|Image from Martha Stewart. Wouldn’t it be nice if she could pack our lunch each day?|
Yesterday was a rare occurrence in my little office—all four of us brought our lunches! Yay for us! But after a little deliberation, did any of us want to eat them? Nope! Why would we want to eat what we brought, when right down the street was Greek salad, delicious pizza, and some of the best garlic rolls you will ever eat. It didn’t take us long to decide to pass on our lunch and head out for pizza.
I try to be good about bringing my lunch, but it’s never quite as “sexy” as choosing from the array of restaurants nearby. Even with the most delicious of lunches, I always want something else…Pizza, Thai, Greek, or Fattening, Delicious Bar Food…pretty much anything BUT my homemade lunch.
In something as small as my lunch to something bigger, it’s easy to get caught up in mindset that there’s always something better down the street—a better house, a better marriage, more well-behaved children, a better job, better friends, better clothes—we look at what we have and think “This just isn’t not good enough; I want something better.”
This can be a dangerous mindset to embrace, because no matter how hard we work to find something better, there will always be something else we want once we get there. It’s a vicious cycle that leaves us unhappy and always wanting the next best thing. Where does it end?
Discontentment has been something I’ve struggled with since I was a little girl. When I was in 9th grade, I went on a missions trip to the Dominican Republic and after seeing the exceeding joy from people who by our standards have so little, my best friend Catherine and I embraced Paul’s words in Philippians where he says, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.“(Phil. 4:11-13)
For Paul, it wasn’t what he had or didn’t have that was the source of his joy. His joy was in the freedom and life that he had through Christ—no matter what his circumstances were.
If we’re looking for delicious food, magazine-worthy homes, and perfect relationships to fulfill us and make us happy, we’re never going to arrive at the contentment that Paul is talking about. It’s only when we allow ourselves to let our contentment come from God’s overflowing freedom, joy, and incredible love, that we begin to learn what a satisfied, content heart truly looks like.