for all these epiphanies

I want to be content in my life. In every aspect of my life. My job, finances, our house, my marriage, my friendships. This is something I have prayed for and sought after the past few months. Sometimes whole-heartedly but usually as a means to an end.

If I can be content with where I am, then maybe I will no longer have to be where I am. Maybe I can finally move forward.

Contentment is becoming harder to come by. It seems the more I think about it and the more I pray for it the less I have it.

My thought has been that maybe I'm not supposed to be content. That maybe I am supposed to be discontent until I find where the place I am meant to be. And so I have searched for lots of things that I thought might bring me contentment. All of the searching has done, though, is lead me back to where I started.

I mentioned this to a friend a few nights back. I touched on how frustrated I was and wondered on why I was struggling so much with being content. I even went so far as to ask if she thought my discontentment was because I wasn't supposed to be content where I was. Her response was simple, but it caused me to think on my life in that moment and has continued to make its way into the forefront of my mind since our conversation.

Maybe it's a test. Like when you ask for patience and all of a sudden everything tests every ounce of patience you have. Maybe the same can and should be said for being contentment.

I wanted to brush the notion aside and hold tightly to the thought that I was not meant to be content with where I am. But then I remembered how exhausting it is to focus on everything except for the present. And how it is so easy to miss all the good and wonderful things when concentrating on what comes next instead of on what is in front of you.

There are some things I should be discontent with. There are things I need to work through and past. Those are things like my weight and my eating habits. I should strive for better. I should seek to leave my current state and enter a healthier one.

But there are other things, more numerous things, that I need to be content with. These are the things like money, jobs, and our home.

During my lunch break, I spent time in the pool. I half-hazardly participated in aqua zumba. My muscles were sore from Monday's two workouts, and I was exhausted from a somewhat restless night's sleep. Instead of focusing on how high I kicked my legs or how closely I mimicked the dance moves, I concentrated on conversation with the others in the pool.
picture found here.
We touched briefly on jobs and more deeply on marriages. A woman ten years older than me told me that one day I would look back on my current life. She said I would laugh and wonder how I was ever that stupid or silly. She said my husband and I would reminisce on the decisions we made and ask how we ever ended up where we did. She said she knew this from experience.

It made me realize that I have been so focused on the future that it's impacting my present. I'm not quite sure if the impact is a positive one or a negative one, though.

I don't like to make mistakes. I also prefer for others to not make mistakes. And I am then terribly hard on myself and others when those mistakes were made. And I mean any mistake - not just a large one that results in s car accident or a hefty medical bill of some sort.

It's exhausting to live like that - to want to keep everyone from making mistakes and to feel a need to be so in control of everything that there are no mistakes to be made. It's exhausting to plan all of that out and to then decide on a way to execute the plan.

So maybe my discontentment stems less from the money, the house, and the job. Maybe it stems more from the exhaustion that comes from trying so hard to plan and prepare for every little thing instead of taking life as it comes and riding the waves or powering through the current.

On Sunday night, before turning off the light and maneuvering myself around the dogs, I searched for contentment in the Bible. The first verse I turned to was 1 Timothy 6:6-7. My hope had been for a verse that would detail how I could find contentment. What I got was another reminder that I bring nothing to the table, that everything I have is a gift and that no amount of effort (on my part) will keep life from happening.

As I search for contentment, I hope to move away from discontent and closer to an understanding that no amount of trying (on my part) will ensure that life follows the path I set. As I continue on a journey that has no specific end, I hope to focus more on the events on they occur and less on the end result I want.

And I hope to see the blessings that I have instead of only the blessings I hope to have. Because they are there - waiting for me to take notice - even if I refuse to acknowledge them.

(title from "hold on" by mary beth maziarz)

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