Contentment: Hold Me, and I Will Hold You


       I’ve written two separate drafts in the last few weeks, each chronicling the aches and pains of this past year. I wrote about my struggles financially, emotionally, relationally and others. I waxed poetic about suffering. I have always been an optimistic, “Life is good so let’s throw a party” kind of person. But this past year bore deep struggles that weighed heavy on my soul. I grasped onto hope nearly every day but when even hope let me down, life just felt impossible.
      I deleted those drafts. The truth is that I am tired of feeling defeated. I am tired of being miserable and I am tired of letting my circumstances dictate my attitude. I have been bitter enough. So my cliché answer is to sift through these futile seconds of each day and rest my eyes on those few good morsels. I want to pinch them between my fingers, absorbing the sweetness into my veins. The negative will fall to the ground, never receiving my attention.
       One of my clients at work recently mentioned that he and his wife have $80,000 in student loan debt that they are trying to pay off. They are 40 years old and just bought a home with over 2000 square feet. In the very next sentence, he told me their plan is to move in a few years into a bigger home with over 2500 square feet, valued at $300,000. I bit my tongue. Partly to be kind, because as a banker I wanted to encourage him to focus more on paying off debt first. But partly because I suddenly didn’t feel so bad about struggling with contentment. God gives us 2000 square feet and we want 2500 square feet. I cannot judge this person because I AM this person. Maybe not physically, but mentally.
       I struggle and question God over and over. I am a chess piece that He has placed for His good purposes yet I have the guts to lift my little face toward Him and tell Him to move me. I want a specific reason for every step instead of trusting His sovereignty. I want a map in my hand instead of His hand as we walk together. I want a reason for every second that I am uncomfortable and He shows me in His word how Paul was beaten regularly, John was beheaded and His only son Jesus was murdered. And I still somehow have the guts to complain, question and cry in rebellion even though I am not the first or last human on this earth to suffer pain.
       I’m grateful. I recognize beautiful gifts in my life and I’m glad they are there. But I am ungrateful more. I bury the things that I love beneath the multitude of things that I question. I stare at my troubles so hard that they gain a stronghold in my heart and become immovable. I spend so much time massaging their ego and they push everything positive straight out of my view. It takes me a minute sometimes to forget that I can stop holding my breath because the world isn’t ending. I can’t believe how far I have fallen.
       I’m a striver; a fighter ready to lay down their armor. I want to cradle peace in my arms as if it is the fragile, angelic thing that can save me. Because I really think it can. I think this life is crazy and blisteringly hard sometimes. And how am I going to survive if I can’t kiss the good things on the cheeks and thank them for being in my life?
       If I hold tight to my pride and control, God can’t fill my arms with peace and contentment. But if I let my arms fall in complete surrender to this reality He has given me, maybe I will see the sweetness He has injected into my short, little life.

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