Trying to focus on contentment. I know there are a dozen or more posts about teaching children to be content. Happiness is fleeting. Joy is a choice. Yada, yada, yada. All of it is true. We are doing our best to teach our daughter those same things.
It’s hard, though, to teach what you are still learning. This week I am going to try (this is the key word) to be content in all areas of my life. Yes, Yoda fans… I realize there is a difference between try and do. Just being pragmatic. Try is more realistic. Awareness will be key.
Just to get myself started, I will be content…
- When I incorporate intentional movement (read – exercise) into my day. I will not be unhappy when the workout is not as long (20 minutes vs. 1 hour) or as intense as I want every time. I will be content with what I do, knowing it’s more than I chose to do in the past. Also, understanding this is a journey, and I am somewhere on the learning curve.
- With my food choices. I am serious. The fact that I am aware of what I’m eating is huge. Even when I slip or even when I choose something that I shouldn’t (still trying to figure out why I do that), I am keeping track. This will also be hard for me – to be content in this place. Ideally, I want to have defined arms, abs, and legs. At this point in my life, however, I will take a healthy weight and a healthy body image. In this moment, that’s akin to saying I want to be the next American Idol. The adages are true, though, every journey begins with a first step; persistence pays; and challenges that do not kill me can make me stronger.
- When my mother calls me ten times each day. Mom and I have a rocky relationship. She just lost her husband of 42 years. I am her daughter. Rather than feeling bothered (I know I sound horrible), I will be content. She is alive. I am alive. There is hope.
- When I see this time at home as a blessing. No paid employment in six months (as of today). This gift (I was offered a voluntary severance package) allowed me to take care of my father without concern for project deadlines or budgets. Trying to be content here will be toughest for me, as work has always been a source of validation. Not saying that it should be, or that I want it to be again. Just want to be a good steward with both my skill set and my opportunities.
Paul tells us in Philippians 4:11, “…for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” Timothy puts it this way (1 Tim 6:8), “But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.”
Contentment. Does this mean I can no longer ambitiously drive toward the goal? Hope not. Think it’s like everything else, I need to check my motivation. Am I seeking validation? more money? more stuff? Or, am I seeking to be all He created me to be. Big difference. Hoping that I can focus on the latter.