For years, I chose complacency over contentment as I lived what I believed was my best life. I have never loved conflict so this seemed like the best choice for me. Complacency feels like peacefulness when you do your best to steer clear of all things controversial. The thought of peace in any circumstance draws me in and if complacency is the way to get there, why not make it part of my daily living?
I imagine some of you “get” this and might even be nodding your heads in agreement right now. I appreciate your understanding. As with any post, I could stop here and find that some of us would feel satisfied that life is going so smoothly. But what if, God has more for us. What if in choosing complacency or contentment, God decides our lives are not just about finding the easy way?
Five years ago, I began a journey into the wilderness. Life took an unexpected turn. The dreams that had made their way to the surface began to disappear as quickly as they had appeared. I retired from teaching after thirty years. As I walked out of the school building, I pondered a future that appeared wide open. My role as a teacher and the hook where I hung my identity were gone overnight.
I stepped into a new role as my dad’s caregiver. There was neither complacency nor contentment present in this season as I pushed hard against accepting that I needed to let go of my dreams for the “sequel” of my life. If complacency represents peace, then the push and pull I was experiencing were leading me in the opposite direction. Have you ever found yourself in a season where God chose the direction and outcomes for you?
A season of caregiving was not my choice but it was the best thing that God could have done to grow my relationship with my dad. It taught me to accept the circumstances and understand that contentment comes not just in the easy but the hard as well. Until this point, I believed that complacency was the best life choice. During this season, my dad modeled for me what a life of contentment looks like even as you are persevering through physical therapy for a broken hip. It was beautiful, messy, and raw, and it was all from God.
Finding ourselves on the path toward contentment will always lead us through a wilderness or messy middle period of time. I am learning this is how God teaches the life lessons that we absorb into becoming our life’s path. God knows what we need and takes us through hard times, not as a punishment, but as a way to grow us in relationship with Him.
My caregiving season was marked with frustration, push back, complaining, and other things that I am not proud to admit. The journey to contentment was one of the hardest things I have done. It took an energy and mental capacity that I didn’t always think I was capable of. It took my dad’s peaceful and calm persona to show me that contentment was acceptance, but it was also a deep trust in the One who orders our days and nights.
Day after day my dad simply trusted that God would provide what He needed for that particular day. My dad focused on the hard work, but even more so, he chose to love me and learn what made me tick. It was in looking outside of himself, even through his pain, that left me knowing my dad loved me deeply because of the Father’s deep love for him.
Contentment is not just a choice we make, but a way we live our lives. It runs deep inside before it is able to spill out for others to see. My dad lived a life of contentment and left this behind as part of his legacy. A legacy that is now mine to cultivate and pass on to my kids for future generations.
Take the Lesson and Make it Yours
A season of caregiving is nothing when I consider the pain and frustration my dad experienced as he watched his independence fade away. Each day brought new challenges and in the middle of the unexpected, my dad displayed a peace that complacency never brings. My life journey led me to the intersection of complacency and contentment and I saw clearly for the first time. The choice was clear because God was there all along showing me the way.
Hope was always at the threshold of each door I walked through. It was only when I acknowledged God was on the other side that I found my way home.
Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24
Complacency will provide a temporary fix, but contentment will last a lifetime.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 1 Timothy 6:6-7
Choosing to live a life of contentment will lead you through the wilderness, but God will be with you every step of the way.
Contentment is not just a choice we make, but a way we live our lives. It runs deep inside before it is able to spill out for others to see. #newpost #TellHisStory #linkup Click To Tweet
The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place. Deuteronomy 1:30-31
There is nothing God won’t do to draw you closer to Him. Wilderness living is not for the faint of heart but the good news is that God never leaves you nor forsakes you. Each choice and every step you take in this journey called life is one that is either just getting you by (complacency) or one that lasts for the duration of your life (contentment).
Let’s walk together in this uncertain, wilderness period we are living in, trusting that the One who knows the way is right by our sides. May you feel the presence of God in every breath, whisper, and choice you encounter this week.