So, I will let you in on PART of my Secret Experiment. It has to do with an Attitude Adjustment. 
I am currently on day 9, and have a lot of adjusting left…I’ll keep you posted.

That’s me, in a lab-coat and glasses. 
In the meantime:
Someone left a Life and Stylemagazine at my house last week. I was flipping through the pages and stopped at a nearly-naked picture of Jenny McCarthy with this tagline: Some Moms Can Pose Nude.
It went on to say that she may be 39 years old, and she may be a mom, but she looks great, so why not pose nude? 

As if: 

1) Being a mom automatically means you aren’t sexy. 
2) Being in your late 30’s automatically means you aren’t sexy. 
3) Pose Nude? Why not? If you look good, it’s no big deal.
This the the war against women’s bodies, aging, and motherhood that I am SO OVER.  

Life and Style magazine, you can bite me. 
In the same paragraph that assumes moms aren’t sexy, they then praise Jenny McCarthy for flaunting her naked figure on Playboy. It’s a mixed message, at the very least. At the most, it reminds us that the entertainment industry only values women for their bodies — and that beauty only belongs to the Playboy-Worthy Woman. It also speaks the lie that our bodies are not sacred — we can share them with anyone. 
As we begin to talk about childlike contentment, I wonder how much contentment we need to speak over our bodies, our mothering, and our womanhood? 

I know I owe myself a lot of grace and I owe God a lot of gratitude for how He has designed me. So, let me start by saying this: God, thank you for creating each woman who visits this blog in your image — the truest form of beauty. 
Okay, off of that soapbox. Here we go! This is part one of a talk I gave at MOPS a few years ago. Enjoy!
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.

This is one of my favorite passages of Scripture in the bible – although I think I say that every time I study a new passage, so don’t hold me to that. But, this psalm in particular is full of wisdom and beauty.

David (the assumed author of this song) is painting a picture of a child-like contentment – a soul that is still and quiet like a baby in his or her mother’s arms. If you’ve ever fed a hungry baby, you know how anxious and crazy they get. How loud they cry until they are fed, and then how pleasant, playful, and peaceful they can be after a good meal.

David assumes in this psalm that we are struggling with what it means to be content. When he writes, “I have calmed and quieted my soul,” he isn’t saying, “Oh look how awesome I am, I have attained the secret to a quiet heart.” 

No, he is saying something more like, “I am wrestling to have a quiet and contented spirit. God help me.”  

There is an ancient French priest named Jean Pierre de Causadde, who wrote a little booklet about the Sacrament of the Present Moment, or the art of finding God in the mundane.
When I feel frustrated as mom, especially after a difficult day or after obsessing over all of the things I am not accomplishing; or the fact that I am still hanging onto my extra baby weight (not in Playboy-worthy shape), I often comfort myself with the reminder that this is only a season.

Almost like — One day when I get through this, I’ll breathe a huge sigh of relief.

But, the truth is, I do not want to mother out of that attitude. Instead, I want to move into a place where I see this as the season I want to be in: a season for which I was created and a season in which I can learn to be content and satisfied- like Causadde says, “to find the sacred in the present moment.”

It is time for us to reclaim the Sacrament of the Present Moment.

So, how do we do it? That’s the big question, how do we learn to be content and present?

First, I think first we have to learn what contentment is not:
      
     Contentment is not found in having perfect circumstances. It can be one of those magical mothering days for me: I have just the right amount of creative energy mixed with patience. I wake up early and get dressed before my kids are even stirring. Once fed, I take them outside to play ball and go on an adventure walk. I prepare a devotional for them complete with an object lesson and craft. I clean my house, I make dinner, my children skip around the house singing catchy show tunes about me! And to top it all off, when my husband arrives home from work, we all sit down for an incredibly well-balanced, not to mention delicious, home-cooked meal.
Yet, as we all sit down to eat, my oldest will say something artful like, “Blech!” or my all-time favorite phrase, “Gross, mommy, I don’t like this!” And just like that, the mood is shattered and I, hulk-like, transform from Mary Poppins into a rage-o-holic, or better yet, from Super Mommy to “Scary Mommy” as I like to call her.
Our circumstances can momentarily change, based on our moods and the ever-changing moods and opinions of our children, or on larger scale changes like financial or family stress.

Contentment is something that has to be learned no matter where we are in life.
I was talking with a friend about this subject, and she confided that she almost looks for ways to be discontent. Our husband gets the great new job that we’ve been praying for, and soon we are complaining it’s not the right hours. Whatever it is, we trade contentment in so easily, when it’s based on our circumstances.
Contentment is not purgatory.This is good news, because learning to be content is not the Art of Giving Up. I heard a pastor once say that contentment is not resignation. Contentment is NOT, “Well, this is the best I’m ever going to get as a mom. This is the best my kids are ever going to be. This is the best my marriage will ever get. This is the best my life situation will be. I better just learn to suck it up and deal.” 

I think a lot of Christian women are ashamed to admit that they are stuck in marital and mothering purgatory. They are married to loving and godly husbands, and so feel guilty admitting their dissatisfaction with sex, companionship, and life as a mom.  The good news about practicing contentment is it means we don’t have to settle for less—God can gives us lives that are filled with joy and satisfaction.
Contentment is not a personality trait. This is probably the most comforting for me. I often think of contentment as a state of being at which some women have just arrived, and once arrived, they stay solidly there. I’ve often looked at other women and just thought, “wow, she has got her act together. She is just a better mom than me. She simply exudes “joie de vivre.” But, contentment is NOT something that God has just unfairly bestowed upon some women and not others.
So, what is contentment? 

Contentment is a spiritual disciplineand before that begins to feel like one more thing you have to add to your to-do-list and then feel guilty about not accomplishing, be encouraged…

Because if contentment is a spiritual discipline, it means that God can move our hearts towards being more content more of the time. 
Next time we will look more closely at the Psalm and what the Spiritual Discipline of Child-like Contentment is. 

For now, I will be praying for each of you, that you experience joy and pleasure in your life’s situation this week (even if, God-forbid, you are a NOT a woman posing for Playboy.) 


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