Faith

learning contentment

I’ve been thinking about contentment. So often I have taught myself to not want it. I always identified contentment with complacency which seems juxtaposed to everything I know to be true about ambition. Contentment has always carried a negative connotation for me.

As I get older and my accomplishments change from awards and titles to growing little humans through the milestones of life, my perspective is forced to change. No one pats you on the back for being a mom. Or awards you for raising decent human beings. No one praises you through the rough days of total defeat. Accomplishments are decided within one self each day. Sometimes I win the day, and sometimes I lose. Neither have anything to do with the events of the day, but rather with the condition of my heart.

Chaos disturbs me to my core. Anyone with multiple toddlers is fully aware that chaos is just part of life. So as much as I try to teach my son to be neat and orderly, and that everything has a place — some days he is like a tornado of destruction and calamity. I look around at my house and see disorder and immediately become anxious. The decision I make at this moment is when I win or lose the day. And then the twelfth time that I’ve said no to watching PJ Mask. I, again, have a chance to win or lose the day. And then when my daughter throws her dinner on the floor in protest, I again, have another chance to win or lose the day. The amount of difficult moments just gives me more chances to win. More opportunities to rely on Jesus’s abundant grace. More times to understand the flaws in my own character that are highlighted by my children. These moments present me with the decision to grow or to remain the same.

So what does being content in motherhood look like? Maybe learning to love the moments of difficulty as much as the moments of joy. Maybe choosing to revel in the goodness, whatever goodness you can find, instead of dwelling on the disaster. Maybe just releasing whatever expectation you have over the moment and accepting the beauty that’s before you. I’m sure it varies by person and by moment. Contentment doesn’t scare me anymore. I think it releases you into freedom. Things may come or may go, but I choose to only hold tightly to joy.

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