Contentment. It’s something I’ve struggled with for awhile.
Our family is definitely in a place of transitions. We’re a family of 4 living in a 2 bedroom apartment (on the 3rd story), we share a vehicle and our kids are small enough that we’re constantly kept on our toes as they have ever changing moods and are constantly hitting new developmental stages.
It’s easy to get discouraged during transitions, especially the ones that can last for years. It will probably be a 2-3 more years until we can buy a house of our own and I’m impatient. The kids sometimes loose their cools simultaneously and I find myself wishing my scenario were a little different, that I had a bit more help or at least more calm children on my hands.
The things that I desire are not bad, but the lack of joy in my heart is definitely a problem. In the past few months I’ve realized that, contentment does not mean that I desire nothing but rather, it’s the simple decision to be happy with what I have.
I still have a deep desire for a house of our own. I would love to be able to walk in my front door without going up 2 flights of stairs first, all while carrying kiddos and groceries. I’d love to have a yard for the kids to play in, a place of our own where they can safely run off energy. My desire for all these things has not gone away, or lessened. But for the first time in a long time I’m truly happy where we are.
My kiddos still practice simultaneous meltdowns and crawl all over me whenever I sit down to do laundry. It’s cliche, but I really can’t remember the last time I went to the restroom in peace (when it wasn’t 3am). I still get annoyed, I lose my patience frequently. But underneath it all, is joy. Where used to hide discontentment, and closet bitterness for the long hours I care for my family, there now lies joy.
So, what’s changed? The answer is fairly simple – I used to try to tell myself the things I wanted didn’t matter, I often would do my best to pretend I didn’t really want them and to stuff down the desires I held because they were so far off.
Lately, I’ve learned that desire is not wrong, I can want all types of things, as long as I’m also happy with what I have, and the season of life that I am in. I’ve stopped lying to myself. Instead of pretending my feelings don’t exist, I recognize them and then choose joy instead of focusing on my wants and unmet desires.
I find happiness that we are here together, and we’re making it work. I smile as I see our relationships growing as we make it through less-than-ideal circumstances.
It’s been a long road to contentment, I still have a lot of growing to do in this area, but I’m learning! I know this is the first step to teaching my children to be content. Learning to be there myself. Practicing it in front of them, until we both learn.
How do you find joy in circumstances that would normally keep you annoyed/bitter? I’d love to hear!