Choosing to Commit to a Summer of Contentment

Developing a heart of contentment can be challenging even in the midst of the summer season when the living is supposed to be “easy”. Contentment is defined as “having an ease of mind or satisfaction.”[1] Contentment, from a biblical perspective, is much more than mere satisfaction with life. For the Christian woman the dictionary definition of contentment merely reflects the outward manifestations of an individual’s deep, inner convictions. Would you like to reflect back on this summer as one that reflects that application of 1 Timothy 6:6 which teaches that “there is great gain in godliness with contentment”? Perhaps the following strategies will assist in fulfilling that desire.

 

Summer Contentment Strategies

“ . . . I have learned in whatever situation I am in to be content.”

Philippians 4:11

  • Focus on the beauty of the season. The book of Psalms is an excellent source for summer meditation. Begin today by dividing the number of days you have remaining until Labor Day, frequently defined as the “official end of summer,” by the 150 Psalms. Purpose to finish the book by Labor Day. Remember as you read that the Psalms are directed to the will, not the emotions. As you read underline or highlight each time you read the phrase, “I will.” When your emotions attempt to control the season purpose to allow your will to be your reflex reaction.
  • Keep a gratitude list. Use Psalm 103 as your guide to remembering all of your heavenly Father’s goodness to you. Record at least one blessing a day (even if was a challenging day, you are still breathing :)). Review the list before retiring each evening.
  • Maintain realistic expectations. Remember that your heavenly Father will give you the strength, financial resources, time, and ability to create the summer season He has planned for you. He has promised to meet all of your needs not all of your wants (Phil 4:13, 19).
  • Set personal goals so that at the conclusion of the summer you can reflect on a season of productivity rather than slothfulness. Remember that the person who aims at nothing hits the mark every time (Prov 29:11).
  • Set priorities. Focus on what is important and release the “nice to do but not critical” tasks or activities.
  • Use caution in confusing excellence with perfection in the tasks you desire to accomplish. Excellence you can achieve through our heavenly Father’s strength. God is the only one who achieves perfection. Consider meditating on these references relating to excellence while you work and play—Deuteronomy 32:1-4; Psalm 8:1; Isaiah 12:1-5; 1 Corinthians 3:13; Romans 12:2 rather than demanding that the summer be perfect. Remember when approaching a task fretting that your contribution will be inadequate may set you up for failure. Though the fretting could motivate you to succeed it may be at the cost of being so stressed that you or those who are with you do not enjoy the effort your expended.
  • Choose to have a forgiving spirit. Forgiveness is the foundation of all relationships—especially behind the closed doors of our homes. Though the actions of others will at times disappoint us, from a biblical perspective we are to forgive them unconditionally. It is a sobering thought to realize that relationships fracture if we refuse to forgive. When our sinful reactions collide with another’s anger often results. Anger breeds an unforgiving spirit and damages relationships. To avoid that heartache, Ephesians 4:26 calls us to deal with broken relationships before we lay our heads on the pillow at night. Matthew 5:43 teaches that to forgive is the most God-like action possible. God by nature is a forgiving God. We reflect His character when we choose to forgive (Eph 4:32; 1 Jn 1:9).Peter generously offered to forgive seven times. Jesus corrected his faulty reasoning by suggesting that he was to forgive at least 490 times! Matthew 18:21-35 clearly teaches that those forgiven the greater sins are to forgive the lesser sins. We practice the truth of these when we offer the same mercy to others that God daily extends to us. Holding a grudge is an unrighteous act. Eventually it will produce a bitter spirit. How many times are we forgive others? The same number of times we are forgiven—a number that far exceeds 490!
  • Set and adhere to a realistic budget. List all of the activities you would like to do during the summer season. Explore the cost of each, prioritize its importance, and prayerfully consider each in terms of long-term spiritual, physical, and emotional benefit. Once the budget is established evaluate future spending in light of remaining funds. Purpose to end the summer with a surplus rather than indebtedness.
  • Expand your summer hospitality calendar. Summer is the time to open your home and hearts to those you may not have time to extend hospitality to during other seasons of the year. Be sure to include a variety of categories of people—singles, widows, and the grieving for starters.
  • Work smarter, not harder. Setting aside specific days for shopping, food preparation, and other activities lessens stress. Make lists and use a calendar to schedule tasks to do and events to attend. Refuse to double book yourself!
  • Maintain regular meal, exercise, and sleep patterns. Taking care of yourself will help you more fully enjoy the season.
  • Exhibit confidence in God’s Sovereignty. Embracing the knowledge that God is Sovereign and is in control of all life’s circumstances regardless of the summer’s outcome frees us from frustration and bitterness when our expectations are unmet (1 Chr 29:11; Isa 55:8-9; Rom 11:33; 1 Cor 2:7; Eph 1:5,11). We will never fully comprehend God’s ways, plans, or purposes. We must walk by faith, trusting in the fact that God is accomplishing His perfect, sovereign plan—even when we do not understand!
  • Anticipate a summer of contentment by meditating on what is right in your life. Listen to music and scripture that relaxes, revives, and keeps you focused on the truth that God is a good God regardless of life’s circumstances (Ps 52:1; 119:68; Nah 1:7; 1 Jn 1:5).

Developing contentment is not passively moving through life, but rather a confident patience to see God’s will accomplished in His perfect timing. This confidence comes from the biblical truths that God is sovereign, God is good, and God is completing His work in you (Phil 1:6). Don’t waste precious time or energy this summer worrying and questioning God’s work in your life. Rather, invest your time and energy into meeting the needs of others and purposing to enjoy each day to its maximum potential. Choosing to do so will contribute to you experiencing a summer of contentment (Phil 4:11-12).

 

A Special Invitation

If you are in the Fort Worth area consider scheduling a tour of Horner Homemaking House, Southwestern’s Management Model where our Homemaking classes are taught.

 

[1] Thorndike Barnhart Advanced Dictionary, 2nd ed., s.v. “contentment”.