.  Our homeschooling friend has a school room, and we don't, so we feel discontent.  Our homeschooling friend's children are ahead of ours, so we feel discontent.  Our homeschool friend is using the method we'd like to, but our husband says no, so we feel discontent.  The list could go on and on.

When I was a teen, I had to make myself quit reading fashion magazines, because it bred discontentment and depression in me.  When I was a young wife and mom, I had to quit reading novels for the same reason.  Now as a mom of a large homeschooling family in a small house, I have quit reading home decorating magazines, because I become discontent with the size of my own home.  And there are times that  I have to set aside the homeschool catalogs as well.  I have to choose NOT to read about all the things I can't afford to buy because I am letting discontentment settle in my heart.  Mainly, I have to stop comparing my circumstances with others circumstances.

We can eliminate the things that feed the discontentment, but we still have to deal with the spiritual root of the issue.  Thankfulness squelches discontentment.  Thankfulness develops contentment. 

When I'm feeling discontent, and focused on the negatives, I practice the old exercise of counting my blessings.  I journal (or blog) all the things I have that I am thankful for.  There are even things to appreciate about a small home -- no carrying laundry up and down stairs, can hear what the children are doing at all times.  And there are things to appreciate about the curriculum you do have, and the school area you have.  Once I get the list started (which can be difficult), the words come faster and easier.  Soon, I'm on a roll and wondering how long to go on before stopping. 

When I look at my list, I realize how selfish and ungrateful I've been.  I am blessed just to be able to stay at home with my children and homeschool, regardless of what curriculum we use, whether we have a school room, or where my children are academically.  I am blessed, and I need to acknowledge that. 

Being thankful develops contentment, and it brings the Lord's peace.  If you're struggling with contentment, take time today to give thanks to God.  Not just today, but every day.

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."    1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."   Philippians 4:4-7

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."   Colossians 3:15-17

April E.  (ElCloud Homeschool) is a Homeschool Mom of 6.  She has homeschooled for over 7 years, and enjoys sharing the things she's learned in her homeschool journey with others. 

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