Learning to be Content

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.

Redhead girl at wheat field

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.

choosing to be happy

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! 

 


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Young wife, mama, author, blogger, encourager, friend. Lover of hot weather, chocolate, watching my kids giggle and encouraging people.
Absolutely-everything-you-need-to-get-started-YL

Comments

  1. says

    I love what you have written here.

    We’re in a stage of transition too and recognise so many of the feelings you have described.

    Visiting the bathroom in peace??? Oh wouldn’t that be amazing?

    Yet, you’re right we don’t need to suppress these desires. Prayer comes out of deep longing and there are so many examples of people in the Bible who wanted their circumstances to change. Hannah, Rachel, Sarah…

    But joy is a choice. Absolutely! And we can be content in the less than ideal circumstances.

    Such wisdom here. Thanks so much for sharing. Blessings.

  2. says

    I love this post! And I just adore your blog… everything about it says “peace”… the colors and design…your words. Beautiful!
    I am reminded of Paul’s letter where he says he has learned to be content in all circumstances, written from his jail cell, bound and captive. I should go look up that scripture, but I don’t have the time! :) Stopping by from PYHO!

  3. says

    Such a great post! After reading 1,000 Gift by Ann Voskamp I have started looking for the blessings, both big and small, that God bestows throughout my day. When I see how much He has given and blessed our family with, I find myself resting in His arms which brings joy and contentment.

  4. Sarah says

    This is a wonderful post and perfect timing for me! AMEN to transitions that seem to last for years, I’m starting to accept the fact that with children, life will always be a transition! Just yesterday someone said something really helpful to me, that the difficulties we have don’t mean that we should give up on our dreams or desires, but they help us learn and grow.

  5. Leah says

    Wow, this was very good! For a long time I was doing that same thing, telling myself that my feelings didn’t matter and all that did was lead to depression. My counselor said “Your feelings matter” and that was something I needed to hear. Thank you for your inspiring and uplifting posts. God bless you for sharing. Leah

  6. says

    I think there’s a reason God had me link up after you in 2 places today. We’re also in a {very long} transition period, and it’s so easy to lust after “good things” that we want in the future – a house of our own, a fenced-in yard, a good vehicle, etc. But you’re right. We need to be content in the waiting period too. We can still desire those things, but not idolize them., or be pre-occupied with them.

  7. says

    So wise, Paula. I’ve struggled with contentment too over the years. It’s really a beautiful thing when God moves mightily in an area. I remember being SO frustrated that I had to wash dishes over and over and over again, all in the same day. But eventually, God gave me joy and peace over that. But like you, I struggle with contentment and wanting a bigger home. It is tough, but you’re so right. Choose joy and trust in Jesus. That’s what I need to remember every day.

  8. says

    Oh, transition… I wish you would go take a hike! Like so many others, we’re muddling our way through a period of transition as well, and it’s so tough on a heart. BUT it is so good, too, when we learn to trust the Lord in the now and find contentment. Thanks for writing this- it was a blessing to me today!

  9. says

    What a great thought the the wanting is not the problem…but not being content with where we are right now is the problem. Thought-provoking and challenging. Thanks!

  10. says

    I just love reading your posts! This was beautiful and something that I have struggled with as well. We have an older house that we’re remodeling room by room paying as we go to get the things done. Our backyard is a disaster (due to construction projects) and not an ideal play area that I desire for our kids to have. We put down a new kitchen floor a few years ago only to have a pipe burst under the sink and flood the kitchen. The boards separate from the water swelling and now there are big gaps in between the planks on my floor. Every time I would sweep and crumbs would get stuck in those cracks I would find myself desiring a new floor and having no contentment for what I had. It wasn’t until my brother-in-law went on a mission trip to Haiti that my perspective changed. He came back with stories of the living conditions and how people down there had dirt floors. Since then I have truly made great strides in being content to have a big spacious house even though it’s a work in progress, having a backyard that will someday be beautiful and I’m thankful to call our own, and to have a floor in my kitchen instead of dirt to walk on. Like you said, I still desire those other things, but I am content where we are. :-) Visiting from Fellowship Fridays

  11. says

    Oh girl! I understand the difficulty that comes with “the waiting.” I usually find it easier to regain an appropriate attitude when we’re going through a transitional period by repeating the mantra that “This world is not my home. Live with an eternal mindset.” Keep on keeping on! :)

  12. says

    Great post!!! I hear you. We were at that same spot, too. 2nd floor apartment, two very small children…meltdowns and needy babies. It’s not easy. And I love what you said about contentment. It isn’t not wanting something, its knowing that you want something but choosing to be content with what you already have. Excellent description!

  13. says

    It’s all too easy to focus on the negattive aspects of your life, bypassing what really matters. Well done on reaching contentment and good luck with achieving your dreams in the future.

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