the four principles of contentment.

There are many times I wished I had bigger eyes or double eyelids, or that I was slightly taller, or that I was born with a silver (actually, I’d settle for a bronze) spoon in my mouth. I don’t know about you but sometimes I wished I had it a little better or had just a little more. In that respect, I reckon that “more” and “better” are detrimental words if you desire contentment.

In the last few months, I’ve dealt with youths who thought they weren’t good-looking, smart or capable enough; basically they felt inadequate about who they were, what God has given to them, and the roles they were to play in life – I don’t blame them, in fact, I do empathise with them.

From experience, I know that how they felt about themselves may just be a passing phase of their turbulent teenage-hood, but I also know from experience that some youths will really get caught in this vicious cycle of self-condemnation and an endless mire of comparison with the people around them. What a subtle trap this is!

I believe that, in order for you to avoid and escape this poisonous trap, you need to straighten the way you think. The following advice is what I’ve always offered to those whom I’ve had the privilege of counselling; may I offer you the four stop-starts of contentment:

  1. First and foremost, stop comparing yourself with others.
  2. Then, stop complaining about your situation.
  3. (Once you can change the way you think about your surroundings and circumstances,) start counting your blessings.
  4. Finally, start celebrating the successes of other people.

I won’t elaborate on the above because I want to keep it brief tonight. Perhaps another day I will expand on these four points. Incidentally, as I searched for scripture to support the above-mentioned points, I chanced upon something by CS that reverberated with what I’ve just written:

  1. Don’t focus on the situation, or you’ll become angry.
  2. Don’t focus on yourself, or you’ll become filled with self-pity.
  3. Don’t focus on someone to blame, or you’ll begin complaining.
  4. Don’t focus on the present, or you’ll miss the point of what God wishes to achieve in your life.

You know, each time I lament to God about my small, single-eyelid eyes, I could almost feel the Holy Smack on the back of my head and hear a deep, bellowing voice that says, “Be quiet, I gave you perfect eyesight”. The most appropriate reaction to that? -.-

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About Joey Asher Tan

Apart from Jesus, I can do nothing; I am absolutely nothing without Christ.

Posted on August 20, 2010, in Affirming Faithfulness, Attempted Provocation, Forever Young, Mentoring Minutes, Quote & Unquote, Retrospective Reflections, The Greatest Gift, Top Ten & Other Lists and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Lol!!! I like the small eyelids part!! Eh Couz u’ve been lamenting abt that for the longest time ESp when we take pictures during cny. But u’ll always have Johnson to make fun of! But wells God is really teaching u contentment when he gave u perfect eyesight! For me I’ve been thinking of growing taller ever
    since I learnt to compare my height with others! Ha. But now I’m
    ok with it. They say, good things come in small packages. How true! ;) ha!

    • haha. most of us in the family have small eyes… as for me, i’ve stopped wishing i’ll grow taller… instead, i’ve started advanced prayers for my children to be much taller than i am! hahaha.

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