An Honest Recap of My 90 Day Contentment Challenge

Back in January, I started the 90 Day Contentment Challenge for my third time. I shared here how it was going 45 days in. Then, come early March, things changed.

When I have done the challenge over the last two years, I’ve done it for 90 days from January through the end of March. The intent is to not buy clothing or household decor and really just focus on being content with what you have. While there’s some days it can feel limiting, overall it’s been freeing and I’ve genuinely enjoyed it. It’s been a great reminder to focus on what’s most important and to not get caught up in what’s being sold to you that you genuinely do not need and often only want, because someone made it seem like you should want it.

In late February there were some wedding purchases that we made including wedding rings, shoes for the wedding, and some bookings for our honeymoon. These were all things we knew we’d need to purchase and I recognized before starting the challenge that I’d have to do likely sometime during the span from January to March. No problem. I purchased them and it then can keep on going with the challenge, right?

Well, I found myself thinking of other wants, not needs, for our wedding and honeymoon. I bought a shirt because it was one I’d had my eye on and it was on clearance. I told myself it would be great to pack for hiking. I purchased a dress that was also on sale that I told myself would be great for the cooler weather where we’re headed. I got a larger piece of luggage for the trip so we didn’t have to take as many smaller bags. I got a carry on backpack I’d had my eye on for months when it was on sale. While I will (and have already) used these things, I didn’t need them. They weren’t essentials.

Then, I found myself wanting more books too. I do genuinely love to read and had been using the Libby app and reading books already on my shelf so far during the year. By early March I had read about 30 or so books in 2023. I found the website Thrift Books had quite a few of the books on my want list. They were books by non fiction authors I’d read earlier in the year and I wanted to continue reading their work. The used books were about $4-$7 each which was such a great deal compared to Amazon or an in person book store. So I filled my cart and checked out.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

I chose to do the Contentment Challenge again because as much as I intend to not purchase something someone’s told me I should want on Instagram or what I’ve seen online, I know that I can be even more content in what I have.

What I am reminded of during this third round of the Contentment Challenge is that contentment isn’t something you practice for a time and then you become automatically content. It’s a continued practice. A continued heart posturing to the gifts you’ve already received from God.

At the end of 2022, I planned out the books I was going to read each month, the bible studies I planned to do, the journal topics I’d use, as well as any other learning like courses I wanted to take part in during 2023. I have a theme for each quarter and most of the learning revolves around that theme.

January through March’s theme was “Consistency Compounds”. I read books about health, finances, and routines. April to June’s theme is “Contentment”. The Write the Word Journal I’m using is focused on Cultivating Contentment. The book I’m reading in April is “Intentional Living” and the study from Daily Grace Co. I’ll be doing is about biblical rest.

Even at the end of 2022 when I planned out the year, I knew that I wouldn’t just arrive at contentment come March 31. I knew that the time after the Contentment Challenge would be even more of an opportunity to practice contentment. January – March had what you could call guidelines or limits that I followed in terms of what I purchased because they were created as part of the challenge. April doesn’t have those same guidelines. This means that this is then where contentment is actually put into action. Without limits I had earlier in the year, how is my heart postured? Without guidelines that are set ahead of time, how can I practice contentment without a “challenge” or “rule” to fall back on?

To me, this is where true contentment will come into practice. I didn’t do the Contentment Challenge perfectly. But I know I learned more about Contentment in a way I hadn’t experienced my last two times going through it. And I plan to take that learning into the upcoming months because “where my treasure is, there my heart will be also.”

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