Sunday, December 4, 2011

More on contentment

I've been thinking about contentment a lot lately. We have been wanting to move out of our house for the past 5 years. The twins are 4 1/2 years old - you do the math. For various reasons, it has not happened yet. I go through phases - there are many things I love about this house - our yard, proximity to stores and restaurants, and our monthly payment. There are other things I don't love or even like that much - tiny bedrooms, one (very tiny) bathroom, a kitchen that also functions as a hallway (although I think I like that better than feeling like I'm stuck in a corner). Weeks will go by when I am perfectly content to live here. Usually after I clean out all the extra stuff and everything has a place.

Then something happens - maybe there is a line for the bathroom or something else needs to be fixed again. Or I bump my head when I'm tucking the girls into bed at night. Or my knees hurt when I get up after kissing Owen good-night from his bed on the floor. (He has a mattress - but still, it's on the floor.) And I think, "Enough! I'm tired of squeezing all 6 of us in this house! I'm ready for something more spacious, where we can entertain easier and have more room to spread out." I get motivated to fix it up and get it ready to list and then it hits me. I'm not content.

I know it's not wrong to sell a house and move to a different one. But I can't figure out how to do that and be content at the same time. When I'm truly content, truly thankful for all we have, I have no desire to move. I see the positives and am ready to overlook the negatives or at least find creative solutions to deal with those negatives. I have a better perspective of how good we have it compared to so many others and realize I have no right to complain.

Does all change spring from discontentment? Change isn't bad but contentment is good. How do you have one without the other? There was a phrase I learned in my intro to psych class in college called cognitive dissonance and I am experiencing a lot of that right now. The definition is "the feeling of uncomfortable tension which comes from holding two conflicting thoughts in the mind at the same time." And no, that was not from memory.

I think I was wrong before about contentment being different than thankfulness. I think when you are truly thankful, then you are content. You don't ask for more.

Last month, I thanked God for the many good things in my life. But I never thanked Him for the hard things. The things that I would change if I could. This seems like a good place to start in my quest for contentment. To recognize and reaffirm that God is good, all the time, and I trust Him, all the time.

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