A lot of changes have taken place in my life within the last two years. A few of the seasons I have ventured through during this time include: single, dating, engaged, married. Living at home, with friends, by myself, and with my husband. Employed, short term disability, unemployed, self employed, job searching, and employed again. A Multitude of friends and few friends. Church visiting, settling, and visiting again. You get the picture.
Through each of these seasons, very rarely did I cease looking forward long enough to enjoy where God had me at that moment. So often I found myself talking about the future to my friends or my (ow) husband. Now, in and of itself, this was not an issue, except that I always began by saying "I can't wait until (insert amazing life event)." Be it graduating, moving out, going to college, getting a dream job, getting married, getting to travel, having a pet, having kids, buying a house... you can enter your hearts most recent desire and see where I am coming from.
Now, I love being married but I think it was about a month after our wedding that I finally realized what was going on. I had lived what seemed like my entire life keeping my eyes and ears wide open for whomever my amazing husband might be. Single didn't look good on me, I was unhappy and lonely (this is a problem from another post). Now "the one" has a name, face and is by my side each day...so marriage fixed me, right? Wrong. I knew marriage wasn't what Disney told us it'd be, I wasn't naive to the reality. What I was naive to, however, was believing that my contentment resided in this new season. Thirty days is all it took and I was back to pining for the future. Only now, it was financial stability, a house, a pet, and a baby... not always in that order.
It was at the moment my "I can't wait for kids" was returned by my husband as "oh yes you can, you just don't want to" that humility was forced upon me like a ton of bricks. I went through so many emotions. Conviction, guilt, disappointment, frustration, and the biggest of all, pride.
"Well...well... you knew what meant" I stuttered in reply.
"No, that's not what you meant. You wanted so long to be married but now you want (insert today's obsession), it's understandable but I think you truly are unable to enjoy the moments you have."
Shot to the heart! My husband spoke wisdom that pierced my very core.
I knew he was right. I thought on it quite a bit and here I am, still fighting internally and still pondering. I am a discontented person. How come I can't be happy for today without being anxious or jealous of tomorrow? Maybe you are in the same boat? Come aboard, they say misery likes company. What is it we are holding onto so tightly that we can't tr... ah, there it is. Trust.
Do I trust God to give me the desires of my heart? Do I trust His timing? Do you?
Let's think a moment on toddlers. They don't share their toys, they don't understand waiting, they want it all and they want it now!!! Sound familiar? It sure does resonate with 22-year-old me... and goodness it's embarrassing. Mom and dad can say "Not now sweetheart, eat your peas and you can have ice cream!" But, instead of focusing on the task at hand, motivated to obtain a reward, toddlers throw a fit, test their parents and scream for something along the lines of a cracker. Ice cream! They were going to get ice cream but, instead, they were bound and determined to get that cracker no matter the cost... which, of course, was their relationship with their parents, personal joy, and sacrificing the reward. I know, it's a toddler, but how can this be applied in our grown state of life?
Sometimes in our impatience and discontentment, God allows us to pursue the wrong thing in order to teach us a lesson. Other times, He gives us what He intended for us all along but earlier than would be fully enjoyable. Of course, no matter the route, His will is not evaded an His glory is not diluted. That being said, our relationship with Him can absolutely be hindered, if our faith and joy is lacking or non-existent, we are likely to miss out on His best for us.
If you find yourself discontent, I encourage you to ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I trust God's plan?
- Am I willing to wait?
- Am I willing to sacrifice my relationships, joy and reward for what I am obsessing over today?
- How can I be content today?
Contentment begins as something like an emotion but soon becomes a choice you have to make daily. There will be days you will find joy in the little things of the here and now, while other days you will find your mind living in the future. Learn to ground yourself in today. Slow down on these days and observe God's handiwork. Take a moment to breathe deeply and see past your busy life, past the desire, and pray for joy. God has a plan and purpose for you to live out today. People who need His love, people who need a friendly face and a contagious smile. There may come a day your purpose will include your desire but today, God's desire is to use you for His glory in His plan.
If we woke up each morning asking the Lord not only to prepare us for His plans for the next 24 hours but instead asking Him to bring us people to love on and share His salvation story with... maybe we could be more content?