I started reading a new book today. In the first chapter, one of my favorite authors admitted to being a person who rushes ahead, often going through the motions of any current activity on her way to the next one. I am guilty of the same thing, so much so, that I was inspired to write what I learned about becoming “surprisingly satisfied.” If I turned the author’s confessions into the cliché sounding questions heard on late night infomercials, I would roll over in bed and look at the television screen because I would be interested in what was being sold.
- Are you a person that rushes ahead?
- Do you find yourself going through the motions of activities just to get to the next one?
- Are you overeager to get to that next thing?
- Are you rarely satisfied in full with your present situation?
Yes, all me!
I find it fitting that I’m reading this chapter in the book, The Resolution for Women, the last day of my sixth year teaching. Some of my teacher friends know that one of my favorite Christian authors is Priscilla Shirer, so they bought me two of her books as a departing gift. Departing gift, yep, I can’t believe it. It hasn’t hit me yet that I won’t be returning next year to teach.
Two of the questions at the end of the first chapter about contentment are:
- What have you been hurrying to get to?
My answer to that question is staying at home with my son.
- What have I been hurrying though?
Day to day tasks, making sure everything is checked off on my physical to-do lists (as well as my mental lists) before I go to bed, sleep, wake up, and do it all over again. I find myself hurrying, going through the motions, being present physically, but not mentally. I know for a fact that God put the desire in my heart to take a break from teaching because I was giving my best to my career, leaving what was left to those who matter most in this season of my life, my husband and my son.
Priscilla writes, “only for these fleeting moments would my children talk, look, and act exactly like this.” I’m writing this as RJ sleeps. I look at him in wonder of how fast he has grown and how fleeting these moments really are. Reading that statement makes my heart hurt. Not because of how quick the time has flown by, but because of the moments I missed when I was too consumed with getting the daily tasks done or even dreaming of what our days will look like when I’m finished teaching. I’m a sucker for a countdown, but when countdowns make you feel like you can’t be truly satisfied until the day you’re counting down to arrives, they can lead to discontentment in our current circumstances.
We all know that life gets busy. Before we know it, we arrive in a new season, without fully appreciating the one we just closed the doors to. I can beat myself up about not being completely present in the past. Or, I can accept God’s grace and let it overflow on my life. I can start slowing down and catching God in every moment, even the small ones.
I believe one of the most quoted scriptures is, “I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13) I am sure many people can quote this scripture by heart, but I’m curious to know how many people can recall what comes before it.
Paul writes, “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content- whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.” The secret of contentment is knowing that Christ will strengthen us in every season.
My hope in writing this is to encourage you. To the working parents, stay at home parent, couples dreaming of having their own children someday. To the person who is eager for the next season, next relationship, next promotion, next job, or even retirement. I hope that we all are able to slow down and reflect on things that might be causing us to not be fully present and content. Our hopes for the future are not meant to steal our present happiness. Our schedules are not meant to consume us. God never wants us to over commit. Let us grow more accustomed to saying, “no,” especially if it is a task God has not led us to complete.
I wrote a couple of resolutions for myself to help me feel more content in my current season:
- Write down things I’m thankful for on a day to day basis to notice God’s hand in ALL things (I recommend reading, One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp. I am rereading it this summer)
- Avoid comparing my season to someone else’s
- Develop a healthy balance of living in the present and being excited for what God has planned for my future
- Spend less time on my cellphone
I would love more suggestions! If you haven’t already, I definitely recommend reading the book that inspired me to write this post.
I pray Jesus fills you up, causing you to overflow and run over, blessing someone else’s life today. 💗