in which i change direction. a bit.
So. Today I learned that contentment does not equal resignation and my poor tired mind just could.not.take.it.in. I think part of me thought that being content meant I would just keep on not liking some things, but acting okay about it. Almost in a comparison sense. Like. Well, we don't have a fantastic vehicle and it's straggling along and the other one doesn't even start, but at least I don't have to walk everywhere. Except there are soooooo many things wrong with that statement. Aside from the obvious - our car situation appears dismal at times - I'm not in a position of just resigning myself to it. That's not the thing of practicing contentment. I guess things just aren't going to get better - it is what it is - better get used to it. And comparing myself to someone else to guilt myself into feeling better about my situation?! Heavens, this is a mess. Contentment isn't backwards guilt, either.
So if it's not resignation and it's not comparison...how do I begin to engage the idea of genuinely "appreciating all there is in such a position"?
I feel like I'm turning into a broken record: gratitude.
That's really what it is. Gratitude turns what you have into enough (whoever said that should be getting royalties). Gratitude is the thing that draws my eyes away from myself, my wants, my frustrations and grumblings. Gratitude unlocks contentment and unlocks peace.
Most of us struggle with contentment on a more daily basis with seemingly trivial things - my teeth are too big, my home is not lovely, her kids are better behaved, my hair never cooperates, our finances are too tight. If not trivial by definition, at least in most cases not life-altering. We deal with very minor issues and complain or compare and find ourselves wishing for someone else's set of circumstances which, as we all know, we ourselves would be handling much better.
But what about the bigger things? Those that carry a greater burden? What about when we have a discontent because something in our lives does not appear to be lining up with a deep desire or a seemingly righteous request of God?
I want to pursue for a few days the idea of discontent stemming from dissatisfaction with the action (or lack thereof) of God on our behalf. Or, more succinctly - unanswered prayer.
Because I think contentment is about more than just wanting a prettier home or cuter clothes or a smaller bum. I think contentment wages war on our very souls when the cries of our heart go unanswered by a mighty, holy God whom we desperately ask to move for us.
So that's the plan for the next several posts, y'all. How do we cultivate contentment in the face of answered prayer?