A consistent conversation with my friends recently has been encompassed with wondering when the next desire of our heart will happen (meeting a man to marry, being able to move to an area we love, having a baby, etc) and sitting in the moment of what feels like unanswered prayers, tempting us to feel temporarily hopeless and impatient. So many of these desires are out of our control, yet we try so hard to control them + when our attempt is failing, we feel defeated. It’s a vicious cycle!
I have realized that these conversations have not only been happening with friends, but they have been subconsciously swirling in my thoughts. We all tend to be on this mission to make life just the way we want it. This seems like a bit of an intense and selfish statement, but if we are honest, it tends to be the case, right? To explain further, we may be so pleased with the majority of our life, but there always seems to be something we want to change; something that can be “bigger and better.” To get vulnerable for a minute, here are some personal examples: I absolutely love our life in California, but I wish my family was here; I am grateful for our house and neighborhood, but there is another living location that is grasping my attention; I am so thankful for our dry shampoo company, Stranded, as well as my blog, but sometimes I feel like they could both me more groundbreaking and “successful.”
As I sit on these thoughts, I am reminded that striving for more and being driven are not bad things, as long as they are managed properly and do not overtake our gratefulness in the present moments as well as in our current victories. On the other hand, our attempts to make things better often blind us from the beauty of what is happening now. Not to mention, the word contentment is vividly flashing in my mind. Contentment is defined as satisfaction; ease of mind. If you are honest with yourself, do you have ease of mind? Do you feel satisfied? If the answer is no, why do you think that is? Our culture has trained us into getting things when we want them, and social media tempts us to compare and feel like we are not good enough. We often see the successes of others without the work and the struggle that made them happen; we see beautiful relationships without the arguments and intentionality it took to develop them; we see pretty pictures without the hustle and reality behind them. The visuals that fill our minds every day are real life minus a lot of reality, yet even when we know this, what we are seeing can still so easily lead to discontentment.
But what if we changed our perspective? My two dear friends and I were talking yesterday about starting the practice of gratefulness. We want to wake up every morning and write down or state ten things we are currently thankful for. This helps us to dream in a healthy way about the future while being settled in today. Not to mention, some dreams are way tougher than we may realize or imagine. If we think about it, there is so much hope in embracing the temporary! I believe resetting our minds in this way takes practice + requires us to have grace on ourselves. Training ourselves also gives us hope during painful seasons because it is a reminder that they will soon pass and healing will come!
I have come to realize again and again that striving for me is almost always not the best. God knows what is best for us and when it is best for us. This simple thought is so difficult to accept sometimes. The reason something isn’t happening right now does not mean He is not answering prayers. He is always working even when we are unable to see it + we might translate not getting what we want into an unanswered prayer when it is far from the case! My prayer is to always live open-handed, being aware of the beauty of the present (even during painful seasons), and having trust that Jesus guides us and leads us in His perfect timing.
images by felicia lasala