The thing that is the hardest struggle for us humans is to be content. Everywhere we look people are wanting more. More money, more stuff, more relationships, better careers, more popularity, more more more! It of course doesn't help that our culture glorifies and encourages consumerism and and the pursuit of more. We are told from the day we can watch tv that we must buy more and have more or we cant be happy. And most of the things we need more of is not what will make us happy in the long run.
But as Christians that is not what God says. He doesn't want us to seek anything but more of Him to be content.
Contentment is the true key to happiness.
For many years I struggled with contentment. I was constantly striving for more and worrying about everything my family didn't have. I felt I needed to make as much money for my family as possible by babysitting or having night jobs which stressed me horribly. As a result my true calling as a mother was sacrificed. It seemed like the more things I tried to do the more unhappy I became. I rarely prayed to God for guidance in my life but I prayed plenty for him to make me a happy wife. It frustrated me that he never answered and I was angry all the time with my life as a stay at home mom. I saw my duties as a pointless slog of never ending work and hated every minute of it. I prayed and prayed for God to make me a contended mommy, but never once prayed for God to show me how to be contented. I just wanted my own way, my own goals, my own lifestyle! I never asked what God's plan was for my life. And the sad thing is that even if He had come down and said "OK here is what I want you to do, and if you do it you will be happy and content" I would have rebelled and been angry. After all God's plan for my life wasn't like my plan. I wanted my plan!
I went on like this for years and then I came to a crises. I believe it was the most absolute form of intervention God could do. I had a total health breakdown. I was terrified all the time and thought I was going to die. Through it all I simply clung to God. I prayed all the time, I read my bible constantly and I did something I have never in my life done. I gave up my will. I just gave it up and said "God, I don't know what the heck is going to happen, I don't know if I will ever be better, so your just going to have to work it out and I'm going to just trust you." Over and over I thought of the words from Job, even though you slay me, still I will praise you! And I did praise Him. He showed me time and again through my illness that He was with me.
When things were at their worst I swore to God and my self that if I ever felt better I would be so thankful just to vacuum the floors or cook a meal.
Slowly I did get better. My illness has changed my whole outlook on life and being a stay at home mom. I am so happy just to be able to smile again. I now love being able to clean my house and care for my children. First because I woke up and realized how being a Mom is the job God gave me. That's pretty amazing huh? The creator of the universe gave stupid Ole me a job! The second reason is because I now trust God completely. I have faith that no matter how dark the storm of my life He is in control and will guide my Husband and I in the way to go. That way may not be what we envisioned our life to be, it might in fact be the polar opposite, but he will give us peace and joy through it all is if we just trust and have faith. One of the most comforting verses that God kept showing me through my illness was below.
Faith Triumphs in Trouble
5 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have[a] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
So now I have peace, and what is peace but true contentment? Sometimes I falter and start to get discontented in my life but I quickly remember what I learned and take a breath and let go of all my worries.
I hope that you do not have to go through what I did to find real contentment in your life. But as to how each of us can find it there is really only one answer.
Trust in God, truly trust Him and ask for Him to guide your life. Never go a day with out praying for guidance on your life, even the really small things. And then when He does show you the way to go don't fight it! I can tell you that I never thought I would be happy with the life I have now. It is so different from what I planned. But I am so happy now and just so grateful.