One dictionary defines contentment as: A state of happiness and satisfaction.
Then there is the saying I hate to hear myself but gladly dish out to other people “the grass is not always greener on the other side”
Please someone tell me now I can’t be the only one that battles contentment.
The picture of my dog and cat are the perfect example. I snapped that picture this morning of them, it was an ah-ha moment for me. My dog and cat do this everyday all day. They sit at the window and look out. I just imagine them in their animal brain pondering what it would be like to be on the other side of that window, totally loose on the outside, no longer coveting all the squirrels and birds that are running free right in front of them.
The grass is not always greener….I let my dog out and she chases one squirrel and realizes her 70 pound body is no match to out run a 2 pound squirrel and then she is right back at the door wanting back in to spend the rest of her day laying on my bed. The cat thinks he wants out until I let him out and then he is so spooked by every sound and every movement that he hunkers down and tries to hide behind bushes, again he wants back into the safety of the house almost immediately. He seems to forget he has no claws, he is defenseless.
Tomorrow the whole circus will begin again, the same routine, wishing they were on the other side until they get there and then realizing they want back in the house to the safety and comfort of what they had.
Contentment it’s a difficult thing. I battle it. I so often sit at my own window looking out wishing for a different view.
Some days I wish for more. More clients, more friends, to travel more, more money, more time in my day so I can add more stuff.
Some days I wish for less. Less work, less friends, less kid sports activities, less travel, a smaller house, less people that need me.
Sometimes I see other moms and I wish for their lives because their life looks so much happier and easier than mine. Even for just a day can I live her life. Comparison kills
I often think about and even tend to obsess about moving to another state or even another country.
Some days I am so content and happy I couldn’t imagine a single thing different in my life. I am walking around in a happy glowing bubble that no one could pop even if they tried. My kids are perfect, my job is perfect, my husband is perfect and I feel total content happiness bliss.
I believe so many of these feelings are totally normal and doesn’t make me a terrible mom or the worst person on the planet, it just makes me real. It also makes me realize my life has to be about so much more than myself, if it wasn’t I would be walking around a discontent, unhappy and jealous or bitter person.
The other thing I believe about myself is that if I stay in a discontent phase for very long its sinful and I know it can become very destructive to me. If I live in that mindset too long it will become extremely hard for me to be happy and grateful in my own daily life because in my mind and heart I am wishing and dreaming of a different view out that window.
So here is my real life currently. Right now I am struggling with being content. The path God has me on right this very moment is a little weird for me and if I am going to be honest here it isn’t really where I want to be. It’s not wrong or bad, God’s plans are never wrong, it’s just not by my choice and it’s little more quiet than I normally like my life. Yet I am positive it’s exactly where He wants me. So on my good days I am content with this season and on my bad days I am sitting at the window looking out wanting the greener grass.
I’ve learned a lot about myself lately especially how I process things and also when to recognize triggers in myself. I want to grow closer to Jesus everyday. I want to trust and fully rely on him every single day not just when things feel right. When a wave of discontent comes and doesn’t look like it’s going to leave anytime soon I know 3 things I need to do to get myself back on the right track:
- I get quiet. I try to silence the outside noise and the chatter. I know it sounds so cliche’. But it’s true for me. I will intentionally stay home more, clear my schedule as much as I can and I will lay low. Getting quiet in my own house allows Jesus to speak to me and most importantly allows me to hear Him. I actually love and have grown so accustomed to this new routine that I crave it. I crave being alone and quiet in my house.
→ “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still” Exodus 14:14
2. I read God’s word. Another cliché right? Trust me here–getting in God’s word is huge and not always easy. Even if I don’t know what to read or where to start I will google words like: contentment, love, peace, grace then I will read what the Bible says about it. To really know God is to know His words, His teaching and the life of Jesus. I am trying hard be more focused and disciplined about digging into God’s word.
→ “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 want. I can do all things thru him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13
3. I only believe the truth, not the lies. This is another thing I’ve learned and studied hard this past year. Focusing on truth. The world will lie to us, it will tell us to want more, to be more, to do more. This year my new filter for all things in life is “is this the truth” or “is this God’s truth for me” I actually will ask myself this question out loud. The other way I try to discern truth is I will take breaks from social media, because I can’t hear the truth clearly while I am hooked on Facebook and Instagram. The comparison on social media kills me, it fills me with lies when what I need is truth, so I revert back to #1 and get quiet and #2 to read God’s word.
→ “Then you will know, the truth and the truth will set you free” John 8:32
This morning when I had that visual of my cat and dog sitting at the window wishing to be on the other side it really was an ah-ha moment for me about how I felt. I only share this in hopes that it might also help to encourage someone else who may battle contentment. Although hear me out–I am not at all opposed to believing God calling us to more, to change, to different places and different locations in life. There are times in my life when God has me working hard, long days where my world is big and loud and exhausting. Then there are seasons where things are slow and my world becomes small and quiet. None of these are wrong if we are in the will of God. Just read Ecclesiastes 3, there are seasons for all of life. For me personally it’s when I become so consumed with being discontent that it’s paralyzing me and it is sinful.
I’m not sure where you’re at, maybe you are living in the happy glowing bubble land, if you are–own it! Give glory to God and be strong and confident and embrace it. If you are more like me right now, sitting at a window looking at the greener grass on the other side–well let’s dig in. Let’s get quiet, hear God, read His word, turn off the noise, stop comparing and start trusting. Trust Him with it all. I know this is a learning season for me and I know what I am learning and growing in now is going to be used for His good in the future if I let it. Because He tells us in Romans 8:28 “And we know in all things God works for the good of those that love him, who have been called according to his purpose”
I am striving to be content with ALL the days of my life, not just the ones that I enjoy. One day I hope to never battle with discontentment, I hope to be able to embrace every day, every moment and be thankful for them all. Maybe eventually I will get to that dictionary definition “a state of happiness and satisfaction”.
Until then I will write in hopes it helps and encourages just one and I will try to be still and let the Lord fight for me. If you are battling contentment or have your own plan of how you find contentment in your daily life I’d love to hear from you. If you are staring out your own window wishing for that greener grass I want you to know you are not alone. Tell me your story, your battle plan or your victory dance! Hearing from other women gives me encouragement and makes me feel normal. Email me here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s be real together,