I am someone who constantly battles with contentment.
I place a lot of value in finding beauty and joy in the simple things in life, and mention this frequently. But practically it is something I pray about regularly because contentment is not always my natural response.
There are so many content creators these days, and many embody this feminine, wholesome, simple living. And while these women would not intentionally want to cause any negativity, I find it easy for their encouraging content (that there are others with a similar lifestyle, values, or faith) to turn discouraging. They can become discouraging for me personally because I can begin to compare myself to them, resulting in discontentment.
I am no longer on social media which helps because I’m not consuming a large amount of this content. I do follow a few blogs and occasionally look up a YouTube video, but it’s nothing like scrolling through Instagram and seeing two hundred people who are living this seemingly perfect life.
Now this is entirely a personal issue that I pray about, so I’m sure there are many of you who don’t have the same problem. But the more I think about it, the more I realise contentment is important in nurturing our own personal femininity, and that it is tied to the authenticity I was talking about in this post.
To choose authenticity is, in part, to accept our own circumstances and find contentment in them and in ourselves. If I’m always chasing the perfect life of someone else, how can I invest in my own?
The days I compare myself, or find myself jealous of others, are the days that feel wasted, or move too quickly. Comparison and jealousy rob me of joy and prevent me from finding the beauty in those small blessings that are all around me.
Of course, there is a place for inspiration, encouragement, community, and learning from these women, but for me personally I can’t consume as much content as other people might feel they can.
I would love to have the wardrobes of these women. In every photo, or video, they wear a different floral dress that’s modest yet beautiful. But I’m learning to be content with the clothes that I have, and I’m learning that a new dress will not change my life.
For me, I had a worldly, false hope placed in new clothes. I yearned for a Cinderella transformation where I would put on this new dress and it would make me beautiful in a way I’d never been beautiful before and my whole life would be magical after that.
But this isn’t realistic, or true, and it’s not the hope God describes in the Bible. It could even turn into an idol, if we have an expectation that clothes, or a lifestyle, will be the thing to make us happy.
I believe these things can enhance the quality of life, you know, if we are true to ourselves and are living and growing in the direction that brings us purpose and serves God. But makeup, or a dress, or a house, are not going to fill that emptiness within us.
I would love to have my own home one day, one that I can invest in. But if I don’t learn how to be content now, then buying a house in the future won’t make any jealousy or bitterness disappear. These things take root in us and we have to intentionally let go of them.
As a Christian, I’m called to place my hope in the eternal, not what is temporary. My joy comes from the Lord and isn’t reliant on worldly circumstances. I’m not asked to store up treasures on earth.
I actually did buy some new pieces for the warmer weather, but I knew what I needed and won’t be buying anything else. There is part of me that wants to! But I also want to be intentional with how, and where I spend my money, and also mindful of how much “stuff” I own. As someone who loves decluttering and minimalism, there’s no point in buying something I’ll donate in three months! I want to be intentional with what I buy and make sure it’s a quality piece that will last me more than one season, and something that I really love.
Being content is something I will grow in for the rest of my life. While the tension between wanting more and finding joy in current circumstances is something that may come naturally to others, I still have so much to learn.
Regarding clothing, and wanting to dress more femininely without spending a lot of money now and owning too much, there is something I keep in mind. And that is, I can implement my femininity into the next time I need something new. There is no point in me buying a whole new flowery, pink wardrobe right now. But if I need a new jacket next year for autumn and winter, then when the time comes, I can be on the lookout for something that does have a more feminine colour or silhouette.
But I do not need to buy it today.
Cultivating femininity is a journey and my whole life isn’t going to change in a day (thank goodness for that!). I’ll simply implement what I’m learning the next time I need to.
There will always be women who seem more feminine than me, more put together, more dream-achieving. By focusing on what they have that I don’t, I will miss my own journey! I will be so busy looking at others that I won’t be nurturing my own femininity and learning what makes me different (but still beautiful!) to them. As I’ve said before, women are not copies of each other and we all have something unique to offer this world.
I may not be perfectly content all the time, but I’m learning to at least seek God amidst the discontentment, which does ultimately lead to joy, even when this does not look like how we expect or want.
I hope you can find some joy today,