First I want to say Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I pray that you have an enjoyable time with family and friends on this holiday. If you are spending it alone I pray that you get some rest and much-needed relaxation by filling your day with pleasant thoughts, watching a funny show on TV, or perhaps volunteering your time to be a blessing and serve your community in some way. Today I want to share with you my thoughts on being thankful and content in a materialistic world. I know like me, you have noticed the inundated number of advertisements and commercials everywhere and even on every electronic device targeting consumers to make exorbitant amounts of purchases, now that we are heading into the Christmas season. I want to encourage you to be mindful of your movements, mindsets, and your money during this upcoming Christmas holiday.
In today's Western culture, we have been raised to believe that success, wealth, and the gaining of possessions contribute to our overall level of happiness. Not only are we swayed by this belief system, but we are targeted by marketing strategies backed by billions of dollars to convince us that what we have is not enough. Yes, it’s true having material possessions will bring temporary happiness and you will enjoy them for a moment. However, once the next big shiny item is advertised, what you had previously doesn’t make you happy anymore. Ladies, please hear my heart. Happiness is circumstantial, temporary, and fleeting; contentment goes deeper than just emotions and is based on your state of mind. True contentment comes from knowing you are at the center of God’s will, and it is impossible to obtain without a relationship with God. This is a famous quote of what Tom Brady had to say in an interview after he won his third Super Bowl ring. “I’ve reached my goal, my dream, my life. I think, God, it's got to be more than this.” Tom Brady is popular, successful, incredibly wealthy, and has achieved so much in his career; yet he wrestles with an internal dissatisfaction and belief that it still isn’t enough to satisfy him.
Queens, wealth, possessions, and success in themselves are not inherently bad things. Many verses in the book of Proverbs remind us that these things are a blessing from the Lord. But you must remember their place and that only in God alone can you find true fulfillment and contentment. John Cortines makes a very sharp statement in the book, True Riches: “The pieces go back in the box when the game is over.” In other words, this life is fleeting and the items you possess are temporary. Your relationship with God is eternal, and the only source of peace, contentment, and true lasting joy.
How can we learn to be thankful and content?
Ladies, it is imperative to pay attention and recognize that the world, temptations, and clever marketing schemes will try to distract you and create a hunger for more. Whether it’s a new tech gadget, the ideal income level, or that “dream home,” you may find yourself wrestling with contentment. Finding ways to establish healthy habits that will constantly point you back to God as the central focus of your life is the best way to deal with the ongoing challenge of remaining content. Ask yourself these questions:
What lies am I believing that is leading me away from being content in this moment?
If I do achieve the level of success I am working towards, or if I get the item I want, is that going to bring me long-term contentment and happiness? Am I trying to achieve it through this purchase or goal?
Am I content?
Queens, here are seven ways to help you on your journey to learning how to be thankful and content in a materialistic world.
Practice Gratitude Daily: Set aside a few minutes each day to reflect on the things you are grateful for. This can be done through journaling or simply taking a moment to mentally acknowledge the positive aspects of your life. Focusing on the good things, no matter how small helps shift the perspective away from material possessions.
Cultivate Mindfulness: Incorporate a mindfulness practice into your daily routine, such as meditation or deep-breathing exercises. Mindfulness can help you stay present in the moment and appreciate the non-material aspects of life, fostering a sense of contentment that goes beyond material possessions. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things”. (Philippians 4:8 KJV)
Engage in Acts of Kindness: Ladies I encourage you to make it a routine practice to engage in acts of kindness and generosity. Helping others, whether through volunteer work or simple acts of kindness, can provide a sense of fulfillment and connection with the community, emphasizing the importance of relationships over material goods.
Reflect on Values and Priorities: Identify and reflect on your core values and priorities. By understanding what truly matters to you on a deeper level, you can make choices aligned with your values, rather than succumbing to societal pressures to accumulate material possessions.
Limit Exposure to Materialistic Influences: Queens, do your best to minimize exposure to materialistic influences, such as excessive advertising or social media content that promotes a consumerist lifestyle. Creating boundaries with these influences can help reduce the desire for material possessions and foster a more authentic sense of happiness and contentment.
Foster Real Connections: Invest your time and energy in building meaningful relationships. Genuine connections with friends and family can provide a strong support system, emotional fulfillment, and a sense of belonging that transcends material wealth.
Practice Contentment and Simplicity: Embrace the philosophy of contentment and simplicity. This involves finding joy and satisfaction in what you already have rather than constantly seeking more. Simplifying life, decluttering physical spaces, and appreciating the beauty in simplicity can contribute to a more thankful mindset in a materialistic world.
My beautiful sisters, as a CHRISTIAN Counselor, I want to encourage you to find peace, contentment, and happiness in this one life God has given us. Please understand my heart. There is nothing wrong with enjoying material possessions. God wants us to have them and enjoy them, just don’t let them have you!
Call to Action: Begin today to find ways within your lifestyle to be content. Focus on bringing true joy and happiness to your life that is long-lasting.