"Once we clearly acknowledge the soul, we can learn to hear it's cries. - Dallas Willard, Renovation Of The Heart."

It takes courage to pursue our dreams. It takes time and patience to unearth buried treasure. But I believe with all my heart that we must do both.


journey to contentment

You have seen this journal spread before.  This learning contentment thing is not easy.  In fact it's hard.  And I am trying to figure out the difference with being content with how things are...but still dreaming dreams.  I think they co-exist.  They have to...we must have dreams.

I am reading "The Greener Grass Conspiracy" and the author say this, "Contentment is first and foremost a matter of the heart.  It's possible to deny yourself every worldly pleasure and still be discontent...Self-denial doesn't automatically lead to contentment. In fact, self-denial can cause us to miss opportunities to enjoy wonderful gifts from God. Steak is a gift from God. Coffee is a drink that is 95 percent heavenly. When I eat a medium-rare steak and give thanks to God for the happiness that is occurring in my mouth, I honor God. Self-denial does not equal contentment.  On the flip side, it's possible to have everything this world has to offer and still be furiously discontent.  King Solomon's life was a constant pleasure cruise. He really did have everything this world could offer - money, women, power, luxury, and all the alcohol he could drink. Yet after a life of hedonistic exploits, Solomon made the following observation.

Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had 
expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving
after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.
(Eccl. 2:11)

Having it all doesn't equal contentment." 

He also says, "Contentment is a disposition of the heart that freely and joyfully submits to God's will, whatever that will may be."

So being content doesn't mean I do not or cannot desire things.  God give us desires.  But I do have to ask myself, do I desire the thing more than I desire God or his will in a certain situation?

You know this Christian life, journey is such an organic thing.  It's not this list of things we can and cannot do. It's an ongoing process...relationship is a better word.

So this is where I have landed for now.  I say for now because God continues to teach me, changing my heart and mind where I sees things incorrectly.

There are a few dreams that seem to keep hanging on...I have asked God to remove them if they are not also his dreams for me.  To keep me on the right path.  But I am learning to be content where he has me right now.  It may be those dreams will come to fruition...but it will be in his timing not mine.  As I keep plugging along my prayer is that he adjusts my thoughts, desires, dreams where they are not in keeping with his for me...but I keep dreaming.

I would love to hear about your journey.

Grace and Peace


jgr said...

Mary this is such a great post! I love the subject of 'contentment'. It reminds me of a favorite quote: "Success means getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you have." Thank you for your insightful post not to mention your gorgeous and colorful art. You always inspire me!

Pom Pom said...

It IS hard to get our minds around contentment. We "think" so much. I like to consider that expectancy is similar to contentment.

Jennifer Richardson said...

loving this post
with a contented sigh
and grateful for the grace
that will always be more
than enough:)
love you and your beautiful colors,

Nancy said...

Mar, you are right...contentment and dreams have to coexist....I guess it's finding the balance between the two and desiring for God to show us what is from Him and what is of us.........Being a person who knows what they want, that has always been an issue for me.......sometimes I can't see the trees for the forest...you know what I mean..? He has been dealing with me lately about being STILL and LISTENING so I am hoping I will find more contentment and more dreams as I sit and talk to the One with all the answers.....

Love you girl.....

Chris Graham said...

Excellent post!!! Contentment is a matter of the heart as you said it doesn't mean we can't have dreams or goals. It does mean to me that if we give those dreams and lay them in God's hands He allows them to happen at just the right time so we aren't constantly striving to make them happen=
contentment. Thank you so much.

Anita said...

Mary I am still trying to abide!!! Now you want me to tackle contentment....UGGGH
Love the post though...thought provoking

rachel awes said...

oh yes, to actively build a contented life...
part of our creative venture. xoxox

Mechelle said...

Wow Mary, what a good blog post. That is a struggle unfortunately we all must face. If only we can be like Paul to be content in whatever circumstances we are in at the time. It definitely is a journey because our hopes and dreams are not being fulfilled now, while others seemingly are being fulfilled right now.

LeeAnn@Encouragement Is Contagious said...

Oh girlfriend, I am in the exact same place and asking in my heart that question too just as you put it:
"I am trying to figure out the difference with being content with how things are...but still dreaming dreams."

I have come to the conclusion (at least for today) that it's one day at a time, and listening for God's voice to show me what is for today. I don't think he wants me to give up my dreams, but he might want to change them up a bit. All I know is about the time I think I'm just gonna throw in the towel and give up on that dream, well something small and special happens that tells me he doesn't want me to give it up but to just trust him and continue on patiently one day at a time doing what I'm doing and continuing to give him my heart's desires.(dreams) When I see a little birdie flying, I often feel like God is telling me that if I trust him I too will be free to fly. But this contentment thing is a toughy! I may have to get my hands on that book you are reading. I need it too.

If you ask me Mar, you are already flying in many areas. God has used you to encourage so many this year with starting your art ministry at your church and speaking engagements about art journaling etc...YOU ARE A BEAUTIFUL SOUL WHO IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE.

♥Lee Ann

Amanda Trought said...

Mary, great to be here, thank you for sharing, I think God requires us to dream big, look at the revelations he had in the bible and the promises made to individuals they had to accept that what seemed impossible was going to be made possible. Whatever we could possible dream God has 100 times better waiting for us, the real test is having the confidence to step out in faith. Love the colours you use in your journals, going to take a stroll over to your etsy store. Stay blessed and have a great weekend. Amandax