Being thankful can be hard to do. There, I said it. I know this post may seem a few days late to some, but for me, this is the perfect time to spill out my heart for a few moments.
With Thanksgiving being this past Thursday, all last week I was giving much thought to what it actually means to be thankful and to live life with a grateful heart. I began to notice that some of my recent actions towards the season of life I’m in weren’t actually actions of thanks, and instead they were actions of ungratefulness. When I first realized this, I was in complete denial. Ungratefulness was something I never struggled with to this degree before, so there was no way I could actually be struggling with it now…right? That’s what I was trying to convince myself of, but I knew I was wrong. It’s amazing what our flesh tries to convince us of sometimes.
I am stuck in the rut of a stagnant life, because that’s the season I’m in right now. I am pouring as much as I can into my passions and dreams right now, and I’m glad I have the time in my day to do that, but it beings to hurt to the core when I realize my dreams aren’t really going anywhere. I want to invest more into my dreams, but I don’t have the money for that. People can say what they want, but yes, you do need money to legitimately pursue your dreams. I am longing to eagerly to move into a home with my husband, so that we can prove that we’re doing well and so that we can start to feel accomplished. But student loans just kicked in and society makes it impossible for us young folk to get on our feet. Money sucks. And then I am constantly being hassled by my depression, anxiety, doubt and other things to the point where I will literally just sit down and do nothing. Sadly, I could ramble on forever about how discontent I am with this season I am in.
So yeah, I am in a season of discontentment and that’s actually okay, believe it or not. I know that sounds confusing, but bear with me. The issue is that I am not content with this season of discontentment. I have been having breakdowns every day, instead of believing that God will turn all of this out for good soon.
Contentment is essentially the heart of gratitude and thankfulness.
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:11-13
I know that Philippians 13 is a very well known verse, but most of the time it is used out of context and the surrounding verses are ignored. The context of this passage is all about contentment. Paul was explaining that he found contentment in whatever situation he was in, because the Lord strengthened him to. He knew what it was like to be in constant need and he also knew what it was like to be plentiful, and in all situations he learned how to be content. The only way he did that was by recognizing that Christ is the one who strengthens him always.
My ungratefulness was being caused by a lack of contentment. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that being content with something doesn’t mean it’s always ideal or appealing. Sometimes real contentment is found in the most painful and strange times.
“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.” – Shauna Niequist
This quote really spoke to me the other day and opened my eyes to how giving thanks is really expressing our contentment; gratitude and thankfulness. No matter where we are in our lives, we will always have something to say thank you for: the joys and the sorrows. Let’s be thankful that there will always be times to celebrate and that there will always be times to grow.
I praise God for his grace, understanding, and his strength through every season that I endure to become more like the person he has called me to be. God will give me the strength to be content through my discontentment, but I have to seek him out. Instead of being discouraged by the process, I want to appreciate the process even more than before and in that, look forward to the future with contentment in my heart. I still have much room to grow.