by: Cris Corzine-McCloskey
Last week I discussed disappointment. This week I want to look at its antonym, contentment. While contentment may be the antonym of disappointment, I think it’s synonymous with joy and peace. It’s the feeling inside that says “I am satisfied and happy.” We all crave it, and when we have it, it rarely lasts.
One reason for that is our brains are like computers infected with popups. Inside those popups are luring enticements about the next “big thing” we think we need or the speck of pepper in an otherwise lovely bowl of milk. If that weren’t enough, our brains are also horrible about living in the present.
Our brains like to time travel. They shoot up to the future, which is full of anxiety and “what if’s.” Then they zip to the past, bringing depression from memories of mistakes or things we’ve lost. All the while, the brain is encased in a body that is in the present, not enjoying the beautiful things going on around it.
Do you ever slow down enough in the morning to feel the warmth of a cup of coffee in your hands? Do you take a moment to savor the aroma, feel the scent travel through your nose as you inhale the rich smell? Have you ever paused to listen to the birds singing or your children’s laughter, and just relish the moment? Life is a marvel. Laughter, sunshine, clean air to breathe, warm food on the table, a soft bed to lie down in, these are the things surrounding your everyday life, and they are good, very good.
When God created the world, He created a man and woman to live in a perfect garden full of delights. There was only one prohibition (don’t eat from that tree!) in a life full of freedom and beauty. Eve was the only woman in history who lived in a perfect home with a perfect spouse. But she wanted more. Otherwise, she would not have been susceptible to the serpent’s lie.
What was the serpent’s lie? He told Eve she was lacking something. That is the lie that gets us every time. If we have a spouse who doesn’t appear to care about our needs, we become discontent. Forgetting we have a Savior who hangs on our every word and is so concerned about our needs He numbers the hairs on our heads. If we have kids who drain us, we lose patience and dream of a different life, forgetting Christ gave us the peace and patience to deal with all situations. There is no problem you can think of He is not the solution to. We lack no good thing.
I picture David, sitting with His sheep, feeling lonely. Instead of jumping down the rabbit hole of discontent, he shook off the lie, took stock in all he had, and penned Psalm 23. “The Lord is my shepherd, I have all I need.” That is the voice of deep-soul contentment.
Contentment is not the absence of trouble. If we wait on our circumstances to line up before we feel content, we will never get there. Contentment is the ability to live in the present, taking in all the sounds, smells, tastes…the beauty of this life we’ve been given, and realizing what a gift it is. The Lord indeed is your shepherd, your best friend, and your ever-present help in time of need. Slow down, enjoy the moment, and breathe Him in.