Swaying Contentment


Wow! Thanks for the great response over the past few days, y’all! I just had record-breaking days of blog traffic – although in my case, that’s not too hard.

Anyway, it’s back to the grindstone on studying. And by grindstone, I mean needing to study but being plagued with apathy, internet distractions, and crying. Not necessarily in that order.

I know some of it has to do with “The Brain.” He has a visit coming soon to talk about funeral arrangements. Overall, he’s feeling good after recovering from his pneumonia, but the decline is still there. Then again, he might plateau again, which his nurse today mentioned as something for which he’s due. The good thing is that this last illness is getting him to talk about needing more help and making future arrangements.

The other part has to do with me. I realized during Lent that I was talking with my girlfriends about the same thing: my lack of contentment. This has been a recurring theme for the past, oh, 12-15 years.

But this time it was different – rather than an overall lack of contentment, I noticed my lack of desire to be content. I whine about my daily and weekly circumstances when in the grand scheme of the other 7 billion on the planet, I’m abundantly blessed. I get cases of “If only…” and “But why can’t _______ happen instead?”

I don’t remember how exactly that it hit me, but in the course of my girlfriend chats, I was hit with the idea, “Why aren’t you content?” Do you lack something crucial that isn’t right in front of your face? Will getting what you want really make the difference to your happiness? And I had to acknowledge the ugly parts of me. That I’m selfish. That what I call an “unmet desire” is actually a demand. That I don’t handle disappointment in a rational manner.

As much as I give lip-service to “there is no magic formula for getting what you want in life,” I still hope for the magic words and formulas. There is a selfish part of me that demands my desires be met. C’mon, God, I’ve been the freakin’ good girl! When’s my turn! Why did _____ get what I wanted/deserved? Haven’t I put in my time yet? Why was I chosen to be the [career, single girl, fill-in-the-blank] martyr???

It’s because God is sovereign and has given me opportunities to choose Him and what is best for my soul rather than what I want.

Sometimes the path hurts. It’s lonely. It’s full of temptation and stumbling points. But it also gives me a chance to say, “I don’t have what I want in life, but it’s a beautiful day. Be content with that.”

“No, you have two more years of school and hard work before your new career, but you have friends that love you. Be thankful for them.”

“He was a jerk upon multiple occasions. But you can pray in your home and go to church without fearing for your life. I think you’re okay.”

Choosing to be thankful doesn’t mean that I ignore the circumstances above. In fact, I would say the opposite. In naming the circumstances and disappointments which lead me to discontent, I can then look to what is good. I can see both and know where my hope lies.

Hebrews 12.

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