Friday, May 09, 2014

Serious Contentment

Roses, by Licinio Barzonti, 1857-1944

When I look at the dates of this artist, I think of all the turmoil and war in his lifetime, and note that he still painted such glorious pictures.

Today I would like to address the quality of contentment. Although my message is for older women, I must tell the younger women that this is something that should be cultivated during younger years. If it is not a settled part of your character, it has to be learned later on, and can be more difficult, but not impossible. Older women who never cultivate contentment can become restless or create tension and problems for other people.


The 1828 dictionary definition of contentment is as follows:


Content; a resting or satisfaction of mind without disquiet; acquiescence.

CONTENTMENT, without external honor, is humility.

Summer's Day in the Flower Garden, by Robert Peyton Reid
"Disquiet" is an old word that describes the opposite of contentment:

DISQUIET, adjective [dis and quiet.] Unquiet; restless; uneasy. [Seldom used.]DISQUIET, noun Want of quiet; uneasiness; restlessness; want of tranquility in body or mind; disturbance; anxiety.DISQUIET, verb transitive To disturb; to deprive of peace, rest or tranquility; to make uneasy or restless; to harass the body; to fret or vex the mind.


Picking Roses, Percy Tarrant. (1879-1930)



One story that had a good illustration of how a woman learned contentment with her home, is "When Queens Ride By." The lady who writes the blog "Living on a Dime" has a good analysis of the woman in the story, here. She lists the things that made this woman worried and restless.


One thing on her list that stood out for me was "She spent her time on the run." This has a double meaning to me, as I have seen a few older women who got restless and neglected their husbands and houses to go and "save the world" by getting involved in what Is called the social gospel. They try to serve in so many causes that they lose their contentment and love for the home. They fall behind in their duties and are always playing "catch-up" or having to "crisis-clean". This is very stressful on older women, for they discover they do not have the energy to do it all.

You can read the story here, at Lilies of the Field and see a review of the film, here.



When Jesus was visiting Martha in her home, he noticed her anxiety and said, "You are worried about many things." Isn't that the way it is these days, as well? We are worried about many things.

One way to cut down on worry is to eliminate the negative news reports that enter your home through the media. Most of the time they are "wars and rumors of wars" that you are powerless solve. That leads to more anxiety. You will find as you get older that life never really changes very much in spite of all that bad news. You still have to go to the grocery store and look after your house and loved ones, hang out the laundry and write a letter to someone. The bad news just makes it harder to be content with the life you must live.

I mentioned at the top of this post that the artist lived during a time of great turmoil in the world, and yet he concentrated on making a masterpiece that would be enjoyed in ages to come. There is hardly a generation that has ever lived in a totally peaceful world where all the social problems were solved. These things cause "disquiet" today. The political situation was tumultuous during the creation of the New Testament church, and yet the Holy Spirit told Christians to be content:Philippians 4:11    Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.1Ti 6:8    And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

Older women who can be content and concentrate on the quiet activities of the home and accept life as part good and part bad, will have a contented countenance and a comforting bearing that is appreciated in the family and the church.

Contentment has to be learned through observation of how some situations work out. "Disquiet" solves nothing and wastes time. Contentment reduces anxiety and increases soundness of mind. To be content means to be happy creating an appealing atmosphere at home. Many contented women have made their home life a type of service to others by providing hospitality, or contentedly creating greeting cards to others, or refining their cooking skills. There are so many ways that contentment at home can benefit the family and outsiders.



Consider the account of Noah and his family, housed in the ark for a year. We can imagine what the women must have done to keep busy and content all that time. That was a very unique situation, but can you imagine having to stay inside your house for a year and not go get groceries or take your mother or sister out to the local tea room? Can you imagine not having any visitors for such a long time, not going for walks in your own yard or checking the mail? Thinking about Noah's family makes it easier to be content with our homes and families.


The Afternoon Read, by Paul Fischer

To plant contentment, pay serious attention to your home and the family, and be very particular about what you do at home and how you guide and guard the family (Titus 2). Spend some leisure time at home. You will find the home becoming your place of preference.

Note about the paintings: if you right-click and save, it should reveal the titles and artists.




Michelle said...

I really liked this post, thankyou.
I'm sure I will refer to it often in my mind.
Blessings x

Sola Scriptura said...

Thanks for sharing these beautiful works of art!!

becky said...

Thank you for this- I desperately need to take heed. We are having some difficult problems at our church and causing a lot of unrest in my mind. Quite timely.

Katrinka said...

Thank you, Lydia, this is something I needed to hear this morning.

The painting of the sheep and clothes on the line is my favorite.

Rightthinker said...

So wonderful..the peace that comes with a surrendered heart to Jesus surpasses all understanding. I know I must constantly go to My Lord and ask for His Spirit to fill me...if we are renewed and filled daily with Him, then we cannot be filled at the same time with discontent, worry or strife.

God bless you!

Yvette said...

Thank you! Just what I needed today. God bless! :)

Nancy Shuman said...

Thank you for a thought provoking post, and thank you for such a truly beautiful blog!

ChristyH said...

I really enjoyed this post.

Susan said...

I went to the link and read the story and it was very inspirational. It's just long enough to enjoy with a nice cup of tea. It seems like it was written just for us in today's world with all its trials and tribulations. Thanks for such a nice post.

living from glory to glory said...

Dear Lydia, We need to always look to the ways of our hearts! Stay in peace and then we can manage our homes with a gentle and quiet spirit!Loved the pictures and you are right about no matter what time period this world has been in, a home filled with love and beauty survived in His grace.
Yours, Roxy

Finding Joy said...

We all need to find contentment and peace in our lives and the only way is through Christ. Without Christ it is almost impossible.

anonymous said...

Before knowing Christ as my Savior and Lord,I experienced strife and disquiet in my life. At those times I would try escape by walking in peaceful places and look for things in nature: trees, blossoms, the songs of birds and watching wild animals. These were beautiful and they gave temporary peace, but that peace never lasted.
The peace I was searching for was finally found in a relationship with Jesus. I finally experienced contentment to its fullest.

Mrs. J.

Katrinka said...

In the painting of the woman with basket and flowers, the detail of her hair is fascinating. It almost looks like a photograph.

MonicasDaughter said...

I had developed a habit of reading "the news" in the world and in our Church every day. This made me very unhappy and negative in my life and around my family. I finally realized that there is practically nothing I can do about any of these things that are happening and I sure don't need to know about the crimes occurring across the country. So, this Lent, I stopped the news intake and I feel SO MUCH BETTER!

I think following the news gives us a false sense of involvement and control over our lives. We feel compelled to read, discuss and analyze all of this, but to what end?

Thank you for this post, I appreciate it very much.