Below is a continuation of a talk I gave at MOPS a few years ago on Contentment and Psalm 131. 

If you missed them, here are parts 1 ,23, and 4

Here’s what we’ve covered so far in the Spiritual Discipline of Contentment:

1. Ask God to remove any pride in your heart that is keeping you from being grateful./ Make a gratefulness list.

2. Ask God to guard your thoughts, so that you are not building towers in your own name./ Replace lofty thoughts with Scripture.  

Let me jump in and say this: I had a friend call me the other day, frustrated about her kids, “THIS IS NOT WORKING!”

These “steps” toward contentment are not meant to be a method that you do perfectly.

Contentment is a spiritual discipline, and as I said in part two, that means the work is God’s to do in our hearts over time. Spiritual disciplines are graceful ways to remind our body, heart, and soul of God’s grace, and to help us be purposeful with the gifts He has given us.

They are not meant to be done perfectly; they are meant to help us focus on Jesus. As you practice these “steps,” remember to ask God to move your heart towards Him.

Okay, jumping back out….

Psalm 131: Oh, Lord my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.

In verse two David writes, “I have stilled and quieted my soul. Like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.”

What a beautiful image—David is comparing a contented soul to that of a weaned child. This is the image of a baby who has just finished nursing and is resting in his or her mom’s arms. 

Hungry babies are anxious. They root around. Their limbs flail. They scream bloody murder. They are insatiable little beasts. A hungry baby is anything but content. 

But, a satisfied baby…ahh…the pleasure of a satisfied baby. Full on nourishment and sweet comfort, they are cute. They are angelic. They are QUIET.  

So, what does it mean for us to have souls that are stilled and quieted like a weaned child?

The words still and quieted in Hebrew in this context are interesting because they contain the idea of something that has been made smooth. That sounds odd at first – but what’s happening here is that David is continuing the idea of NOT being a tall tower—of not being concerned with selfish ambition and pride, those lofty things. 

Instead, he is focusing on those things which are directly in front of him—so that his gaze is even and smooth. 

This image reminds me of Matthew chapter six, where we are told not to worry about what we eat, drink, or wear because God will take care of our needs. Verse 33 and 34 say, “Seek the righteousness of God, and everything else will fall into place. Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

A contented soul isn’t anxious about the future, isn’t plagued by the past, and is certainly not stressed about

his or her own glory. 

Instead, the contented soul is stilled and quieted like a weaned child because it is resting in and leaning on God.

Similar to the way a newborn can only see the distance between hers and her mommy’s face; to be stilled and quieted is to be focused on God and on the people and circumstances He has put in your present path.

As I have studied this Psalm, my prayer has been this: 

That God would move my sight-lines downward to the exact height of my children so that I don’t miss out on any precious and holy moments with them.

The third step in the Spiritual Discipline of Child-like Contentment is:
  1. Daily Ask God to train your eyes to see and enjoy what is right in front of you.
How do you do that? In order to train my sight-lines to move away from whatever is distracting me, I have had to ask God to help me see the joy in the mundane and the glory in the ordinary. 

In our home, we have a little tradition called Celebrating Nothing.  

When I struggle with being present, when Scary Mommy comes out to play, I will do something, for instance, like put candles in our breakfast food. Recently we had a candle-lit cinnamon roll breakfast. It’s a little thing, but the simple act of turning a stressful morning into a candlelit meal delighted my kids and changed my attitude for the day. 

Another way we Celebrate Nothing as a family is by intentionally marking the little moments in life. When one of my sons finds a toy that’s been missing, I will make the entire family run around the house, shouting and singing. Or, on those rare occasions when my middle son–notorious for procrastinating at mealtime–finishes his dinner in a timely manner, we give each other high-fives and he gets to pass out stickers to everyone.

Photos are  huge part of our Celebrating Nothing tradition. I’m missing the Pinterest gene (it’s probably good I have three boys) because I don’t really care about crafting or baking. But, I AM addicted to I make annual photo albums and will regularly sit down with my older boys to look at photos from the past years, so we can celebrate the little moments. Look, bud you couldn’t ride a bike before, but now you can. Isn’t it cool how you are growing every day!

My sister-in-law has taken the Celebrate Nothing tradition to a whole new level. She’ll visit her favorite local bakery and order a cake with the words For No Good Reason written in icing. She’ll bring it home to her family and surprise them with a No Good Reason Bash. 

I know it sounds a little ridiculous, but Celebrating Nothing began in my house because I desperately needed to do something to remind myself to be childlike and enjoy the ordinary.

I want my children to see God at work in the normal moments of life, not just the huge ones. 

By creating these traditions as part of our family’s culture, we are learning to see God’s glory in the mundane. 

We are learning to move our eyes downward—away from the heights of those lofty towers—and towards the little blessings God has put right in front of our eyes. Blessings, which we might have otherwise missed. 

My hubby preached on Sunday on Psalm 16 and asked Why do we settle for so little, when God is offering us abundant joy and satisfaction? 

May God help all of us experience his joy, satisfaction, and contentment this week! 

What about you? How do you and/or your family celebrate the little moments in life? 

Next up: The Glory of Community

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