Saturday, December 3, 2016

On Being Content

It’s fascinating which conversations stick with you and drift around in your thoughts for a while.

A few weeks ago, when I was talking to a friend on the phone, she asked me, “Are you content?” Her question was timely. The week before that, I had begun to realize that nothing in my life was broken. Rather, everything was quite alright; so, I had no reason to be discontent. Instead, I decided, I have every reason to be grateful for the people and circumstances that are currently part of my life.

Both my friend and I were beginning to understand that we can have sunny sky days and disastrous Jonah days, feel elated and downtrodden, and still be content with our lives. As human beings, we have the ability to exist at a place within ourselves that is deeper and more foundational than our emotions. Although our emotions are legitimate reactions to our circumstances, they are immediate and fleeting. We always need to take them with a grain of salt, so to speak. This has been an important lesson for me.

So, that’s why my friend asked, “Are you content?” She saw that my answer would tell her more about my life than my current emotional reaction.

The answer is: yes, I am content. My lifestyle is simple, but I have a great deal of freedom, since I only have myself to take care of right now. My job challenges me to learn about and try many styles of writing—from administrative memos, to marketing emails, to event ads. The people I work with are striving to know God and do His will. I have two fantastic housemates who make me laugh, put up with my occasional grouchiness and my tidying spurts, and love great music. (The Oh Hellos, anyone?) My friends live all over the country, but they are just a phone call (or plane ride) away. I have met some new people over the past month or two, and I am hopeful that new friendships will develop in time. I’ve gotten comfortable with being at home in the evening and doing nothing but knitting while watching TV.

Most importantly, I am content—or rather, at peace—with my relationship with the Lord. When I can’t sense His presence, it can be tempting to think that I’ve gotten something wrong, or that I need to fix our relationship by trying some other devotion or prayer. But I don’t think that’s what He actually wants. In those times, I think He asks me to trust that He is still leading me.

Prayer is a gift from Him. So, whether I am distracted or bleary-eyed, I am thankful that He gives me the grace to make my effort to be with Him each day. And I am content to wait until He reveals Himself to me.

“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation.” –Psalm 62:1

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