When My Heart's NOT Content: What To Do?!

I've been feeling the need all morning to write a follow-up email to one of the posts I put up yesterday. Did I give the impression that from that point forward, I was totally content with what I have? If so, I apologize.

Although I sure wish that the amazing moment I had while standing in the middle of Pottery Barn would have been enough to sustain me for the rest of my life...it just wasn't! I still struggle plenty. And although I'm lucky enough to have the memory of that moment forever etched on my heart, I still forget sometimes. I forget about what's important. I forget that I have all I need. I forget that "The Lord is my shepherd, and I SHALL not want".

So I thought that I'd write today about what I do when I'm bitten by that "I-wanna-but-I-can't-afford-it" bug. Here's some of what works for me (not in any particular order) - maybe it will be helpful to you too:

1. Pray! As you've probably realized by now...I'm all about Jesus! Sometimes it doesn't feel like he's listening to me...or even there at all. But I have faith that He is. If anyone can straighten my heart out, I know it's Him.

2. Focus on Gratitude. I'm sure you've heard this one many times before...but that's because it's really REALLY effective! Sit and meditate on your blessings. Write them down if you have to (I usually have to). When you really focus on all that you have, the things you don't have seem much less abundant.

3. Take great care of what I already have. This is a big one for me. On the days when I feel really discontent, I get cleaning. I focus on the things that I have and how I can make them really sparkle. By the time I'm done cleaning, I'm usually so happy with the way things look around here that I don't want to go buy new things.

4. List my Priorities. I sit down and write down my priorities (I think while I write, if you haven't been able to tell already!) My #1 priority is my family. I want to take great care of them. I could do all the shopping I want...if I went back to work. But I want to be the one to raise my kids. It's mind-numbing and exhausting some days, but I truly don't want to do anything else. What's more important...making the house look nice, or being a SAHM? It's a no brainer for me. There will be plenty of time for beautiful new furnishings...later.

5. Kill Boredom. I love to shop. I love the superstores that enable me to buy a new CD, a new shirt, a bathroom rug, some yummy new soap...all on my quick trip to the store for milk. I'm positively addicted to shopping. But I've realized that what I'm trying to fix is boredom. How can I be bored with so much housework to do and stories to read? I have no idea. But I feel bored a LOT. Instead of heading to the store for "milk", I try to call a friend, read a book, take some pictures...something to kill the boredom. The "gotta shop" crisis usually passes when I just find something interesting to do.

6. Play "5x Why" I love this game. I ask myself "why..." usually about 5 times before I come to an eye-opening answer. An example:

Why do I want that new rug for the dining room?
I'd be excited and would make my dining room look nicer.

OK, why would I be excited about making the dining room look nicer?
I have fun making our house look nice.

Why do I need a new dining room rug to make the house look nice?
Our current dining room rug looks ratty.

Why does it look ratty?
It's got play dough and peas mashed into it.

Why is it dirty?
Because I haven't cleaned it in a while. Maybe I'll pull out the steam cleaner and give the rug a good once over instead of buying that new rug.

7. Have a pitty party. Sometimes I don't feel like doing any of these oh-so-wise things! I want pitty! I want someone to feel my pain with me! I want to cry and have a tantrum! So sometimes...I'm embarrassed to admit...I have my little pitty party. I whine and complain and cry...and just get it out of my system. Then I feel silly and immature, but I also feel a wee bit better. Hey, I'm only human.

Anonymous –   – (1/19/2008 11:39:00 AM)  

That 5 times "why" idea is very insightful! I was just running down the list about my interest in a new dining room rug... I haven't cleaned the current one in a while, either.

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