Taking Out the Trash

Remember not too long ago when I was all, "la la la I love my life… la, la, la everything is grand?" Well here’s a link to the post to jog your memory.

Here’s the deal. I meant it. But, it kind of seems like perhaps that post was a na, na, nee, boo, boo right in the faces of depression, frustration and discontentment. I think I pissed them off.  Because they’ve been kind of poking at me ever since. (NO, it’s not hormonal, surprisingly. I checked).

Let me back up. When I published that post I was in the midst of recognizing REAL unadulterated joyous contentment. I'm talking about the kind of contentment that comes, for me, only from close connection with my Savior and purely blissed out BIG PICTURE gratitude. This contentment is not to be confused with circumstantial contentment. You know that kind, right? Circumstantial contentment is based on things like where you are, what you’re eating, who you’re spending time with; basically your immediate situation. Circumstantial contentment is fleeting and illusive. I know this, because for the past 30 something several years I’ve been unsuccessfully chasing it. I’ve been imagining that a change of scenery (among other things) could bring me joy. Then when those changes weren’t happening I got more and more dissatisfied. But God had mercy on me AGAIN. He showed me I could experience contentment IN SPITE OF my circumstances. Not long after, with his generosity, joyous contentment became tangible in my life. (I’ll spare you all the muck that had to be waded through and continues to be waded through to make this possible.)

In celebration, I published that post.

Then like that pesky piece of garbage left behind in the bottom of the dumpster on trash day, dissatisfaction reared its ugly head. It started when a circumstantial carrot was dangled in front of my nose. It tempted me with a life I imagine I’d really love. Next my schedule got a little more hectic and as life got messy - bam! I totally forgot that my joy isn’t rooted solely in my current circumstances. What came next? Well, obviously, I got all crabby and tense and dissatisfied. I fell into old finger pointing patterns and began to dream of a life out of my reach that would make me "feel better.”

Thankfully, the funk didn’t last too long. I'm back on track and looking heavenward again for my contentment. Knowing just how fortunate I am to have the life I do, I am re-focusing on the big picture stuff. Like: God is in Heaven, Christ’s death bought me his father’s favor, I have countless material blessings in this life and a plethora of loved ones to share that life with every day. And: My needs are met and I have an embarrassing wealth of wants in addition. Sure, not every circumstance is just how I might arrange it, but I trust that God is in control and he has my best interest at heart.

I'm trying not to beat myself up for turning my head to focus on circumstances again so quickly after my recent “ah-ha” moment. I guess I'm learning that that is what my life is all about. It generally takes a couple of practice runs to really get a life lesson stuck in my brain. And I have a sneaky feeling that the battle for contentment is going to be long fought. Like, it’ll probably continue as long as I'm alive. That’s why I'm particularly grateful then that I'm not in the fight alone.

Do you find yourself getting caught up in unsavory circumstances or can you share some insight as to how I might keep them from busting my joy?