I wrote this last month and it has sat in drafts. It sat because I felt like if I published it surely I would have to hold myself accountable. But on the eve of my return to work I feel like it is time. No edits, no revisons just a click of the word publish. In this season of my life I am struggling with a desire to hold onto what was and a desire to let go and trust God when it comes to what will be….I am sharing this and making an effort to be (more) content in 2014.
All over the internet and Instagram people have been sharing their “word” for 2014. I’ve gone back and forth whether I wanted in on all of the action. See there’s a level of accountability that comes when declaring your word and then putting it out there for others to see.
Our words are powerful and surely declaring a word as mine to focus on throughout the year has the possibility to have a profound impact on my life. Declaring a word feels different than making resolutions. I made those this year regarding the way I plan to love my husband “better”. Only I didn’t call them resolutions. Instead I wanted it to be a goal for me, a woman who is and will always be a work in process.
Despite my reluctance to declare a word there is one that has been on my heart. For the past several days I’ve been thinking about contentment and the notion of simply being content. Merriam Webster defines it as “pleased and satisfied: not needing more.”
It’s something I’ve struggled with. I felt like being content meant I was settling thus accepting the status quo. But I am starting to see it differently. Being content doesn’t mean you can’t strive or want more. I think it means that you can aspire for more and desire more but in the event that more remains out of reach or doesn’t come into your grasp immediately — in the event that more takes time and more work than you anticipated — you are still ok.
If nothing in my life changes and things stay the same I need to be ok. If no one ever reads my blog or my writing career never took off I need to be ok. If I never achieved my dream of writing a book or found myself sitting on a porch beside my husband while our children played in the yard I need to be ok. If I never return to a size 4 or find an ability to carve out enough time to write or read, or do the things that I desire to do I need to be ok. If certain relationships in my life are not restored or people judge me or decide that they don’t like me for whatever reason I need to be ok. If my husband and I found ourselves back in the midst of a storm this year, holding onto each other as we find our way through I need to be ok. (I could go on but hopefully you see my point).
I say this as I’ve been thinking a lot about a verse in the Bible that perfectly describes the way that I desire to be:
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. ~ Philippians 4:11-13
I want to learn to be content no matter what is happening in my life. Whether the storm is raging or it has just passed resulting in a rainbow I want to be content. Not just during the moments of calm and when things seem to be falling in to place. I want to have a peace in my heart. A peace that is present even if everything in my life were to stay exactly the way it is.
“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” ~ Unknown
I can’t help but wonder if simply being grateful is enough. Because my Heavenly Father knows that I am grateful for His blessings. I am so grateful. But what if my gratitude was coupled with contentment.
What if there are blessings on the horizon not yet bestowed upon me because I struggle with being satisfied with many of the ones that I have. I say I am satisfied but am I truly when so many of my thoughts are fixated on what I wish I could have or do or be?
So this year I am striving to be content in every situation. And something tells me it won’t be easy. But as the Bible says I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. I hope one day that my daughters can look back and say that no matter what happened in life their mother was content. Sure she took leaps of faith, tested the waters and reached for her dreams. But when things didn’t go the way she hoped or she planned she didn’t wallow in self-pity. She thanked God for the blessings that were ever present and she praised Him knowing that whatever was for her she would have in His timing.
My sweet girls, at 29 years old your mama is still growing up.