contentment

i’m trying to figure out for myself when i have enough…enough money, enough stuff, enough friends, enough success.

i just recently ended a membership at an online dating site[there’s a subject for a post of its own…maybe later]. on the site, in your profile, it asked the question, “what are some of your goals?”. the question was typically answered with some variation of grow closer to god [it was a site for christians], more job success, more travel, find a spouse and have a family. my answer pretty much fit the pattern, but it has become something that keeps the wheels in my head turning.

if i’m always wanting more, thinking about next, is it because i’m not content with myself or what i have? and if i’m not content in the moment, am i missing out on things in the now because i’m distracted by the desire for more, for next? and if there’s not a more or next, does it mean i’m settling or does it mean i’m learning to be content? and if i’m content, does that mean i’ll become stuck in a rut? it somehow seems there’s a line between contentment and desire for growth, more, next that needs to be found, but i don’t know what that looks like.

i’m wrestling with this in a couple areas in my life…my home, my job, my hope for marriage in particular. on the home, i have a nice apartment in a decent neighborhood. the neighborhood is a little more country than i’d like…but it’s fine, it’s safe and clean. and the apartment itself is a great deal–especially by california standards. but there’s this part of me that wants to live closer to the beach, in a neighborhood that’s a bit nicer and/or a bit funkier, something less country [there are a lot of big trucks in my neighborhood]. and moving means more money…it’d be pretty hard to beat the deal i have here–which is part of why i’ve stayed in this one apartment since moving here five years ago. on the job front, i don’t have a ‘next’ step on the career ladder. i’ve always had a next step on the career ladder until now. i don’t know what exactly to do with that. a small part of it is how our company is structured. the bigger part of it is, that for 90% of my job, i really like what i do. at the moment there are plenty of opportunities to become better at what i’m doing, but there isn’t another step up the ladder. and i’m not really looking for one. i don’t think it’s bad necessarily, but i somehow feel like i should want more, should have a goal another step up the career ladder and that if i don’t i’m somehow a failure. no one is telling me this, but it is something i wonder about. and as for the hope for marriage, i really wonder if it’ll ever happen at all. i assume i’ll be okay if it doesn’t, although i think there’ll always be a longing in my heart for a husband and family. i’m certainly not a fan of the word ‘spinster’, but i am sure i’d rather be single than married for the sake of being married. and after the singles website, i’m really about over the whole dating/looking for someone thing. but there is something that feels like i shouldn’t give up, like deciding to be okay with being permanently single is giving up rather than finding contentment.

so what does it look like to be content in the where you are while hoping for more? can it be done? should it be? i think i’ll be wrestling with this for a while.

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2 Responses to “contentment”


  1. 1 'neice 7 July, 2005 at 6:57 pm

    I hear youd and clear on the marriage thing! It’s in His hands…but I have no clear sense of it is the single life forever or not!

  2. 2 Anonymous 8 July, 2005 at 5:03 am

    i once had a conversation with a person who was looking for someone to do something he needed. and, after finding a “potential” the ball just about dropped into oblivion–which would leave most of us frustrated and feeling hopeless. this person said the most wonderful thing that i have heard in a very long time, “God’s timing is perfect and to be anything more or less than patient is a sin.” (perhaps that’s a bit of a paraphrase since now i can’t remember the exact words, but the point is the same.) your thouhgts here are amazingly common and very well spilled… it’s nice to read my own ponderings in another voice. it is part of our design to strive for a goal. even our walk with God is compared to running a race, striving for a goal where complacency is [leads to?] death. contentment only exists in what Jesus gives. but it’s not the finish line that is our goal. sure, it is a goal, but one that will come regardless in its appointed time. i think the goal is <>how<> we run. if we run too fast, we miss the treasures hiding in the blur around us. if we run too slow, we may never get to where we need to be along our paths when we need to be there.so what is too fast, or too slow? perhaps that’s what you (me, us) are feeling is God’s own mechanism designed into us to gauge when we need to step it up, or sit down for a few. there are times when the blur is required and times when sitting down is the best thing to do, and sometimes, both in the same day. i don’t think having a desire for more is bad, lest we never want more Jesus? more love? more power (sorry, for the cheesy worship song plug). maybe the motive is what’s bad: selfishness; unwillingness to wait on God’s timing; wanting to have so that you’ll spend what you get on your own selfish pleasures.life is a vapor, and time never goes backwards. God is everywhere and his will for our lives is simple: in ALL you do, love God with everything that you are, and love people. that seems to me that a funkier residence is irrelevant. if you live there, great. love God and love people. if living there rquires more money, then make more money while you love God and love people. i would venture to guess that if you are loving God and loving people, your motives for wanting more are only guilty of seeking to fulfill a desire that has been built into you or planted to grow in you, whether you are really the one who benefits from getting more or not. more will come and more will go and giving receives more than getting could ever have.wow, that’s a lot to say i a comment. hope it all makes sense somehow.


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