My firstborn is almost 5 years old. My husband and I were talking the other day and I told him that I haven’t felt this content in my life since I was pregnant with our son. Basically, I haven’t felt any lasting contentment in over 5 years. That’s a long time.
When I think back on my pregnancy, I remember how happy and scared I was. The highs and the lows twisted together just right. I was firing on all cylinders and challenges didn’t drag me down. It was the perfect combination of hope for the future and enjoyment in the moment. It wasn’t like being high, just a little higher. It’s the difference between walking through a dark room expecting to hit your knee on something and walking through a room where the light is shining just enough to see the obstacles for what they are.
I remember wishing that it could last forever but then our son was born and one issue after another crushed my happy place. At least, that’s how it seemed. For the next 5 years, it seemed that no matter what I did, I couldn’t catch a break or my breath.
So when I recently started to feel content again, I instantly didn’t trust it. My initial reaction was to think don’t get too used to this. It is classic self-sabotage to not allow oneself to experience joy out of fear that it won’t last. But when the roof didn’t fall on my head right away, I started to think now we can finally get back to normal.
Over the course of a couple of weeks, I did indeed find myself ‘getting back to normal’. My patience with my kids began to wane, I wanted to spend money I didn’t have and I found myself looking for ways to stay busy-busy-busy. Not the kind of busyness that’s productive but the kind that numbs and zaps energy. In short, my old habits and ways of thinking were creeping back in.
I don’t know about you, but I rarely learn anything when I’m happy. Maybe that’s why I’ve always tended to sabotage my happiness – because I just don’t know what to do with myself. I can’t sit with contentedness and enjoy the moment. The last time I tried that was 5 years ago and it didn’t last. Why should right now be any different?
Maybe because I’m different.
I realized that I had completely missed the point. Sometimes, we take God’s grace for granted because we don’t recognize which part is the gift. I found myself thinking that after 5 years of struggling, God had finally thrown me a bone. Then, when I saw old, unhealthy patterns emerging I grasped the understanding that the last 5 years have been the gift. This period of contentment right now is the breathing room to take inventory of how I’ve let those years change me. LET them change me.
If those years haven’t changed me, then they’ve been for nothing. The uncertainty, the worries, the stress means nothing if I go back to the way things were before. If I let God change me, if I let go of resistance, if I see the gift for what it is, I will be content with right now whatever right now holds for me.