For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. Philippians 4:11b ESV
Although you may find contentment in your life, it will never absolve the desire for more. This is at the heart of a struggle many of us feel and precisely why the bible speaks to contentment at so many points. Hebrews 13:5 reminds us to “keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you,’” and Matthew 6:33 implores us to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” instead of chasing all that is worldly.
Straddling this place of deeply loving the life I have with my husband, our boys, friends, family, my job, etc., yet feeling this desire for more has been a challenge. For a while I thought social media may be the problem. When I clicked open the Instagram app, I would scroll and scroll, looking at the highlight reel of everyone else's life, wishing for and wanting some of what they had. As it turns out, I did have some work to do in the realm of cultivating gratitude in my daily life so that comparison and envy didn't steal the joy of what I had been given each time I opened my feed. But even with putting in the reps, doing the work of cultivating gratitude, and striking that stance of contentment without complacency, I still want more some days.
You get the degree; then you want the job. You get the job; then you want the promotion. You get the apartment; then you want the house. You get the boyfriend; then you want the husband. You get the husband; then you want the baby. You get the baby; then you want another. The list goes on. Because, this side of heaven, we long. This side, you can be deeply content with your lot by singing 'it is well with my soul,' yet feel the aching and longing in your soul for more because this temporary world is not your eternal home.
It’s a strange dichotomy, an odd pull, to be grateful for your life, where if you never received another gift from God or saw another dream come true, it would be enough. Yet you still desire more. It's the tightrope you walk, the balancing act you face, this side of this earth. Until you get to heaven, when you are whole, home and complete, you will feel that pull and that yearning.
Yet we can come to appreciate those unmet desires in our hearts, those longings in our souls that we work and wait for, never knowing if they will come to be. It reminds us that we’re not home, we’re not whole, that we haven’t gotten too settled and too comfortable in this temporary life. All those unmet desires and longings we hold are the very things that keep me ever cultivating a life of contentment, where we can wholeheartedly say ‘it is well’ whatever my lot.
Your Fellow Able Mom,
Lord, out of everything I desire in life, may I want nothing more than you. You know all my longings, you see all my desires, you hear all my prayers. Grant what you will, and help me to relinquish the rest, trusting fully in your providence and plan. Amen.
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