I need an important and high paying job to be successful. I need cute, trendy clothes to feel confident. I need a tightly toned, thin body to be attractive. I need to have a perfectly decorated apartment straight off of Pintrest to be a real adult. I need a boyfriend and eventually a husband to feel complete. I need everyone I meet to like me to feel respected. I need to know every step of the plan will succeed before I try to know I’m not wasting my life. Any of this ring a bell???
So, I started reading this book called Living Well, Spending Less by Ruth Soukup which I highly, highly recommend. While I originally got it to help my mindset about not needing material things, I’m finding that it’s been a greater help in finding contentment in all aspects of my life while still challenging me to push forward. It is so hard in any stage of life I’m sure to find contentment without settling but since I’m only 27, I can only speak for my stage. In a world of Pintrest and the social media “highlight reel” it is so easy for me to compare my life to others my age and feel like I’ve failed or like I need more (be it material or not) to have a life worthwhile.
But the truth that I’m finding is that my life is and always will be worthwhile because God has blessed me whether I see it or not. I’m successful because of the character that I strive for and that God has cultivated. I’m confident because my identity is in Christ and I am a daughter of THE King. I’m attractive because of the heart I have that radiates from the inside out. Being a “real adult” has nothing to do with the situations you are in or the things you have, but how you handle life as it comes. While having a boyfriend or husband certainly pushes you to be a better person and can make you happy, it by no means completes you…no matter what Jerry Maguire says. I am complete in Christ. I am respected because of my character and my actions that flow from my character, but I can’t please everyone…and that’s ok. And finally, I am not wasting my life if I’m doing something with it. I’m not wasting my life if my actions and decisions are to further God’s Kingdom. I’m not wasting my life because God saved my life and how I live it is to thank him and make him proud.
I could write at further length about the entire thought process and everything God’s been teaching me. But to be concise…
-There’s a difference between being content vs not being motivated vs settling. If I’m content it means that I’ve accepted that I don’t NEED anything else in my life to have a successful and full life. It means that if I stay as I am, I can be happy and at peace. That’s not to say I wouldn’t have days of longing or grieving experiences I wouldn’t have, but overall…I can rest.
-You can be content but still have drive and desire to see your life be more. The difference is, if the things you want in life never come to fruition…you still have peace of having a full life
-Bloom where you are. Sometimes God tells us to wait on our dreams or desire so rather than wishing and praying for what will happen in the future…look at where you are in the here and now and make a difference.
-It’s ok to set goals. I’ve always been one to let God lead and open/close doors. But I’m realizing that I haven’t set some goals for things I’m passionate about because I’ve timidly said “I don’t know what God’s plan is for me”. So rather than setting goals, pursuing them, and letting God either open or close doors…I haven’t even tried.
-You can be content and discontent at the same time. I’m becoming more content in accepting where God has brought me in life, the job he’s blessed me with, the people he’s put in my life. But he’s giving me gifts, talents, and desires that I’ve let sit dormant and I’m NOT content just sitting around letting them go to waste.
-Find your niche or sweet spot and go after it. The other day a friend was telling me that he dropped his son off for a youth sports event and he loved it. He said if he could do it all over, he’d have gone to school for something sports related and coached sports. As cliché as it sounds, it’s never too late to follow after your dreams/desires…but I don’t want to wait until later to do something I could be doing now simply because I’m afraid of taking risk.
-If your desire is to serve God and live your life for him, then anything you do will be “in God’s will”. I know I’m not alone in thinking that I might screw God’s plan up if I make the wrong decision. But that’s not how he works. He gives us opportunity everywhere we go. Scripture says that our actions are a result of what’s in our heart. If my heart is to bring God glory, then I can’t screw up God’s plan. If anything I can delay it by not taking chances in moving forward.
I’m still working on all of these myself and there’s more in my head and heart on the matter, but for now I’ll leave with this…
Be brave. Be bold. Be content without settling. Dream. Pursue. Be patient. Be persistent. Be adventurous. Be still…and know HE is God.
” Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5: 15-17
” Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle,[c] encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:13a-18