Daily Contentment

     Now that I have been working with the Power Thought I am content and emotionally stable for a few days, I can say it out loud without giggling.  It’s not the content part that gets me–I think it’s the idea in my mind that only a person who is not emotionally stable would have the need affirm that they in fact are emotionally stable by saying it out loud.

    Of course, like most people I imagine, I don’t see myself as emotionally unstable, but I do see that I am easily thrown, and then once thrown, I dwell on it.  What kinds of things throw me off? 

  • Unexpected news–good or bad
  • A student doing particularly badly on an assignment
  • An emotional conversation in a group
  • A change in plans–good or bad

These aren’t big things, I realize, but apparently, I do not handle surprise very well, and I am easily and often surprised.  Then, I focus on it–why was I surprised?  What does this mean about me?  Why didn’t I anticipate this event/news/change in plans?  How should I have handled it?  What should I do now? 

In realizing this “easily shocked” factor about my personality or way of being, I now see that an important part of being emotionally stable is the ability to be undisturbed (unsurprised), unruffled by anything.  So, that is one thing I see I need to work on to gain greater emotional stability.  Just think about God, our Rock–can you imagine how disconcerting it would be to go to a God who is shocked and surprised much of the time?  I want to have the character of Christ.  I want to be steady.  I want to be someone who is not easily thrown.

As for being content, I have learned (and am still learning) how important it is to give thanks in all circumstances.  What joy and peace come from recognizing what you have and being thankful for what you have.  I can see that I fall into discontent when I:

  • Compare myself to others
  • Think about things that I want that are in the distant future
  • Overwork

Like many people, I developed a habit when I was younger of gauging myself–my status, my outfit, my career success, my place in life, based on what other people were doing.  This is so worldly!  God has a different agenda and a different curriculum, different plans, and different work he is doing in each of us.  We are each so unique, that when you try to compare people, it is always like trying to compare apples and oranges.  People just are not comparable.  Plus, to compare is to despair.  Focusing on what others have instead of being grateful for what I have, is a quick path to discontent.

Similarly, if I become to focused on “someday” I fall into discontent.  Someday, I will have such and such job.  Someday, I will love exercise.  Someday, the house will be finished  The “someday” is elusive at best.  It pulls my focus away from today’s blessings and causes me to contemplate what I still lack.  I cannot learn to be content and emotionally stable in the future.  I have to learn how to do it in the here and now.

Finally, this may not be a “super spiritual” truth, but the fact is that I am given to discontent, depression, and despair when I overwork.  In order to be content, I need time.  It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, but I must discipline myself to take breaks, enjoy downtime that isn’t “productive” in order be refreshed and have a clear mind with which to give thanks and meditate on my blessings.  The other evening, I was trying to get caught up on work.  It was a Saturday night.  It was after 7 p.m. and I had been gone all day.  I felt the Lord telling me to take a break.  I even sensed that I was supposed to do at least five things just for me, before I did any work.  I took a hot bath.  Then, I painted my toenails.  Next, I read a little bit of a new book.  I don’t remember the other things, but before I reached #5, I felt renewed.  I realized how much I had needed a break, and I felt immensely grateful for it, as well as the other blessings in my life.  No more work was accomplished that night, but that’s really not the point.

I am content and emotionally stable.  No giggling.

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