I have been blessed by a great contentment the last few weeks. God has been good, and it seems as though life is generally going well. I wouldn’t say that things are necessarily any easier than they were — quite the contrary, in fact. We still struggle to make sure all our bills are paid, it’s still tough to find enough time in the day (or the week) to get everything done, we still aren’t getting quite enough sleep every night. Yet, I am coming to a fuller understanding of what it means to be truly content. It probably helps that I am married to a wonderful example of contentment.
I must admit that I have confused my wife’s contentment with happiness. It seems that no matter how difficult things are for her (for example, she works far more hours in a week than I do, so she has far less time for herself than I), she never complains. It used to bother me because what I thought I was seeing was happiness, and that, to me, indicated that she had little desire to ‘fix’ the things in her life that were eating up all her time. What I have since come to learn is that she is simply content to be where God has her (and us) right now. I know now that she really does have desires and ambitions to drop quite a few of the hours she works, leaving room for other pursuits, possibly even to start a network of our own businesses. So, while she is not necessarily always happy with our life situation, she is, at least, content. Perhaps the distinction between contentment and happiness is subtle, but it is, I believe, an important to get a mental grasp on.
These last few weeks, I have found myself more and more content. Like my wife, I am not really where I want to be when it comes to a career. My training and background are in fields where the job market currently seems to be closed to new hires. Yet, God has seen fit to teach me contentment, to allow me to really begin to use the gifts He has given me for His glory, and in the process, while I am not always happy, I am content.
Learning how to be content is so often hard for all of us. Our desires and ambitions demand our attention and scream like spoiled schoolchildren when they are not satisfied. Life circumstances may be hard, they may be difficult, and we may not be happy, but with God as our ally, our friend, our father, it is possible to be content and to be able to say, “It is well, indeed.”