Battling Contentment

If there’s one thing I fear (other than snakes) it’s lack of change.

I’ve found that some things that are commonly scary for other people give me excitement. For instance, I really don’t mind moving. In fact, I think it’s fun. New places, new friends, new opportunities. A challenge that I can’t even anticipate until I’m fully immersed in it. I crave it! However, even that opinion may change before too long.

But sameness is a scary thing to me. Staying in one place for too long, scary. Doing the same thing over and over, scary. But only because I think once you hit a place where you’re totally fine with the “same-ol-same” you’ve either (a.) gotten yourself to a false sense of perfection, or (b.) you just plain don’t care anymore. Both are dangerous places to be.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love where we live right now, and I don’t want to move. I also love what I’m doing right now, and I don’t foresee it changing. But day after day I find myself in a battle with contentment. {If you look up a definition for contentment right now you’re going to think I’m a crazy person, so I’ll go ahead and give it to you so we can get that out of the way. Contentment: a state of happiness or satisfaction. Crazy person…} But stay with me…

The battle is in the synonyms: comfort, ease, gratification. The trouble is that this life wasn’t meant to give us comfort, be easy, or gratify us. It’s all about glorifying Him. Which is hard. And requires change on our part. A lot of change.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and complete. Romans 12:2

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{I doodled it up, just for fun. If you’d like a doodle reminder for yourself, click here for a free “Be Transformed” download!}

A few weekends ago, Will & I rearranged the furniture in our {tiny} apartment. His old desk is now our new kitchen table. The old t-shirt shelf is now our new pantry. The armchair in his office is now our new armchair in the living room. Small. Free. Barely noticeable changes. But these little changes battled our restlessness with sameness in our home, gave us a little burst of energy, and somehow taught me (once again) that movement in our lives is a good thing.

On a very very very small scale, our furniture rearranging was a battle with contentment, sameness, and satisfaction with what was. And the result was something fresh, exciting, and new. But the process wasn’t flawless. We scuffed the floor a little and moved things 100 times, but while the process was challenging, the outcome brought joy and thoughts of “Oh wow, I’m glad we did this”.

I think that in our walk with Christ we have to battle the easy, comfortable, and “normal” every day in order to reach those moments of true faith-walking and pure joy. If we’re the same today and tomorrow and from then on, where is the significance? What is our life pointing to? Likely, ourselves. But my aim, my goal is to change… be transformed… battle the satisfaction with what is and reach for something higher. Bigger. Closer to Him.

And sometimes doing that is scary. {Yes, I’m contradicting myself. I love change. I fear change. We can’t all be perfect…}

I’ll close by acknowledging that the Bible also uses contentment in a very positive context. And well as it should be used. Please don’t misunderstand me. Contentment in HIM, especially when our circumstances are less than ideal, is a very very good thing (that’s what the Bible speaks of in Hebrews 13:5, Phillipians 4:11, 1 Timothy 6:6). I also aim to be in total unity and happiness with my God in every season of life.

But here on earth when I speak of battling contentment, I mean battling contentment within ourselves. Battling our forgetfulness that we need Him or just plain ignoring the fact that we do need Him and being okay with that. That’s where my heart is. Not to say that all states of contentment are bad. They most definitely are not. But ask yourself, am I satisfied with myself or with Him?

It’s a telling question.

Lessons from a Kitchen Table

Yesterday morning we didn’t have a kitchen table. By last night we did. The most amazing part… We didn’t pay a dime or get anything new.

New kitchen table

And here’s how… Our new kitchen table is Will’s old desk. Some simple home love rearranging led to a cozier, more complete feeling house (or at least kitchen… now the office is empty… oops!) Oh, how I love repurposing and using what you already have to create something even newer. Better.

The lesson: Change is good.

(And yes, I’ve learned it before, but I’m learning it again. Stay tuned. Deeper things than a new kitchen table are on the way.)