on contentment

   In my head, I'm supposed to be buying my new camera right about now. I'm supposed to have sold my other and now have the money to buy the new one. But there it is, still on top of the dresser. In my head, I am supposed to have drawers and a closet full of vintage clothing and retro shoes that really define my style. But every time I open my closet doors and the drawers, there lay 5 or 6 new shirts mangled up with 8th and 9th grade clothing. I am supposed to have already bought the romper and the super cute white oxfords that were such eye candy a month ago, but somehow, I don't.  I am supposed to be financially stable. I am supposed to have several hundred dollars tucked away and a steady source of income. But then Clark's vet bill rang up to the pleasant site of $409. Airport food cost a pretty penny. Fast food stole my dollars; money spent immaturely and unwisely. I'm supposed to be somewhere with my career by now. Perhaps 4 or 5 film credits as background and extras work? 2 at the minimum? Maybe a commercial or 2? Several auditions? Possibly leaping ahead and already being in Los Angeles to study? But here I sit, inexperienced, as amateur as when I began my journey, a feeling of utter hopelessness creeping in, and a starving resume saved onto Word. I am supposed to have a job so that I can pay for my phone bill, my car insurance, save for my big leap to California, buy those super cute white oxfords, and get a taste of the real world. But here I am, still searching, still filling out the never ending applications, still hopping from place to place in a car low on gas and finding it exceedingly difficult to find success. I am supposed to have complete peace of mind, eternal happiness, and things are supposed to be working out exactly how I planned them. Instead, that familiar twinge of fear threatens to rob me. I'm supposed to have good health, all of these bodily symptoms gone. But here I am, still dealing with the same recurring symptoms, and getting 0 answers. In  my head, I'm supposed to have constant happiness like everyone who posts photos of their morning Bible study and latte art. Instead, I feel constantly on edge and anxious and sometimes bitter.

In my head, a lot of things are supposed to happen, because isn't it my right to them? My head is telling me that YES, I have a right and deserve these things, yet they don't happen or I don't get them. No matter how much I kick and scream and fight, I seem to hallucinate rope at my feet every time I begin to enter a doorway, constantly tripping me. I feel no peace and no satisfaction and constantly am on the run for MORE of everything, when in reality, I need less.

"A culture or an individual with a weak base can stand only when the pressure on it is not too great. As an illustration, let us think of a Roman bridge. The Romans built little humpbacked bridges over many of the streams of Europe. People and wagons went over these structures safely for centuries, for two millennia. But if people today drove heavily loaded trucks over these bridges, they would break. It is this way with the lives and value systems of individuals and cultures when they have nothing stronger to build on than their own limitedness, their own finiteness. They can stand when pressures are not too great, but when pressures mount, if then they do not have a sufficient base, they crash-just as a Roman bridge would cave in under the weight of a modern six-wheeled truck. Culture and the freedoms of people are fragile. Without a sufficient base, when such pressures come only time is needed and often not a great deal of time-before there is a collapse." --Francis Schaeffer

Yet we remain shocked when our lives begin to deteriorate? What I keep having to realize is that "things" don't last forever; the camera, the white oxfords. I'm having to realize that happiness doesn't depend upon a steady job or being successful or having money or looking pretty. Sure, those things are great in the mean time, but they don't last forever and they simply cannot bring everlasting happiness. I wondered for so long why there were so many stories about celebrity deaths due to suicide, celebrities entering rehab from drug addiction, why alcohol seemed to take a toll on their lives, and why they never seemed to have happiness. Then it clicked. They have anything and everything they could ever want. Because there is no God in their lives to sustain them, they turn to materialistic things to fulfill that craving for happiness and contentment. They build and build and build their lives upon finite things; wealthy spouses and pretty houses and all things luxe. They are well off for a while, but what happens when crap hits the fan and those things no longer provide happiness? There is nothing more to look to, other than their own human nature, resulting in the horror of what happens in a fallen world.

I could keep going on, but let's practice something together - let's choose contentment. Let's realize that there is only one God who we can put our hope in and only one God who has the power to gift us contentment to fill that aching, empty feeling. Let's apply what we learned when each of us once was a little child, and practice an act of gratefulness for what we do have. All of it is a gift. It's a gift that we don't deserve and a gift that deserves gratitude. My gosh, it's hard, believe me - but it is rewarding. To carry on with life without that nagging push for more is a gift in and of itself.


  1. It's the great argument, isn't it? Human happiness is complicated...too complicated. Contentment is definitely important, but so hard to achieve, and indeed keep stable.

    Anna x

  2. This is so real, so honest. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. I definitely find myself getting sucked into the same cycle. I was to look good, have cute outfits, drink lattes with the perfect latte art, but the reality is most days I'm in my pjs, uncombed hair, and makeup-less. It's not pretty. And the reason that disappoints me is because of how much value I place on these outer appearances and goals I feel the need to be achieving. The other day I realized how I constantly fall into repeated self-sufficiency. Wanting to be the best so that I can feel good about myself without needing help from anyone else--God included. And that's just so messed up, because not even I am enough for myself. As you said, contentment from God is something I definitely need to dwell on more often, otherwise I'll just continually be disappointed as my goals, friends, and self continue to dissatisfy.


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