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DEFINING CONTENTMENT

seabrook2I pedaled my rented bike through the gated ocean side community of Seabrook, South Carolina where homes are more than magnificent and unpretentiously shout wealth. There are pricey cars parked in driveways and the pets on leashes are purebred only.

Association members assumed I was a member of their private community; they smiled and nodded to me as if my bike and me belonged in their inner circle. But I didn’t belong to this million dollar community and never will.

A twinge of envy surfaced as I rode past homes with manicured landscapes, breathtaking ocean views, hired services, not to mention, money. These homes, along with the purchased amenities, require enormous wealth. As an onlooker, I can only imagine what it would be like to walk through the front door of these homes. The exterior beauty must certainly represent what lies inside.

My bike ride destination was a planked wooden path that led to the ocean. It was low tide so I was able to ride along the hard-packed sand on the beach. There were occasional stops to look at jelly fish washed ashore or to scout out special shells for the grand kids. Just off the shoreline dolphins would occasionally display their stealth beauty while sea gulls skimmed the water’s surface in search of their next meal.

The ocean and everything within it seemed content with their assigned purpose in the cycle of life.

As I left the beach and cycled back to the resort, the bike pedals rhythmically rotated to the word contentment. I considered what makes me long for things I don’t have, and certainly don’t need in an effort to have a contented life.

Contentment is a state of mind; an acceptance that some things can’t be changed. A dolphin will never be a jelly fish; and unless I win the lottery, I will never belong to a million dollar community by the sea.

A grateful heart brings contentment.

The exterior of someone’s life doesn’t necessarily display what’s inside. Inside those beautiful homes by the sea there may be addictions, poor health, debt, loneliness and discontentment. Possessions don’t buy contentment. It is only when we are truly grateful for what we have and accept those things we cannot change that contentment is birthed.

Wealth does not bring contentment or peace within. Should you have both, consider yourself blessed.

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things (and be content) through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13