We were going around the circle in our small group, sharing our prayer requests and things we were planning for the coming year and I realized what I wanted for my/our life: a year of contentment. Almost immediately after saying it out loud, I followed it up with saying, but if Simon were to switch to first shift at work, I’d take that, too – that’s the kind of change that I’d welcome to throw a wrench in the gears. Gee, I don’t ask for much.
This has definitely been a year of change and I’m well aware that God answers prayers in ways we aren’t always expecting, despite what our hopes may be and sometimes He goes above and beyond what we could even imagine (this house is our above and beyond because it is so much more than the dwelling itself). So I realize that in praying for a year of contentment, I could be opening up the door to God teaching me to be content, despite the circumstances (Note to God: I’ve got finding contentment in all situations down pat – not perfected by any means, but I’m willing to learn other lessons.) And I’m not praying for boring, or hum drum, but just simple contentment.
From Simon’s mom leaving this world last July to our move on July 1st, it was as near to a year as you can get and it has been quite a year. Plus, there is almost another year in advance of her passing that we were making plans to visit and then saying goodbye and after our move there has been a good three months of settling in, unpacking and adjustment, so we are all set to chill – to take a minute. Now, I can’t make that actually happen, but I can prepare my heart and mind and focus on the things that matter. Enjoying the every day, not looking for the next best thing and not preparing for another great adventure, or a great sadness (though most great sadnesses cannot be planned). Life is an adventure. And life is good and life brings with it hardship. That’s life. But making this house a home, starting a book club and entertaining friends and family whenever we can, these things will do me just fine.
Life is seldom boring, but we are also seldom content. We crave change and excitement and when we don’t, it tends to come looking for us and rocking our boats in ways we weren’t prepared for. And that may still happen to me, to any of us, but in the meantime… I’m going to strive for contentment, though I know I can make no promises to myself that it will fully happen. There are little things that I’ve already been doing that certainly lend themselves to contentment… figuring out ways to deal with the kids and their unsavory behaviors (an allowance system has been put in place and rather than yelling or punishing when they do something on the offense/deduction list, I simply say “That’s ten cents” and mark a tally down on their post-it note); keeping track of things I’m grateful for (dear friends, I need to revive our year of gratitude… you know who you are) and revisiting the things I love like reading, crafting and hanging out with my favorite people (girl’s nights out and date nights/days with my Australian hubby – FTW). And then I know I also need to re-focus on my spiritual life and look to God for my ultimate contentment, the rest is just filling my life with nice things, but without building it all on the rock, I will get easily washed away when the rain comes down or the flood waters rise.
Please join me in praying for contentment, in seeking it out. And please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas on contentment – maybe we can get there together.
Also, if you’re going to tell me I’m crazy or unrealistic in hoping for a year of contentment – just can it. That’s what I have my husband for and I’m not married to the rest of you so I don’t have to hear it from you.
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