Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Anticipation of Contentment

One of the things that I've been thinking about a lot over the last few months is the subject of contentment. Being happy with where you are in any moment--not regretting the past or longing for the future (or the other way around), but simply being present and living for the here and now.

All of our lives as human beings, our natural tendency is to rely on anticipation. We wait for the year that we've convinced ourselves will be "where our lives truly start". When we start dating. When we get a job. When we get married. When we finish college. When we have kids. But those moments often come and go, and they don't fulfill our expectations how we thought they ought to.

The event, no matter how great it is, will never live up to the expectations we've set up for it. That birthday party will never be quite as fantastic as you pictured it in your head. That's just the way the world is. And the more we rely on expectations, the more we wish we were in a different place and time than we are now, the more we become disconnected and unhappy with where we are right now.

And that's not what God called us to do or be. He calls us to be content in every circumstance--to trust Him. The more I live my life, the more I realize how horrible a sin worrying really is. When we worry, we not only waste time, we aren't trusting God.

The level of happiness and joy in our lives is directly dependent on our level of trust in God. And until we can learn to be content in every situation we find ourselves in, and not be longing for or dreading things that may or may not ever happen, we will be anxious.

There will never be a point in your life where you can say you've arrived. There will never be a time that you can look at definitively and say "I was the closest to God I'll ever be right about then" or "I was the happiest I'll ever be at that point in my life" because it's simply not true. Or at least it doesn't have to be. People are constantly growing and changing, sometimes for the worse, but sometimes for the better. But looking forward in time and thinking "I'll be a follower of God when that happens" or "I'll be happy when that happens" is just wrong, and it will drive your focus away from what God has for you in this very moment.

You have to live every moment as if it's the best moment of your life. Joy, pure joy, is not something you just stumble upon--it is something that you strive for. It is something that comes from a conscious change of attitude. If you base your actions on however you're feeling at the moment, what happens when you're feeling depressed? God has better things for you to do than to wallow in melancholy because of how horrible a person you are.

Life is about your attitude. There's only so much that other people can do. The rest is up to you. You have the Living God inside of you, and all you have to do is ask for his Holy Spirit to fill you up, and bam, it's there. And that is a conscious choice you have. Life is not about what you're feeling. Life is about what you choose to do with those feelings.

So, let's go. Let's live in the moment. Be content with who we are, where we are, right now. God has some amazing things for us to do, and all we have to do is take a step of faith and trust Him, and He'll lead us. Stop longing for a time when things were better. Stop worrying about what the future might hold.

You're alive now, and you have a job to do.

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