Content or Contention
It’s just a hard thing to decipher sometimes. Are we content? Or are we filled with contention? Content or contention. What’s it going to be?
To start off we need to define both the words.
Content: a state of peaceful happiness, a state of satisfaction
Contention: a striving to win in an argument or a heated state
These two words don’t sound anything alike. In fact, they sound like opposites. And yet sometimes it’s hard to tell them apart. It’s hard to know if we’re living in a state of content or contention. What is your home life like? Are you content? Or do you live in contention with your family?
I think all of us would have to truthfully say at some point that we were living in contention. It’s so hard sometimes to stay out of that pit. It seems to just suck us in and want to mire us down in the mud.
Personally, I can confess that there have been more times than I want to recall where I have been filling my house with contention. Contention with my husband, contention with my kids, even contention within myself and with God. I’ve wanted what I wanted and I was going to fight for it. I wasn’t content. Deep within myself I wasn’t content.
How can we become content when deep within our beings we’re not happy? Where can we find contentment when turmoil rolls?
I had to do this. I had to find contentment. Life was rough. It felt like I was out to sea being tossed to and fro by merciless waves. What I needed was some contentment and to let go of the contention. I wasn’t happy with myself. Because I wasn’t happy with myself, I wasn’t happy with my husband or my kids and it showed. Because I wasn’t content I was making everyone else around me live in a state of contention instead of contentment. More about how we as moms rub off on and set the tone for our houses in another post.
So what did I do?
I made my mornings count. I started getting up earlier which was a huge issue for me. I’m not much of a morning person. Not really because I don’t like mornings, but more because I’m up half the night feeding a baby. Adrenal fatigue is also a culprit for me not sleeping well at night and not wanting to get up in the morning. But I made myself. I made myself get up and spend time in the Word. I started a good Bible study. Just by myself. I have a need to do a Bible study with others, but so far my life hasn’t given me that opportunity so I do them alone. Even though I don’t have the input of others, it’s still good for me and my life so I highly recommend this.
So, make the mornings count. Step one for me was to dig into God’s word just by reading. Step two was adding a Bible study on my own. The next step, step 3, was to set a better tone for the day. Instead of waking up kids with come on it’s morning get up, I started playing praise music. I diffuse happy oils in the mornings. I’ll elaborate more on that as well in another post, but think mood oils that uplift and invigorate you. Basically, I set the atmosphere of my home into a peaceful one. I set us up to be content.
Contention can sneak up on us and steal our joy. It makes us feel bad about ourselves and it makes others feel bad about themselves and our relationships. We can ruin friendships and damage growing emotions of our children. This didn’t hit me until one day I heard my words coming out of my children’s mouths. Wow. Talk about face-planting into a brick wall. I didn’t want my children to feel that way. I wanted them to be filled with satisfaction and happiness and peace. Content. I wanted them to be content.
Content or contention.
This is going to be a two part-er. Or maybe you can just keep reading.
Another area of contention in my home was the fact that I was home all day everyday. My life was and is spent with little people. All day everyday. Normally this is a wonderful blessing and I love it. But I’m an introvert. I need to at the bare minimum get to go to the bathroom by myself, completely and utterly alone, at least once a day. This was not happening. I was to put it nicely going crazy for want of a few seconds where there weren’t ten sets of eyes on me or ten sets of hands reaching out to me. I needed a bit of alone mommy time. It didn’t have to be much just some.
But the big area here was that in needing that me time, I didn’t know how to tell my husband. He is self employed and gone during the days working. When he got home he wanted peace. He wanted(and wants) a bit of quiet time of his own to do his paperwork and decompress from his day. But I wasn’t giving him that. I wanted him to put my needs first and give me that five minutes to lock myself in the bathroom and go potty in peace.
Again I didn’t know how to tell him I just needed that five minutes. So we got into a time on contention. We fought. We weren’t happy with ourselves or each other. I was struggling with anxiety and depression and was not content with myself. I had feelings of my body failing me. And I had feelings, in all honesty, of my husband failing me because he couldn’t see what I needed. He couldn’t see because I couldn’t tell him.
We’ve since begun to communicate better. But to get to this point there were some major blow ups. I cried. I’m not ashamed to admit I cried a lot. But it was a cleansing crying. It allowed me to voice my feelings and needs. In return my husband felt able to voice his as well. We grew as a couple in ways we hadn’t before. And that’s saying something because we’ve been married for 12 years now and have 10 kids guys!
Content or Contention?
What are you going to choose? I had to take a long hard look at myself and what I was portraying to my children. I had to set my day up and go into it with an attitude of content. When I made my mind up that yes I was content. That yes I was at peace and satisfied, then my attitude followed. And when my attitude was set it was easier for my children to adopt this new attitude.
Life is still rough sometimes. But I’ve learned to express myself better. I’m not bottling(oh whole lot could be said about bottling ladies) as much and I’m learning to help my children express themselves better as well.
What about you? Are you in a season of content or contention in your home? In your life? Or how about with yourself?