Lately I’ve been finding it a bit more difficult to be content with the home we have. (I think some of it might have to do with the fact that I’ve been house hunting with my mama for their upcoming move. Pesky realty envy!) We’re currently renting a little house in the Arts District of NE Minneapolis, and although it’s so much better than our last apartment, I still can get discouraged from time to time.
Whether it’s our awkwardly small bathrooms with no sinks, the brown shag carpet on the stairs, the slanted floor in our laundry room, the orange floral wallpaper in our bedroom, the never-ending supply of berries on our lawn furniture and yard, or the fact that our heating bill is humongous in the winter while I’m sitting shivering in our house, there’s always something I can find to complain about or wish were different.
But the reality is, we’re renting, so we can’t really do much about most of that stuff. And the more important reality is that we have the money to rent a home and fill it with lots of beautiful stuff that I love, so there isn’t any reason to complain! And for as many reasons as I can find to be discontent with our home, there are twice as many to be content—the fact that we have two bathrooms, a washer and dryer in our house (on the same level as our bedroom no less), a roomy kitchen with a dishwasher(!), beautiful wood floors, an office space, an actual yard, forced heat, trees to shade us from the summer heat, and lawn furniture that was an awesome Craigslist steal are all reasons to rejoice!
I think that I’ll always be able to find reasons to complain, if I’m looking for them. Even if we’re living in our dream home twenty years from now, I could always find a reason to be discontent (hello, social media!). But being discontent in a situation that you don’t have much power to change at the moment is not a good feeling. And not only is it an icky feeling, but it’s not the way that God created us to live. He calls us to be joyful in all things, to be content in all circumstances, and not to grumble or complain. Those all sound like tall orders, but thankfully He gives us His Holy Spirit to help us fulfill those callings.
So what are some practical ways that we can find contentment in the homes we have? Here are a couple ideas I have, and I’d love to hear any thoughts you have… so leave them in the comments!
- Change the things you can. A few months ago we asked our landlord if he’d be ok with us painting over the wallpaper in one of the rooms and he was. It made SUCH a difference (you can see it here), and we now spend way more time in that room because we actually like it!
- Keep a gratitude journal or share things you’re grateful for in your home and life with your spouse, children, or friends. Yesterday I posted on Instagram about gratefulness, and I really do think this one is a game changer! If we are constantly thinking about the things in our home that we don’t like or can’t change, we’re going to find ourselves in discontentment. But if we focus on those things that we do love and that are working, we’re that much closer to loving the home we have.
- Don’t get sucked into perfectly styled spaces on social media. Don’t be fooled by people’s perfectly styled photos on Instagram or blogs… because they are just that—styled! Most often those photos are not a realistic representation of what their homes look like day in and day out, and you can bet there’s usually a pile of laundry or dirty dishes just outside the frame of the photo. Gather inspiration from these photos, but don’t be tricked into jealousy or discontentment by them.
- Practice generosity by helping those who have less than you. It’s hard to be discontent with what you have when you’re helping those who aren’t as “well off” as you. Plan to volunteer at a food shelf or homeless shelter… you’ll soon forget about that new couch that you just must have.
- Ask the Lord to work on your heart in regards to contentment and thankfulness. Since contentment is a state of your heart, this is probably the most effective idea to fight discontentment that I came up with. The Bible says that our hearts are deceitful, so as much as it might feel like we need the latest and greatest when it comes to our home, if we ask God to create a thankful and content heart in us, those desires just might change.
So what do you think? I’m definitely preaching to the choir over here and plan on implementing some of these ideas to fight discontentment in my own life. What are some ways you fight for contentment in the home you have?