We’ve all been admonished at one time or another to “be content.”But what does that mean?
I know I’ve taken it to mean that I should “Never settle. Always look for God’s best. Don’t become complacent.” All of that can be good advice to varying degrees
But what about rolling up your sleeves, dirtying your hands, and putting down roots?
What about looking at something or someone or some place and saying “This is worthy of my time, my energy, my life”?
What if what we have right now—where we are right now—IS God’s best?
What if the fruit we long for and expect to see from our labor isn’t for us to see in this life? Does that negate the work we’ve been called to?
Now, there’s a balance here. There are also times and seasons—times to plant, times to reap what we’ve planted, and so on, like Ecclesiastes 3 says. I know we’re all in different stages. But maybe “settling in” doesn’t always mean settling. And maybe “standing still” in the eyes of others is the necessary stance for going more deeply than a passing glance would ever notice. Maybe, sometimes, striving to “live sold out” really is simply selling out… missing out on all the infinite tiny gifts wrapped in the mundane moments that sometimes don’t feel special or important.
This perspective shift is HARD.
There are countless things that I honestly have no desire to celebrate—that don’t even deserve celebration. We all have those things in our lives. There are very real things that go on—sometimes for YEARS—that are painful, discouraging, and may honestly never change: health diagnoses that catch us completely off guard, friends who break our trust, broken family relationships.
But there are also countless other things that DO deserve our time, energy, and celebration.
Things like a patient conversation with a coworker with whom you don’t exactly get along with. Things like choosing to greet your roommate or family member with a smile instead of the legitimate list of things you feel like they’re dropping the ball on. Things like choosing to sing to and giggle with your toddler while you’re changing a poopy diaper for the millionth time. Things like welcoming people into your home even though it’s a lot smaller (or messier) than you’d prefer.
In MY life lately, this looks like choosing to look at the daily grind of mothering a toddler as more than just two-steps-forward-and-one-step-backward, and see it as the opportunity to invest in the future by asking God to help me be patient, present, and gentle. If I’m painfully honest, I never expected to have kids and had the idea that I’d change the world in some atypical way. But I’m beginning to see that the long days of motherhood DO change the world… and I can resent that or choose to embrace it.
This minute, this hour, this day.
I’m trying to look at my days and smile about the things I’ve accomplished instead of beating myself up for the things I couldn’t get to. A wise person once told me: “Stop trying to alter my life’s appearance by looking at someone else’s reflection.” Easier said than done, especially when you feel stuck!
My personal reality is that I desire to have a clean home, time to sit and read a few pages of a good book, and mental clarity. But the facts are that I have a teething 21-month-old whose favorite game is pulling things out of drawers, barely any time to wash my hair more than twice a week, and an hour round-trip commute to and from work.
What is also true is that this stage I’m in won’t last forever, and someday I’ll wish I had a toddler running around my feet, leaving her fingerprints all over my existence. I’ll more than likely not remember how clean my house (or hair) was—and neither will my family.
Either the laughter and memories we share will remain in our minds forever, or how grumpy and stressed I often allow myself to be. It’s easy to forget that our extraordinary lives are made up of millions of normal moments.
We only have one chance at this thing called life. We might as well make the most of it with the time we’ve got. And God is more than willing to help us if we ask. In fact, He invites us to ask! Romans 5:3-5 says “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”
What are YOU choosing to be thankful for today?
Danika is a full-time wife and mom, part-time Administrative Coordinator at Project 658, and all-time drinker of anything caffeinated. She loves being outside, seeing people holistically empowered, and doing her part to see and then show others the beauty hiding in the ordinary.