The Secret of Contentment

by mendibpng

“Aren’t you, like me, hoping that some person, thing or event will come along to give you that final feeling of inner well-being that you desire? Don’t you often hope: “May this book, idea, course, trip, job, country, or relationship fill my deepest desire.” But as long as you are waiting for that mysterious moment, you will go on running helter-skelter, always anxious and restless, always lustful and angry, never fully satisfied. You know hat this is the compulsiveness that keeps us going and busy but at the same time makes us wonder whether we are getting anywhere in the long run. This is the way to spiritual exhaustion and burnout. This is the way to spiritual death.” –Henri Nouwen in Spiritual Direction

Do you think it’s possible that life lessons just keep cycling back in order to keep us humble? For me, the temptation to be dissatisfied with life creeps up on me in very small ways, particularly when exhaustion threatens to take over. Here are some of the ‘if onlys’ that I’ve had kicking around in my head the last couple of days…

If only…

I had this extra kitchen appliance to make my cooking-from-scratch easier

my twins were a little older and not so toddlerish, I wouldn’t feel like I’m constantly saying “no!” “stop!” and “come here!”

Ben weren’t away, I wouldn’t have to deal with the rat running around in my house.

I had a purposeful job to do (besides stay at home mom) I would feel more fulfilled and less like I’m running in circles.

I could figure out childcare, I could exercise and lose some baby weight that I’ve been accumulating for the last 12 years!

Ben and I communicated well every day and were of one mind spiritually, mentally and emotionally

And the one that gives me a lot of thought: If only my personality was completely different, I would have better boundaries with people. In short, I wish I could trade my NF for an ST. (cf Meyers Briggs)

So to counteract spiraling into self pity, I will list what I am thankful for:

I am thankful….

for my daughter, who flipped tortillas on the stove, leaving me free to roll them out more quickly

that the twins are having a nap, the first time in a few days! And they won’t be two forever. Pretty soon I’m going to wish that they were small and crawling into my lap again!

that friends loaned us a rat trap. My oldest son set it, and killed the rat that we caught this morning.

that I GET to stay home with my five children. Our organization does not force me to work outside the home—since I have the freedom to choose, I choose to be home with them!

that my house has two flights of stairs that I am constantly going up and down. If I don’t have an exercise program, at least I’m getting some exercise in here and there!

that I have a husband who loves me and cares about my well being. Although we don’t see eye to eye on a lot of things, we are learning how to communicate better all the time.

that my life is full of people I love and care about and who are patient with me as I learn how to function better in community life.

THERE! I feel much better, and grateful that I am here, with a few toddler-free moments to write this blog post! A few moments ago, before I wrote this post, I was feeling very sorry for myself over some fairly trivial things, and now I am feeling the presence of God washing over me.

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2 Comments to “The Secret of Contentment”

  1. I’m thankful for your NFness. Love you lots!

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