Contentment {#wholemama}

I want to justify contentment and write a pretty little piece with a bow on it.  But I want to justify discontent because that is what I am.

I know I want to be content, but often discontent drives me.

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It’s daily choices of contentment that catch me as most difficult. The willingness to sit and play a game with my preschoolers. The ability to accept the hard and avoided things with the easy welcomed things. Just living here and in this moment.
My discontentment is often future oriented. I want to do the big and great things but I have to balance of what could be with what is. I’m constantly weighing my options in hopes of making good decisions.
“Jesus does not call us to get comfortable in holes.” Heather Caliri writes in her most recent post in her series on the easy yoke. She says:
“Our resurrection is nothing unless we have actually been in a tomb. Our rejoicing is sweetest when we know how to mourn. Jesus did not preach can-do optimism.
We must not call everything wholeness.
We are called to discern, and then ask for help choosing joy, hope, and love. This takes incredible bravery and courage. It’s why we have to pray like mad (help, help help) to get us there.”
I want one option to be right and the other wrong. I want an easy answer. I’m tempted to assume that contentment would lead to wholeness, but then discontent chases me down daily, compelling me to change for the better. Each seems to lead to me to wholeness and Jesus in a different way.
Paul wrote about how he learned to be content in all things:
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
Maybe discontent is good for something. And maybe contentment is worthwhile, too.

I have more questions than answers.

Such is life, maybe.


 

 

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14 thoughts on “Contentment {#wholemama}

  1. These are really, really good questions, Erika, and you’re right–there are no easy answers. I so identify with them–especially the discontent that sneaks up when the days with kids are long and hard. I think a beginning lies in knowing who you are, and what you want–what you really want. For me, setting up some achievable goals in areas I longed to grow in (writing is the biggest) made it easier for me to be content with some boring days. You can lose yourself in caregiving so easily. I would really encourage you to go read some of my friend Melissa Camara Wilkins’ writing–I think she has such an amazing insight into the balance between contentment and self-acceptance and also seeking to grow and change. And please know–I don’t have a perfect answer to any of these questions either–but I have a sense that I have made space for the things most important to me–which makes a big difference in my contentment level. xoxo

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    1. Yes, those goals and actually prioritizing them when other people don’t has been my exercise this year. I will go look for Melissa! Thanks for the recommendation :) And thank you for stopping in and making this post better with your voice. :)

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  2. When contemplating this prompt, I had a similar push-pull debate going on in my head. I relate to these feelings very well. I suspect the answer is in the definition being presented, but I haven’t worked it out yet. But I do feel that there is a need for me to find a deeper peace and contentment which is only found at his knee. But contentment does not mean a stopping, or a giving up – there is work to be done all the while.

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  3. I fear and rejoice in the fact that the questions seem to be a constant. Push and pull. Forcing me to look at the other hand and the other, other hand. Keeping things grey.

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  4. I love the fact that you are refusing to be put in a box of terminology that says: “Contentment is ALWAYS good. Discontent is ALWAYS bad.” Or vice versa for that matter. I’m wondering if we view them as symptoms of something larger we might come close to deciding whether the feeling should be fostered or rejected. Is my contentment a symptom of my complacent selfishness or is it flowing forth from a heart that has learned to say “enough”? Is my discontent a sign of a heart that wants to do more for God or is it a result of the galloping greedy gimmes (You can tell I spent hours reading Berenstain Bears books to my kids . . .).
    Blessed Thanksgiving to you, Erika!

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    1. That is wise to consider the feelings as symptoms of something larger. Thanks for turning our thoughts that way, Michele. I love how each comment provides more perspective to the topic. I love #wholemama. :)

      And yes, those galloping greedy gimmes are so persistent. I read that book when I was little :)

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  5. We all wish for easy answers, don’t we, Erika? Contentment is so hard to learn. Sometimes I think I’m making headway and others times my discontent is at the helm. I think the answer lies somewhere in realizing that on our own it is sometimes difficult, but when we focus on God and rely on strength from him, we are better able to be content. I guess what I mean is that contentment is not so much what we do. It’s more of an attitude of the heart, maybe? At least I know that when we continually strive for something in our own strength and out of compulsion, we seem to move farther away from the desired destination. Thank God that He gives us grace and walks with us through this life with its ups and downs.

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    1. That relying on God is what I had a hard time finding the words for in this post. Thanks for making the ideas more complete with your comments, Gayl. I love how the comments build more depth here. <3

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  6. “Maybe discontent is good for something. And maybe contentment is worthwhile, too.”

    Love it. I am a firm believer in embracing the tension and finding beauty in the mystery. :)

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