Past Blast: Fake It Til You Make It?

From my journal, Dec., 2008:

Contentment: I struggle with contentment at this time of year. I realize I am more materialistic than I wish to be – I wish I had piles of money to buy lavish gifts for loved ones, and let’s be honest, I wouldn’t mind a few little piles to replace my hated carpet with wood floors and to take a trip or two or five – but it is more than that. I want to be better than I am. Or, perhaps it is more accurate to say I am better than I want to be. I serve when I want to be lazy, I open the house when I want to be alone, I engage when I prefer to withdraw, I encourage when I feel like giving a good shake, and I pull along when I’d happily be towed. Am I the only one? Is it disingenuous of me to do the opposite of my inclination? Or is it correct to simply do right no matter what?

Mentor: A woman could choose a worse life coach than Abigail Adams. I find her words below germane to my character struggles. I can do good, but I wonder if I am good. I wonder if I will ever get to the point where good is what I always WANT to do, really and truly, through and through. “To be good, and do good, is the whole duty of man comprised in a few words.” — Abigail Adams

Detail of building in Williamsburg, VA; same era as Mrs. Adams, but not the same location

Am I alone in these struggles?

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  1. Samantha
    Posted November 26, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Contentment this time of year is hard on everyone. Some admit to the problem, others either ignore it or lie to themselves. I too would love to buy some amazing gifts for my family. Stephen has always dreamed of having one of the HUGE red metal tool boxes. I would love to be able to purchase him one, but that will take more than half of my budget for Christmas. I would love a new Kitchen Aid and a few other expensive kitchen gadgets. I also know that I NEED a new bed as this one is causing a lot of problems for Stephen and I both.

    As for doing good, I’ve come to the conclusion that if I am open to good works, God will put them in my path. It is then up to me to be a willing servant. This means losing self and being what He wants and needs me to be. Am I good? No, no one is Good but God, but I will spend the rest of my life trying to be like Him. That my dear friend, is all you need to worry about. Becoming more like our savior, and trusting that with your faults that His grace will flow over you and to those around you. His glory will shine through you if you let it.

    • Posted November 28, 2012 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      You make good points here, Samantha, although I’d argue that there are people who are perfectly content in spite of the gift-giving season. I aspire to be one of those. Being a willing servant is a helpful thought for me. A servant doesn’t necessarily prefer to serve, but if he does it willingly he is counted a good servant by God. I find myself in that situation sometimes.
      Lori recently posted..Real-LifeThanksgivingMy Profile

  2. Anita
    Posted November 26, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    My discontent has less to do with material things, but that my world can’t be the way I want it. I want everyone else to be happy…to be here…to be holy…to let *me* control the situation 🙂 I need to remember to “let go and let God,” to borrow a cliche.

    I might be a little *too* content with the material possessions. I could probably use a style update in many areas.

    • Posted November 28, 2012 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      I’d say discontent for me is much more often not really about material things either, but when I get asked for a “wish list” I do the same thing every year: at first I think, “There really isn’t anything I want or need,” but then as I begin to think about it I move onto “it would be nice to have _____,” and before I know it in the back of my mind I’m thinking, “Boy, if I don’t get ______, I’ll be really sad!” Then I have to give myself a mental shake and a talking-to and get back on track. 🙂
      Lori recently posted..Past Blast: Fake It Til You Make It?My Profile

  3. Posted November 26, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    Do right no matter what. Or as Charlotte Mason says, ” I am, I can, I ought, I will”. Lead with the mind and the heart will follow.

    • Posted November 28, 2012 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      Love this motto, Church Mouse, and I try, albeit unknowingly until not, to live by it. I just wish I could grow to the point that I could always say, “I am, I can, I ought, I WANT, I will.”
      Lori recently posted..Past Blast: In Other News, We’ve Got a DogMy Profile

  4. melaine
    Posted November 28, 2012 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Great thoughts/post Lori. I missed this the first time through, maybe because that is when Tilly was so small. I very much feel the same way, in all aspects. Why can’t I be a selfless, giving, caring, thoughtful person all the time, or does the fact that I do it even when I don’t want to mean that I am? I think these kinds of feelings/questions display themselves in so many aspects of our lives: marriage, our faith, serving others. Sometimes I “feel” so full of the Spirit and I attend all the meetings and groups because I’m so full of fire that I couldn’t not go, and sometimes I “feel” so low that I almost drag myself there because I know I should. Sometimes I “Feel” so in love with the hubby that I want to serve him, put him first, can’t wait to be near him, and sometimes I do these things because I made the commitment. I agree with Church Mouse a lot in that we lead with our minds and the heart will follow, not just leading with our feelings/emotions because these are so variable (at least at my house they are). I must determine the person I want to be, the role I want to play and then live it, yes sometimes I will be excited and dedicated and sometimes I’ll be playing the role. Don’t know if any of that made sense or was just rambling.

  5. Posted November 29, 2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    I try to separate contentment from the circumstances of my life, actually. Maybe that can seem like burying my head in the sand to some, but I think of it as finding my contentment in God. I also find that when I name my blessings to myself, joy bubbles up in me and I feel humbled by all the reasons I can be content.

    On a very practical level, it helps me to stay out of retail stores and not look at catalogs. There are always things I could buy, but if I don’t look, I don’t think about them so much 🙂 Making things is very satisfying to me, so that’s how I try to deal with needs in my home/closet.
    Margo recently posted..Ben Elevates Basic CornbreadMy Profile

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