My discontent began growing in my junior year in high school. Up until that point I had lived my life in blissful satisfaction, but once I began to face the limitless and terrifying question of “What’s next?” I began to melt down. What followed was several years of endless questioning, crippling second-guessing, and firm indecision. I clutched discontentment close to my breast as a sort of talisman that represented everything I hoped for. I believed deep down in my soul disappointment in my current situation would be the fuel in the gas tank of the vehicle which would eventually transport me to the land of happiness.
All I could see in front of me was the absolute terrifying nature of the uncertainty of life. I was grasping at ocean waves, in the hopes of trying to keep them from leaving the shore. I was trying to bottle up the light of the moon before the sun crested the ridge. I was stamping my feet firmly on a calendar date in the hopes of, by my sheer determination, keeping the next page from turning. And all the while I was desperately clinging to discontentment as a shield from what I feared most of all: settling for what wasn’t perfect.
I was very proud of my discontent. I saw these turbulent feelings as a sign that I was not settling for less. That I was actively seeking God’s will. That I was refusing to choose the second best. I figured being content in sub-par situations would be even worse than being discontent, right? I might give in to complacency instead of pursuing my dreams! I had firm pride in my own self-imposed misery. I might have been sad, but I was sad because I was holding out for perfection! So there. And discontentment grew stronger, and began to take root in my habits.
Snub-nosed Discontentment linked arms with Rosy-cheeked Perfectionism and these two devilish pals bullied me mercilessly for three years.
I look back on those years, and that miserable growing up process, and I just wish I could reach back a warm hand to the old me, and grasp her nervousness and tell her to embrace contentment as a bosom friend. I would tell her not to see contentment as an enemy of a perfect life, but as a loving companion to shepherd her into the next phase of life. I would tell her contentment would not steal anything from her, but would nourish her in her discovery process.
Contentment is a friend worth having, don’t you think?
Part of the Peony Project linkup this month.