It’s hard to be content when we are constantly looking ahead at the next phase of life. For years on end I have found myself doing this. Ever since graduating high school, I have always looked for contentment in the future instead of in the present.
For me, high school was easy. I loved my friends and I was friends with almost everyone. But, I understand that for others it was opposite. For others, they were already looking ahead for contentment.
When I graduated and went to college, my search for contentment began. My friends seemed to fall away as we all went in different directions, grew up, and matured. I had my couple best friends always by my side though. Even in the midst of that, finding contentment was tough. I have never been one of the kids who enjoys college (click “college” for further explanation).
When going away to school, I was stripped away from everything I ever knew. God knew what He was doing. I, on the other hand, had no idea what He was doing in the moment. I was lonely. I went from fields of cows, country roads, tractors mixed in with cars, to a larger city. I felt alone and isolated, even with my best friend always being by my side. I tried to make sense of it. I tried to enjoy it, but I struggled. I lost a lot in that time period, but it was purposeful. And now, I am grateful for the work the Lord did in my life during that time.
In that lonely phase, I dreamed of being a head of command in a social work agency, making everything flow smoothly, helping those in need. I dreamed of body building. I dreamed of an independent life where I was in charge of myself and felt that no one could harm me. I was not content. I was waiting and anticipating the future.
A couple months into my freshman year, I started talking to a guy who definitely piqued my interest. I thought it was nothing at first. I was nervous and not prepared for another broken heart. Within two weeks, I knew he was the one for me. I knew that he was my forever. Beyond a shadow of a doubt kind of knowing. (Click here for our story)
The Lord knew just what I needed when He brought Nathan into my life. He had a lot of work to do within my heart. I had years of walls built up that took Nathan a good two years to knock down completely. Years of being hurt creates years of strong resistance to a greater love. My heart was content with having a boyfriend, but I was still not content with the college phase of life. Eventually, I was ready to get married and still had
three-ish years of college left. I was not content.
Eventually, the Lord lead me to transfer to UNCP (where Nathan went to school) and I found contentment there for a few months. The contentment along with the newness wore off. I was no longer content. I wanted to be graduated & married to my guy. During this time, he proposed. I said yes. We got married while still in school. The Lord is full of surprises if we listen!
Our marriage brought me contentment for a few months. But then, my contentment left again. Still ecstatic about being married to this phenomenal guy, I began looking for contentment in the future. Looking into a fulfilling career post-graduation, looking at the sweet babies that we will one day call our own, looking into being foster parents. All of a sudden all of my contentment is once again locked in the future.
And the Lord asks me, why are you not content in the season you are in? How can you blossom in the season you are in and do my work when your eyes are constantly set on what’s ahead?
It isn’t that I am not full of joy, most days I am, unless you slight me of my coffee. I love my life. I love being married to the most incredible guy on the face of the planet. I love the homey environment we have created. I love the relationship we share spiritually and emotionally. I love the goofy humor that we constantly rag each other with. I am content, yet I am discontent simply because I have chosen to not focus on the task at hand.
Colossians 4:17 “Pay attention to the ministry you have received in the Lord, so that you can accomplish it.”
As I have been pondering these thoughts, this prompting from the Lord, I think about how much I can potentially miss out on when I am constantly setting my eyes ahead. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way saying that being alert, planning for the future, and making wise investments is wrong. I fully 110% believe that you should be wise in all decisions, carefully planning, heeding the Lord’s wisdom for the future. What I am saying is that when we allow our contentment to always be in the future we miss out on the joy & the opportunity that is in the present.
Friends, I encourage myself and I encourage you, no matter what phase of life you’re in, enjoy the here and now. Life is short. Way short. I am 22 and feel like in no way have I ever in my life lived 22 years. Scary short.
Here’s to finding contentment in present joys,