This is Day 31 of our 31 Days of Less and More series. To read all the posts in order, start with Day 1 and check out our overview page to see the topics for the entire month.
“The search for contentment is, therefore, not merely a self-preserving and self-benefiting act, but also a generous gift to the world. You cease being an obstacle, not only to yourself but to anyone else. Only then are you free to serve and enjoy other people.” ~Elizabeth Gilbert
I met Ann and Melanie this weekend and got to spend time with both of them. In other words, I die.
They couldn’t be more different and yet they’re so the same. I knew I’d be bff’s with Melanie because, um, COAL MINER’S DAUGHTER. She knows all the words from all the scenes. That’ll bond two sisters forever. She’s funny and stunningly beautiful and she makes me laugh until I cry. I’m pretty sure I was nearly crying in this picture. I blame her for my near catatonic exhaustion and my sore abs. I can’t wait for her next book, so if you haven’t read Sparkly Green Earrings: Catching the Light at Every Turn, you should do it now!
She’s so different from Ann. I knew lots of things about Ann. I’ve gotten handful of emails from her over the years, which have always made me slightly suspect that she was an angel in disguise. She is a woman who has learned to count the gifts. She is a woman who has looked around in her life and called it enough. She radiates love. When I met her, she loved on me, told me the nicest things, made me feel so loved and special. All the things I should have been doing and saying to her. She is so generous. And I know that that comes from a contented heart that is full of gratitude. She is a beautiful woman, who has walked a hard road and she is making the journey lighter and better for all who meet her. What a gift she gave me this weekend, as I was struggling with insecurity about my talk and my book proposal and all the things that make us wish for all the world we had someone else’s gifts.
These women couldn’t be more different on the surface, but here’s how they’re similar. They are both resting in their unique gifts. They have learned to stop comparing themselves to others and just enjoy them. Melanie is not Ann and she’s okay with that. She is perfectly herself and she’s so comfortable in her own skin that she invites those around her be who they are. I want to find that kind of rest and contentment in who God made me to be.
Contentment is not something you’re either blessed with or not. Contentment is a choice. Everyday you and I make the choice to see ourselves and our lives as enough, or we run after the things we think will finally make us happy. And, oh, the running I’ve done. When I watched everything material thing in my life burn to the ground, it finally jolted me awake. This life is a gift—every single circumstance, every hard relationship, every opportunity and every closed door. It’s all His gift to us to make us into who we are meant to be. And when we learn to look around the landscape of our lives and see that He is using every circumstance to bring us joy, we will finally rest. And we will guard our hearts from everything that threatens to steal our joy—whether that thing is too much stuff, too much comparison, or just a life too full to notice the beautiful gifts all around us. I wish you more joy, more peace and more contentment for your days. I’ve been so blessed to take this journey with you.
Challenge Day 31: Evaluate the current state of where you are in your life right now. Ask yourself the hard questions. Is my life still too full of the things that don’t matter? Am I still letting in too much heartache, too much stress, and too much stuff? Resolve right now to be intentional and purposeful with your heart and time and environment. Choose to let in only that which adds joy and peace and contentment.
Be sure to read Ruth’s corresponding, Less Stuff Coming In.
Be sure to check out Crystal’s thoughts on Less Holiday Overkill/More Memories from yesterday’s post!
Amy J. Bennett says
This has been one of my favorite 31 Days series! It’s been a daily reminder of what is important and what is not. Thank you for your hard work!!
Kimberly VanDyke says
I have enjoyed this 31 Days series. Each day I anticipated the next installment. I have shared so much of it with my husband and those around me. I will be rereading them all and probably quoting you a lot. Thank you so much for allowing God to use you, sharing your heart and insight. Be Blessed.
Rita Joy says
Thanks for this beautiful post. I’ve loved every single one of your posts (and eagerly anticipated them!) during this 31 Days series. I also just tried your Pumpkin Chipolte Soup yesterday …for a group of 45. (I’m currently cooking at a camp.) It was a hit! Thanks.
I love you so much I can’t stand it. You are my soul sister. “Doolittle done throwed me out.”
Edie, this is my favorite post of the series, I think. 🙂 contentment is definitely a struggle for me…learning to count my gifts has definitely helped. Still a long ways to go I think…
Edie, I too have so enjoyed this series. As a new reader to your blog I feel really grateful that I arrived here just as you were starting this because each day I’ve had so much to take away, it makes me want to come back for more (and I will!). Thanks for pouring out your blessings on all of us!
You and Melanie?
Following this series has been grace, Edie! And meeting you? AND Melanie? CRAZIEST grace!
Let’s sing Coal Miner’s Daughter all together next time… us in our wild boots.
Beautiful are the feet that bring good news — and that means a whole lot of different looking beautiful feet 🙂
Keep shining your gifts, sister — they point exquisitely to our Savior.
Edie, Ann is beautiful! I too have received a few emails and had the opportunity to meet her last May. She is a gift to be sure and inspired me to start counting my gifts. I am at 1110 today!
I have enjoyed your series very much. I am wanting to attend a conference such as this to encourage me to do more through my own blog.
I echo other comments here… yours has been one of my favorite 31 days series. Thank you for committing to it and sharing your heart with us. Keep writing — I look forward to your book! 🙂
Beautiful Words. Absolutely Beautiful and So True!!!! You should create some sign inventory with those words/quotes!! I’d buy one! Thank you for all of your amazing quotes, God has blessed you, and you too are using your gifts!
HI Edie, Thanks for your absolutely spot on post once again. Your words speak to me in a way that just makes sense to my heart. For years I have followed your blog and prayed constantly for your family during the “fire” days. Today, the only part I struggle with, and will continue to work through until I die, is this one: “And when we learn to look around the landscape of our lives and see that He is using every circumstance to bring us joy, we will finally rest.”
You see, my sister and best friend passed away at the very young age of 39 from breast cancer. You are very close to your sister so you can relate to my deep love for her. She was an amazing mother, but her girls were only 8 and 11 when she left us. Although they do remember her unconditional love and nurturing, they were so young. They do not have their dad to carry on the memories and true love she had for them because at the time she got sick he “came out” and has raised them after her death with his new partner for the past 8 years. Anyway, just wanted to share that because if I could only truly understand that one sentence to be true… I miss her and cannot find the good in her leaving.
Thank you for all you do, for all you post, and for inspiring me in many ways!
I’m sorry our paths did not cross at Allume! These are lovely thoughts and wise ones. Such a gift to meet up with our sisters in(RL). You have a lovely space here–I have been nosing around and I have been blessed by your gift of hospitality and your story. Keep on shining, you bright star!
Love the quote, I’ve been working through a big lesson in contentment. Thank you so much for the series, it was inspiring!
Just wanted to thank you for your series……I printed out some of the quotes as a daily reminder. I also run a support group for mothers and plan on sharing the quotes and ideas too. Keep up the inspiring work and continue to enjoy your family!
I love your beautiful heart, and your message of contentment here. I wish I could have told in person at Allume how I appreciate your good words in this space. Maybe another year. 🙂
Beth Jones says
Oh, Edie this month of posts has been such a gift! And meeting you at Allume was such a treat! Your talk was so very meaningful to me. With one son off to college, one graduating from high school this year and one more next year, I am definitely wanting to savor the gift of each day that our family has together. You are such an inspiration to me to treasure these gifts from the Lord. I don’t want to waste one day that we’ve been given by being discontent or ungrateful.
Angie Ryg says
I had heard about you for a while and was so glad that I got to meet you at Allume and go to some sessions with you. Your smile being contagious and your heart so full of grace. I loved being able to meet the soul behind the words. I look forward to connecting again! May you continue to use your words to point to Him.
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