Take a moment to ask yourself this question: Am I happy with now?
What would it be like if you were completely satisfied with this moment right now? Nothing more, nothing less, just this moment.
Think about how much of your time and energy is spent in anticipation of the weekend, next month, fall, summer, freshman year, senior year, empty nest, another year, another time, or another place.
There is nothing inherently wrong with this kind of thinking; anticipation can be good and certainly planning is necessary for the world to keep turning. Looking toward the future while being informed by our past and present is a necessity, but when this comes at the sacrifice of our contentment, then an adjustment needs to be made.
It’s so much easier said than done, isn’t it? It looks great on paper, but when dishes fill the sink, the car breaks down, the company downsizes, another political scandal is announced, and the kids refuse to pick up their rooms, what do you do then? Is there anything to be grateful for? Should you be grateful in the face of such trials? How can you be content in those circumstances?
It comes down to a personal choice, a personal, daily choice to be content. Once you’ve chosen to be content even in stressful circumstances, you put your brain on a positive track, rather than a negative one. That’s an immediate benefit. If you choose to look at your circumstances and constantly ask yourself how you can add to the situation or how you can problem solve or constantly look for tiny things to be grateful for, you don’t have as much time to be negative.
Being negative and discontent is contagious. However, so is being positive and content. How are you “infecting” those around you? If you constantly complain and wish and plan for other things, what example are you setting for your kids? Don’t be surprised if they pick up on your negative cues. How are you impacting your employees or coworkers? If you consider your work environment to be toxic, first examine if you have a role in adding to that negative atmosphere.
Choosing to be content (and it is a choice) makes you an active participant in life, rather than a complaining bystander. You are not meant to be a bystander to your own life. Life is truly a wonderful gift. So is laundry, because it means you have people in your life that are healthy and in need of clean clothes every day. A sink full of dishes? It means that you are blessed to be able to provide for your family and that once again, you have people in your life to care for. A pitted-out car? That means your life is vibrating with the energy of little ones, a gift that some people are still praying for.
Today is a Gift
You cannot dismiss the gift that right now is, because it will never happen again. If you practice being content, you’ll find there is no shortage of things to be happy about, and much to be thankful for each day. There is much to do, much to say, much to listen to, much to be each day. Jim Elliot, a missionary in the 1950s who was killed in his field of service, once said, “Wherever you are, be all there.”
Be all here. In this day. This day. Not two weeks from now. Not next month. Not two months from now. Not five years from now. Be encouraged to absorb and enjoy all now has to offer before moving on to whatever’s next.