A while back I found a sign at our local thrift store that said “Choose Joy”. I instantly fell in love with it and placed it in a spot I would see it every single day. A daily reminder to myself to purposefully choose how I was going to respond to the world around me. Lately I have been struggling with contentment and the ability to enjoy life right where I am at. I see where I want to go and get impatient to allow experience to catch up to my skills. Social media has also made it accessible for me to see exactly what I don’t have and what I could have if I just worked harder. Life is a marathon not a sprint and if I run full tilt now life will get unbalanced.
This is not a new theme in my life, it is in fact a pattern and the cycle must be broken. I must sit through the frustration, confusion and pain to get to the other side. No amount of running, jumping or pulling is going to make the wagon go any faster. Especially when God himself sits in it and says nope, it’s time you learned child. It use to frustrate me and now I am so thankful he sits in the wagon and makes it impossible to pull. Life a horse in a round pen I get tired and start looking around for relief. Soon I am so tired I cannot do anything but obey. I drop my head, lick my lips three times and surrender. Surrender doesn’t mean I have lost or given up. No, it means I can finally find relief and safety, it means I have slowed down enough to get out of my way. I have to run out of good ideas before I will even sit down and listen to God’s. Which is craziness because while it feels bumpy and insane, God’s ways are peaceful, joyful, mindful and soulful.
As I was falling asleep last night it dawned on me (because I stopped running around in the round pen) that contentment is a mindful, conscious decision. Each and every day it is up to me to choose it. Similar to joy, peace, compassion, love and patience…contentment is a choice. It is not an emotion, it is an mental and emotional action. Similar to faith. Faith is not faith until you chose to believe something you cannot see. Faith and contentment are both choices. You cannot buy it at the store, you can not steal someone else’s. When you are left looking in the mirror and the quietness in your brain takes over, it is a choice.
I can run from it, I can find exciting adventures to take it’s place, but they become fillers, symptom soothers, but they are not true contentment. I am thankful that in the spaces I ran to God met me in each and everyone of them. I will plan for tomorrow, I am thankful for my past, but I am content today. I am choosing contentment with thanksgiving.