Thursday, February 28, 2008

Frugal Friday -- Contentment

As this is my first Frugal Friday posting, I decided to post the one thing that makes the biggest difference in keeping our budget low – contentment. Maybe a little too philosophical, but I have something more practical in mind for next week, born out of contentment.

: Paul summed it up well in Philippians 4, “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.” Contentment does not desire things to be different than they already are.

Contentment sometimes means not flipping through department store or home improvement store ads. It sometimes means going months, or years, without an item that might actually make life easier, maybe never getting it. Contentment means recognizing God’s provision right where you are (Paul often wrote from prison, and yet exhibited great contentment.)

Contentment has saved me financially as I trust in God’s sovereignty, God’s provision, God’s wisdom in blessing me as He sees fit, God’s timing. I can then wait and have joy in where I am with what I have. I have truly learned to be content without some things that at one time or another I wanted to own (a horizontal breadmachine, a Dyson vacuum, a grain mill, various books, a food processor, stoneware pans, etc., etc.) Some of these items were silly whims, some I would still like to have, but I am content without any of them. This has saved me hundreds, and likely thousands of dollars over the years.

Contentment comes from trusting God first and foremost. He will give us the wisdom and the faith to trust Him.

Contentment comes from counting blessings.

What do we really need? If you have a computer, then you likely have far more than you really need.

We need some clothes, daily food, and shelter. We don’t need a dozen outfits for each season, multiple course meals every weekend, snacks, houses with multiple bedrooms, two cars. Many Americans have all those things and more, but the essentials that we can find contentment in are much simpler. What has God blessed you with beyond what you need? Children, a loving and hard-working husband, a stand mixer, a three bedroom (or more!) house, three full meals each day, Christian fellowship, the Bible, the internet with more information than you could ever track down or process, shoes, great recipes, and on and on. Contentment comes when we realize just how much He has given.

Contentment comes from an eternal perspective. How much does any of that even matter when we remember what a drop in the eternal bucket of time this earthly life is? If we only pass through this life with our salvation, it is more than we deserved.

I don’t know that anyone can say they have mastered the attitude of contentment, but when our choices intentionally and through faith in God take us further down that path, living a frugal life will be just one of many blessings we will receive.


Sarah Corbin said...

Thank you so much for such a comprehensive first post! You're completely right, and I agree that contentment is the greatest thing a budget could ever have! If we concentrate on eternity ahead, we will invest most in others, not in things, and hopefully bring those others to heaven with us. In a world that says, "You're worth it; take some 'me' time", what a breath of fresh air to focus on someone else's spiritual needs rather than my own material "needs" Thank you again; your post has blessed my day.

Vanessa said...

Thank you for your beautiful post!

BarbaraLee said...

Your right. If we don't appericate the things we do have we would be miserable. I was like that when we 1st moved into this place 3 yrs ago. We had these plans and they weren't fitting into place. So I did a lot of praying. God has brought me to love my little house and now I don't even want to build later. I just want to change what we have to suit us. I don't like all this fancy computerize stuff you find on appliances, just turn the knob and start. The simplier the better.

Lisa said...

I think this is the best Frugal Friday tip I have ever read. Not that the others aren't great ideas too, but we need to learn to be content with what God has already given us (I remind myself of that every time I look at my floors that really could stand to be replaced) Thank you, your post has gotten my day off to a great start.

Melonie said...

AMEN and AMEN! :-P

This is an excellent post - you worded it all beautifully! Great job.

I agree wholeheartedly with your comments about the 'want' items - I'd love to have the Dyson, the bread machine, certain books; it's like you read my mind but said it all so much more concisely and clearly. I have a friend who shops with a madness, and one who spends everything but never seems to know what it was spent on - and they can't figure out why I'm content with what I have and why I'm happier when I'm NOT spending. I like things smaller and easier to organize (with less "stuff" to trip over).

Welcome to Frugal Fridays!!!