Friday, April 8, 2011

Contentment Revisited

As promised, I wanted to share a little bit about what I've been thinking about contentment.  There is so much to say on the subject, so unless I decided to write a book about it (wait...maybe I'll do that someday...) I couldn't possibly cover everything I'm thinking about it.  But I believe it's an important issue to discuss, mostly because I find myself really wanting to be content and having a hard time with it.  Whenever there's something that just won't get out of my head, I'm assuming it's because God wants me to think about it more, and probably share in case someone else needs to hear it, too.  So, I just wanted to share the little things I've learned that help.

For me, it seems easy to be content until I'm faced with something I don't have.  For example, I generally think I have plenty of clothes and accessories until I go shopping and see all the clothes and accessories I don't have.  This is why I don't like shopping.  I have called Sam several times to tell him, "Stop letting me buy clothes, I have too many!"  But when I'm faced with those things that I don't have, I forget about all that I do have.  Consequently, I have too many clothes and don't even wear half of them and I'm constantly giving them away.  I've recently set up a deal with myself to not buy anything new until the summer, and only then when it's something I need - like if no shorts fit or something.  I know for a lot of you, shopping isn't a problem.  If that's the case, then enjoy it!  I think it's boring, but hey, everyone is different.  For me, shopping presents me with an opportunity for sin (coveting, being unwise with money, spending on myself when it should probably go to others), so for me to stay content, it's best to stay away.  But like I said - I'm not speaking for everyone, this is just true for me.

My biggest struggle is being dissatisfied with my life.  I look around, and some people have lives that seem so easy.  People who have great jobs or lots of money or their college degree or who seem to be so organized that they never waste time...I'm jealous.  I think it's important to look at things like that as inspiration, but to avoid letting them make me discontent with where I am.  I think it's great that I admire people with their degree because it pushes me to finish mine, with the hope that someday it will present me with an opportunity to get a job that I love.  But at the same time, I truly believe God has me right where he wants me - in school, in a part-time job where I have to change diapers and don't make much money, and relying on God to help me better manage my time.  I definitely took the long way around in life, the "road less traveled" if you will.  It's so easy to wish things had gone differently, that I felt more advanced at twenty-five instead of feeling way behind.  But if I focus on that for too long, I miss all the amazing things in my life and the wonderful things I have that I wouldn't have if my life had gone differently.

Sorry if this is all a jumbled mess.  Is this even making sense at all?  I just want to write out my thoughts as a reminder for myself.  Today it's easy for me to be content, but tomorrow it may not be.  I want to have this record to refer to when I find myself wanting.  God really has provided all that I need, and I know He will always provide all that I need.  Sure, I can choose to look around at other people's lives and think they look so easy and wish my life were different.  But then how is that being thankful for all that God has provided for me?  Isn't that sort of a slap in the face?  God, you didn't give me this, so I'm not happy.  I just picture a spoiled little kid saying that, and I really don't want to emulate a spoiled child.

This is where my quotation from yesterday comes in.  I'll quote it again here:

"If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak.  We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea.  We are far too easily pleased."
-C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

I am wasting my time fooling around with meaningless things.  Why am I desiring things that are so meaningless?  Why am I not more desirous of infinite joy, of all the rewards God offers?  I do feel like I'm an ignorant child when I waste time in wanting of material items, things that will all be trash one day.  If I focus more on God and His promises and rewards, then I can be more content with those meaningless things, knowing all the while that God has so much more in store for me.

Okay.  If I keep going I'll never stop, and Abbey is on her way over to go to coffee.  So...I'll file this away under "book ideas" and ramble on some other time.  Focus on today and focus on your blessings.  That's my plan.

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