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“I know both how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot.  In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content, whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.”  Philippians 4:12 CSB

When I think of someone who epitomizes contentment to me, I always think of my sister-in-law Jill.  We met when I was in highschool when she started dating my brother. They were married two years later, through the ups and downs of life, they are still going strong.  Her ability to be content has always baffled me. From the apartment they first lived in, to the house they are in now, I’ve watched her be content. And she was married to my brother, how in the world could she find contentment with him?  It has always amazed me. When I think of contentment, I think of her.

It doesn’t take much for Jill to be content.  She has always been thankful for what she has, no matter if it’s ramen noodles or a steak, she is thankful.  That is the key to her contentment. I’ve studied her for years to figure this out, the annoying little sister I am to her.  Give her a good book, a reese’s peanut butter cup and a comfortable couch, she’s in heaven. Put her on a beach instead of a couch, even more so.  Those are the things that make her happiest in life, when she has a chance to enjoy them, she does. She isn’t worried about what everyone else is doing, she’s not comparing herself to others, she’s just thankful for what she has.

The three lessons I’ve learned from Jill: don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, don’t play the comparison game, be thankful right where you are.  Jill has mastered these in her life. She recognizes she can’t control what others are doing or saying, so why worry about it? It’s a waste of time. She knows that comparing yourself to others gets you nowhere.  That most of what you see on Social Media isn’t true, it’s only what people want you to see. It’s the story they want to tell, but it doesn’t mean it’s telling the whole truth. Jill understands that. And she is always thankful right where she is.

Jill’s son was my nephew Cody.  Him and his sister are the two most precious gifts Jill and Matt ever gave me.  When Cody died just shy of his 21st birthday, I will never forget Jill thanking God for the time He had given us with him.  How grateful she was to have him at all. We talk about it often. Even though the pain of losing Cody has been, at times, unbearable, it is worth it for every minute we got to have him in our lives.  Even in the worst of circumstances, Jill thanked God. I will never forget that.

Learn to be content.  Stop worrying about what others are thinking or doing.  Don’t waste time comparing yourself to others, you are a Masterpiece of God’s. And be thankful for what you do have.  If you do, you’ll be on the path to contentment.

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