I was talking with a friend this weekend – catching up on life. She asked me for an update on my life. As I started to share, I felt frustration and disappointment rising within me. The conversation felt like Groundhog’s Day. This wasn’t the first time we’ve had this conversation. The big things in my heart and in my life are same things that have unfolded throughout this last year. I had some new news, but mostly just the same old, same old. It was discouraging. Not that I want new challenges to replace my current ones… It would just be nice to not feel like a broken record when asked how I am doing.
I’d been mulling on the discontent that followed my conversation. When something weighs heavy on my heart I take it to the Lord in prayer. I journal about it. I talk about with my people. I try to process what I’m feeling and get to the heart of the matter. After doing some reading on “feelings” this year, I’m trying my best to acknowledge them, feel them, but also realize that feelings are not the standard of truth. God is good and he quickly brought words to my heart to encourage me.
Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. Galatians 6:4
It was very clear as I was reading this verse that I can get so focused on the big picture and looking ahead to the future that I forget to pay attention to the work right in front of me. I want to give my best effort and energy to my right-now life. I want to focus on my family, homeschooling, keeping house, making meals, taking care of my health (physical, mental, spiritual). I have a good work right in front of me. It’s a simple truth. It’s one I’ve championed before. But the comparison trap is real. I often process what I’m called to do in light what others are doing. Contentment comes with gratitude, not comparison. I want to be thankful for the here and now. I want to do my work well and find satisfaction in a job well done. I want to let go of comparison.
The next form of encouragement came from good, old Instagram where I follow many Enneagram accounts. One account specifically for Type Ones shared this: Dear Little One, enjoy your life for how it is right now, not for what you wish it could be (@menneagram). I left my conversation with my friend wondering when the things that I’ve been discussing for what feels like forever will be over. When will this conversation not be the main conversation of my life? When can I move on? All that processing led me to ponder what’s next. What could life look when things change? I read this post the same day I read the verse in Galatians. They fit so perfectly together. I can daydream about life after COVID or after fill-in-the-blank challenge. It’s good to have a vision for the future. I am looking forward to so. many. things. But… looking forward to the future can’t come at the expense of today. Wishing life could be different doesn’t help me thrive in my current, daily, right-here life. I can tuck dreams and visions for the future away in the corner of my heart knowing someday I can pull them out and work toward making them a reality, but for now, for the sake of contentment, I choose to live in the moment.
This seems like an ongoing lesson in my life. One that I grasp for a while and then loose my grip on. I will probably continue to wrestle with contentment and focus until I am old and gray. It’s a worthwhile endeavor, though. I won’t give up. This week felt like a realignment of my thought life. A chance to acknowledge the hard, but also to embrace the good. A chance to dream for the future, but also to love today.