Have you ever noticed that we tend to put ourselves in a box? Think about it. It’s so easy to define ourselves by specific things or circumstances that show up in our lives. In my personal box, there’s my incredible wife, my two teenage sons, my house, my job as a pastor. In my spare time, I like to ride my bike. You get the idea. That’s pretty much me. In my box. All summed up.
The problem is, when I think about my life this way, it’s easy to get preoccupied with the wrong thing. Did you notice it when I described my box? Were you paying attention to what I said? Yeah, it’s the word my.
It’s interesting how such a small word can make such a big difference in the way you feel about the world. As long as I keep thinking about this as “my” box, then it becomes very natural, for me to think about “me” a lot. It’s also logical for me to decide that the more stuff I get in my box, the happier I will be.
I’m sure you never do this, but I catch myself sometimes looking around for more stuff to add to my box. Sometimes, I actually want something that’s not in my box, simply because it’s not in my box. Instead of being grateful for what I have, I become frustrated because of what I don’t have. I have even been known to look in someone else’s box, and want something because they have it and I don’t.
Something radical happens when I look at my box, or my life, as not really mine. When I see my box as really God’s gift to me, it changes everything. When I see that all the stuff in here is somehow connected to God and the story He wants to tell with my life, it begins to change the way I see everything. When my world doesn’t revolve around me, my situation looks a lot different.
Trust me, whenever you remember to shift your focus from “me” to God, it will affect your level of contentment. Selfishness can ultimately lead your children to become sour, grumpy, unhappy and discontented. But when you teach them to see their life as a gift from God, it sets them up for a life of contentment and fulfillment.
That’s why this month in 252 Basics, we want to explain something to kids about contentment. One way you could define contentment is like this: Choosing to be happy with what you’ve got. In other words, you can choose to be happy because of what God has actually given you.
Contentment is a heart issue. The solution for being content is trusting God—in all circumstances, trusting in the One who is able to meet your needs each day.
Really, if we trust God, there’s not only no need to worry about tomorrow, but there’s no reason to be distracted by what others have, or what’s off limits, or what we we used to have. When we really trust God, we will be content with exactly what He has put in our box for today.
Do you struggle with contentment? How do you address the issue with your children?
Read more ideas on how to talk to your kids about the idea of contentment in the newsfeed.