There are so many things about my life that I cannot change, and I often find myself feeling sad, frustrated, and resentful.
On the radio yesterday I heard something that inspired me.
We tend to say things like,
"I will be happy WHEN I'm out of debt."
"I will be happy WHEN I have a better job."
"I will be happy WHEN that relationship is mended."
Instead, we should be saying,
"I will be happy EVEN THOUGH I'm not out of debt yet."
"I will be happy EVEN THOUGH this job is not the best fit for me."
"I will be happy EVEN THOUGH that relationship is not what I want it to be."
Even though. Two words that convicted my heart.
This morning I was lying in bed, trying to sleep in, but my thoughts wouldn't let me. The "Serenity Prayer" came to my mind so I Googled it.
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference."
(although the original prayer was slightly different, it was written by Reinhold Niebur and is most commonly known for being adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous)
What a profound prayer. I said it over and over again to myself this morning as I lay in bed. There are so many things I wish I could change at work, at home, in my schedule, etc. God, help me accept what I cannot change. God, help me be peaceful. God, help me be grateful.
A couple of years ago, God spoke to my heart this sentence: "If you struggle with being discontent, you will always be discontent."
God was telling me that I cannot wait for "all my dreams to come true" in order to be happy and grateful. Life isn't perfect, and it sure wastes time and energy feeling miserable over things that we cannot change.
In spite of God convicting me of this a couple of years ago, I still struggle with it very much. He has recently shown me the messages running through my mind are often filled with complaints and longing for circumstances to change.
Contentment is not about our circumstances all being perfectly aligned to our liking. Contentment is an attitude of the heart.
Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11-13:
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
These verses tell me that I can learn to be content, with God's help.
This morning I sat here at my kitchen table, with the usual mess around me, the usual pressure of a "To Do List" looming in my mind. The house was quiet, and I gazed into the backyard. My spirit was stilled. I saw so much beauty in the blue sky, the white clouds, the green trees and grass, the rustling leaves, the tinkling wind chime. I realized that I could appreciate all of this sweetness EVEN THOUGH the window is grubby and the deck is cluttered with tools.
Perspective. What we choose to see makes all the difference.
I felt extreme peace and joy, just from noticing God's blessings. The extravagant beauty of nature right outside my door. The quiet. My dog asleep by my feet. My Bible next to me on the table.
I am reminded of a quote from Anne Frank, a young Jewish girl who was a victim of the Holocaust.
"Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy."
(The Diary of Anne Frank)
This morning I choose to see this:
So, I have decided that I am on a journey to choose contentment. I know this is going be difficult for me because I've allowed an attitude of discontentment to go on for a long time. But I also know all things are possible with help from Jesus.
I will be happy EVEN THOUGH.
What about you? Will you be brave enough to join me?