Updated: Aug 17, 2022
Let yourself be content. I know. Easier said than done, right?
I don’t mean in the long-term sense of the word, really. I mean those moments of contentment where you notice you’re feeling content and you lean in and linger a bit to ponder your contentment and ease.
Sometimes it is that easy, Like a recent dreary morning when I looked out the bedroom window and saw a lone robin reminding me of spring, reminding me to pause and rest a bit before flying off to other parts of my day. A moment of contentment.
That's it really, Contentment is a series of moments.
If our contentment lasts a while maybe it's because our contented moments are being strung together like beads on a strand.
My church background growing up led me to absorb a different message around contentment: Contentment came with believing the right things about God and being in a relationship with God. Which, of course, led me to feel guilt and/or shame when I experienced any kind of discontent or restlessness because I should be content if I loved God. Maybe that wasn't the intent of pastors and teachers, but that's what I absorbed as I listened, my child's interpretation.
Ah, now I realize how complex it really is. Contentment is a lifetime's walk through peaks, plains and valleys where we'll experience varying degrees of contentment as we listen to our own restlessness and what it's telling us.
To be content means we're cultivating a relationship with our discontent--our discontent and feelings of restlessness have something to say. The more we listen, the more we realize that discontentment and restlessness remain a natural part of our human experience. When we're struggling, we won't always be content.
Throughout the past several months with Breast Cancer I've realized that contentment ebbs and flows. It takes listening and practice to discover what offers us contentment, and it remains possible to experience contented moments even through whatever hard circumstances come our way.
There is no won-and-done or one-and-done in finding a state of contentment.
Looking back, I think my 10 Cancer Commandments were linked to my own longing to live in a state of contentment as often as possible through what I knew would be a hella-hard journey. As I journaled the morning after diagnosis I found myself asking what I'd need to stay empowered. What would it take to keep empowered, returning to a state of contentment and peace as I struggled physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually?
So, here's a philosophical, scratch-your-head kind of question for you. Is empowerment a part of contentment or is contentment a part of empowerment? Perhaps it's both. We're fully empowered when we're experiencing contentment and we're content when we're empowered.
I do connect contentment to my faith, but it's not around discovering a right way to believe or practice my faith. Instead, contentment comes through leaning into a loving relationship and the contentment it offers?
What if you let yourself be content simply because there is a contentment deep inside your soul? Contentment is snuggled around your soul like a weighted blanket.
If you think about contentment as moments that live inside you waiting to be noticed, what does that give you?
Does it encourage you to breathe, to pause and perch somewhere long enough to let yourself be content?
I'd love hear what offers you moments of contentment.
A Contented Prayer Oh God, at this moment I am content. I want to savor my contentment, settling under its soft folds and wrapping myself in its comfort and gladness. Do not let me hurry past its presence because I’m too busy or anxious about finding contentment some day in the future.
Oh, and God, by the way. Thanks for being here.