The Alphabet Game, writing
Comments 14

Contentment

“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.”

Guillaume Apollinaire

I’m on the letter “C” today and this quote is perfect. I’m starting with a word that I’m not necessarily a fan of, but I won’t make a habit of that.

Contradiction: a combination of statements, ideas, or features of a situation that are opposed to one another.

Sometimes a professor will say something that totally contradicts what another professor said. That’s confusing, and sometimes annoying, but that’s not why I brought it up.

If someone were to dissect and analyze my posts, they might actually determine that one often contradicts the other. Some days I’m over the moon excited, sharing about how I’m moving ahead full steam; chasing after my dreams and goals… and never giving up. Other times, I’m reminding myself about the beauty of being still, the importance of surrender, and how essential it is to be satisfied with who I am, and where I am… right now.  

My dear friend Gil* explained my journey to me like this (although probably not verbatim): you’re on a path, and it’s similar to what a road looks like. There are boundaries… you know… those white and yellow lines. You can go wherever you want, but you need to stay within those lines; it’s your safety zone.

I love that analogy because I can visualize it. I’m (hopefully) always moving forward, but I’m also free to move about and explore. I may veer left for a little while, or travel right for a bit. If I stay within those lines, everything is fine. If I go too far out of those boundaries, however, I’m no longer on the road. I’m in the danger zone!

The good news is that it gets easier over time; it just takes practice (maintaining my relationship with God, and remembering the twelve steps of recovery). After a while, it’s like bumper cars; the boundaries become thick and nearly impenetrable.

Hopefully this bumper car analogy explains my slight contradictions—or zig zagging highway—my vehicle bumps that soft cushion and veers back into the lane… keeping me safe and snug inside that ‘no hazard’ zone. Wow… that reminds me of Uber’s self-driving cars. 😉

Anyway, where am I going with all of this? Today’s “C” word (and I know that sounds scary) is: Contentment

I love contentment. I found contentment a few years ago, and it was a game changer. Contentment is being happy with who you are, where you are, and with what you have… right here, right now. That doesn’t mean to stop dreaming and making goals, it just means that no matter what happens… love the process.

For me, it means I love the ups and the downs; I love going somewhere new, or staying just where I am right now. Contentment means that I’m satisfied no matter what; even if I never acquire that amazing ‘new product’—which definitely contradicts what the advertiser is telling me: that I simply MUST HAVE that new and amazing product.

Obviously I love my dreams as well, and I’ll always push forward to make them happen. BUT, sometimes my bumper car taps that cushion, performs an interesting maneuver, and changes my course just a tad.

I guess you could say that contradictions aren’t all bad; sometimes they’re just gentle reminders:

  • Full speed ahead, but take your time
  • Visualize where you want to be, but love where you’re at
  • It’s your journey, but pay attention to those who cross your path: they are there for a reason
  • Important: Don’t let pursuit turn into an addiction
  • Super Important: Don’t let ambition become greed

I could go on and on with the “bumper stickers”, but that pretty much sums it up. In the words of Bobby McFerrin;

“In every life we have some trouble, but when you worry you make it double. Don’t worry. Be happy.”

Thanks for reading, and may your days be filled with contentment!


*I wrote about Gil in Hearing God’s Whisper, and it’s one of my favorite chapters. It hasn’t been read much, so check it out if you have the time. It was cool to go back and read it this morning—a great reminder of why my days are filled with so much gratitude.

Image Credit: Pixabay

14 Comments

  1. Janet
    This is a wonderful post, from my experience, I have been allowed, guided even, to veer away from the narrow path that I might discover again that I need only Him and that that which I was grasping for or becoming attached to was an error. Throughout scripture, God uses very flawed individuals to show His Love. You have conveyed a powerful message

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jeff! Thank you so much and yes that is exactly right. I love that you said “becoming attached to.” That’s when I feel it too… To explore is one thing but to become attached to something and consider it more important than it really is is another thing. Nice to hear from you. 😄

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You are so right, Janet–I love the word contentment too, and your quotes today are wonderful. It’s really not that hard to be content–I start with gratitude to God, thanking Him for ALL that HE is to me; thankful that I can TRUST HIM, no matter what. Pursuing happiness can be a dead end–when I began pursuing JESUS, then I got Happy! God bless you hugely–much love to you ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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