Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Woman to Woman Conference: Contentment

The first workshop I attended this last Saturday during the Woman to Woman Conference at Corban University was called Contentment, taught by Anne Jeffers. Here's a brief description of the breakout session from the brochure:

Often a student will say, "I can't wait until I graduate and begin really living." If it isn't graduation, retirement, vacation or the weekend, it is something else for which we are waiting. How can we learn to be content in the season of life in which we live? Contentment is a learned virtue, and this session will address the process.

Doesn't that "season of life" idea fit in so well with this blog? I met Mrs. Jeffers last semester when I went to a few of the Sunday School classes her husband teaches at Bethany Baptist Church. She is so sweet!

This was a fun workshop, and it was definitely pertinent to my life--contentment is something I really need to work on! It's not that I don't have plenty of things to be thankful for, because I most certainly do! But I have materialistic tendencies as well as a constant eagerness for future activities that hinder contentment.

Mrs. Jeffers shared a lot of wonderful verses, ideas, and quotes with us about contentment and all that it entails. Here are some of the notes I wrote down:
  • Contentment--a willingness to be satisfied with God's provision.
  • If I can get my wants closer to my needs, I'll be a rich woman.
  • Note the connection between contentment, gratitude, and generosity.
  • Hebrews 13:5
Here are some tips she shared for changing the way we think:
  • Be aware of the snowball effect of your thinking. (In other words, how do you start your day? What do you think about the first thing in the morning, and how does that lead to other thoughts, whether negative or positive?)
  • Do one thing at a time.
  • Live this day as if it were your last.
Not necessarily easy things to do, but these are definitely good things to work on and to remember!

At the end of the session, Mrs. Jeffers gave us some journal pages so we could write down what we were thankful for. She also had us take some daily calendar pages with various ideas of what we can be grateful for. I have to say, of the two pages I took with lists on them, one of my favorites was:

officers in dress uniform

OK, is there any woman who isn't thankful for that? ;)

Overall I enjoyed the workshop, and it offered some great perspectives for me. Contentment can involve being content with the things we have been given, which are only temporary--something I hope the Contentment Reading Challenge will remind me of!

But contentment is an attitude that doesn't involve just things, but also circumstances. God has placed each one of us in a specific place in time while we are in this world, and only in the present can we do anything--the past is gone and (as Anne Jeffers noted) "tomorrow is God's, not ours."

May we grow in contentment and live each day and each moment He gives us for Him!

6 comments:

Casey said...

Very well said Amber and I completely agree. If our wants matched our needs we could go through life with a lot less baggage and a lot more joy. :)

Amber S. said...

Casey,

Thank you! :) I like the way you put it:

"If our wants matched our needs we could go through life with a lot less baggage and a lot more joy."

Something I need to remember, for sure!

~Amber

Vince said...

Hi Amber:

The stoics made of philosophy of limiting their wants. The most famous stoic lived in a bath tub and was admired by Alexander the Great.

But I don’t look at contentment as being satisfied with matching what you want with what you have. That’s a balance scale type of contentment. (Think of all the rich people who are not content.)

I think contentment is more a matter of being at peace with your situation in life. It’s an understanding and awareness that whatever your current situation is you are secure in your faith and at peace with it. I think it is expressed in the saying, “Let go, Let God.”

This is a very interesting topic. I'm looking forward for more of your posts.

Thanks,

Vince

Amber S. said...

Vince,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

I confess that the note, "If I can get my wants closer to my needs, I'll be a rich woman," kind of confused me. But I like the way Casey put it--the idea that God knows our needs and provides for us, and if we have all we need, what more can we want? Our extra wants can become "baggage" if they turn to greed, although God often gives us far more than our "basic" needs. He blesses us so greatly! Hope that makes sense. ;)

I especially like what you wrote in the third paragraph of your comment:

"It’s an understanding and awareness that whatever your current situation is you are secure in your faith and at peace with it."

For sure! When we trust in the Lord and rest in Him, we can be at peace no matter what our circumstances (Philippians 4:11-13). The circumstances we face in this world will change, but when we believe in the Lord and are saved through His grace, our hope/eternal destiny is secure. God is in control, and we can be content in all circumstances when we truly believe that.

Thank you for the great reminder! :)

~Amber

Kav said...

Hi Amber,

I'm playing catch up again. Thanks for giving us blog reviews of the Woman to Woman Conference you attended. I love this idea of contentment. And I just finished a book not too long ago by Gayle Roper -- The Stranger's Wish -- and it dealt with this concept. The way she wrote it into the story really made me stop and do a self-evaluation. I might just have to join in on your Contentment Reading Challenge even though I can barely fit all the new books I haven't read yet into my reading schedule! Such a dilemma!

Amber S. said...

Kav,

No worries! :) Thank you so much for taking the time to look back over older posts--that means a lot to me!

I'm more than happy to share my conference experience with ya'll. (And I have two more posts coming next week sometime on the conference, as well, just as a heads up!)

That book sounds really good! I love it when I find a book that makes me think and resonates with me. :)

And don't feel obligated to join the challenge if you're unsure about it. But if you would like to, you can make it as easy or as challenging as you want (you can make your own levels if the ones I made don't really work for you). I recently had to decide to choose a lower challenge level because I've been so bad about not re-reading! I know just what you mean about barely fitting in all the new books...

Anyway, thank you for stopping by! :)

~Amber