Friday, May 31, 2013

Margin- Chapter 11

A few friends and I are reading this book together. Each week we are reading one chapter. On Fridays, I am posting my comments, then giving them the opportunity to add their thoughts as well. If you would like to join us or simply find out more about the book, you can read about it here.)

Chapter 11: "Health Through Contentment"

- It was not until this chapter (56% of the way through) that I realized that this book is about building a "new, integrated health paradigm."  (Page 151)  Interesting that he tells us now.  I found it a little odd, but overall, I thought the chapter was quite good! 

- After talking about the margin we need in our lives, he takes four chapters to discuss different qualities we need in our lives to protect and prolong that margin.  The first he discusses is contentment.

- I appreciate his section on "What Contentment is Not."  In my opinion, the way contentment is sometimes presented in messages gives the hearers the idea that we have to deny the existence of difficulties in our lives.  Instead, the author shows that it is the peace despite those present difficulties.

- He said that we need "to fix our contentment on godliness rather than relativism."  (Page 159)  Earlier he pointed out that discontent will always have us looking to what we don't have, and we will always lacking something that would be nice to have.  If our contentment is based on factors around it, we will never be content (and, even if we could, I say it would be a pseudo-contentment).  Thus, our focus must be on godliness- a factor that is stable.

- I hadn't thought of it this way: "If we actually needed the thing, advertisers would not have to convince us of it."  (Page 160)  True.

- Another quote I liked: "God is what we need; things are what we use."  (Page 164)

- Of his suggestions to combat discontentment, I think the one I need to remember the most is to divorce my thinking from societies standards.  We all unconsciously adopt the world's thinking in many areas of life, and we must purposefully correct that through the truth of God's Word.  Another suggestion that I need to work at is developing the "counter-habits" that encourage contentment.

- He asked, "Do you see how a life of contentment both enables and supports margin?"  (Page 161) After thinking through this chapter, I certainly do.  Of all the things he could have talked about, I think this was very needed and quite helpful.  The chapter helped me recalibrate my content-o-meter.

- This will divert slightly from the contents of the chapter, but if you guys have thoughts, I would like to hear them.  How do you evaluate if your desire for a good thing is within the realm of contentment or discontentment?  Said otherwise, how do you know when a valid desire for a good thing has crossed the line and has become discontentment?

I've had my say, what say you?

Discussion on Chapter 10
Discussion on Chapter 12

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