If you’re in a bad mood, stressed or frustrated, understand that you likely had to step right over the favor of God to get there. For real, you had to shuffle around God’s favor to get yourself to this bad mood today. You had to avoid a collision with God’s goodness to dwell here in your overwhelm.
But you don’t even know you’re doing it.
At this moment, you’re surrounded by a million and one reasons to be incredibly grateful. The list of all that is good and right is far greater than what is wrong, but your focus determines your feelings here. What if you’re missing out on wildly good days right now because they’re simply not what you were expecting?
If someone would have told me we would be watching the first moments and days of our very first grandbaby’s life through a cell phone screen, I would have imagined that being nearly unbearable. I don’t get to be there? I miss out on all this goodness? This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be!
Our family’s perfect blessing was born 3 days ago in Italy. I’ve since gotten hundreds of messages of congratulations. Several have sent their condolences even, recognizing how incredibly hard it must be for us to not be there. Messages of “you must be dying having to be so far away”, and “it must be killing you to miss out on this.”
I had to pause and think, why is this not killing me? Why am I not a hot mess over not being there right now? Why am I content as these moments unfold and I’m watching on my phone? And then I realized, it’s because I EXPECTED IT THIS WAY.
Did I expect to not be there? Did I expect to be thousands of miles apart, separated by a great big ocean? Nope. I knew those were things I couldn’t control, so I tied zero expectations to them.
However, here is what I expected: I expected we would be happy, no matter what. I expected we would be grateful the moment we saw his beautiful face, whether that be in person or by photo. I expected we would be fully in the moment, filled with gratitude, regardless of how it all unfolded. And guess what, these are expectations I’m in control of.
My expectations made room for God’s favor. When we tie strings on this and that, expecting things to be exactly as we want them to be, we create a maze of strings that get us all tangled up. Those strings keep us from dwelling freely in God’s favor as he had planned. They keep us bound in expectations of all that didn’t happen and all that let us down, all while God’s goodness goes completely unnoticed.
Are you expecting something you have absolutely no control over, all while relinquishing control of what is yours to manage? You decide how you show up. You decide what you look for. You decide your own attitude. You decide your energy. You decide your focus. You decide your gratitude.
Or, you decide your misery. You decide your disappointment. You decide your emptiness.
It’s all up to you, Sis.
God’s favor is all around you. But if you’re tied up in your expectations of how it was supposed to be, you’re missing how good it already is. Perfect? No. But is perfection really required for your contentment here?
We’re so tripped up on how we thought it was going to be, that we’re missing God’s absolute sweetness on display. Oh how sweet he is. And oh how easy it is to miss if our expectations are out of alignment.
You can waste what you do have wishing for what you don’t have, or you can find contentment in where you are and what you are blessed with right now. Oh yes, my girl, contentment.
By definition, contentment is a state of happiness and satisfaction. And research shows we are feeling less and less of it. We’re on a slow decline since the early 2,000’s. Hmmmmm, what has happened that’s made us less content? Why are we feeling less and less happiness and satisfaction?
For one, we have access to feeds that tell us how it’s “supposed” to be. These feeds are literally feeding us. We are continually fed images reminding us that someone else is probably enjoying life more than us, with better things than us, happier family than us, somewhere prettier than us, doing more exciting things than us. And that leaves us feeling discontent.
Discontent, that’s a lack of satisfaction in circumstances.
But girl, why are you focused on circumstances? That’s what gets us in trouble!
1 Timothy 6: 6-10 “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
What is the trap of “getting rich” for you? Maybe it’s not money, but it’s the image of how you think life should be. It’s your expectations portrayed on everyone and everything else, and this becomes a temptation to you. A temptation to sacrifice what is truly important to make it look more like you think it should look. A trap that keeps you chasing your tail, always wanting more, never realizing what you already have. Have we wandered from faith and pierced ourselves with many griefs, chasing after unrealistic external expectations, shuffling right around God’s favor here for us in these moments?
If you’re focused on how you expected things to be right now, you’re likely disappointed and discontent. That sucks. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Now the next 2 verses in 1 Timothy 6: 11-12 MSG “Run for your life from all this. Pursue a righteous life—a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to.”
What if we started pursuing a life of wonder? A life of faith and love. A life of steadiness and courtesy. These are the things we control. And when we control them and expect ourselves to show up with wonder, faith, love, steadiness and courtesy, then our expectations are met and we are CONTENT!
Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
The pattern of this world is to just let it kill you when things aren’t aligning with your expectations. To feel complete and utter discontent when something is missing, causing you to miss all you already have. But God calls us to live in a different way. He calls us to be transformed, starting with the way we think.
Here’s what I think … God, exactly where I am and what I have, this is enough. It’s enough because you are enough and you are making me enough through proving this is enough. It doesn’t have to be any other way. My life is being transformed because you are helping me renew my mind. I am pursuing different things now. I’m pursing wonder today. I’m pursuing faith and love today. I’m pursing steadiness and courtesy today. I expect these things of myself today because of who you are and who you are making me.
And this contentment, well, it strengthens us. We don’t have to chase all that isn’t and all we can’t have right now. That’s exhausting! We’ve tried that, haven’t we? But just deciding where we are and what we have is enough for us to be happy and satisfied, allows God’s strength to flow in us and through us.
Philippians 4:12-13 “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 all this through him who gives me strength.”
You want strength for this day? Start with contentment. Stop stressing over all that isn’t. Stop dwelling on all that can’t be right now. It is what it is … now who will you be?
I will be a girl chased and caught by God’s favor, strengthened to do every single thing I need to do with life exactly as it is today! Fully content, transformed by my renewed mind, dwelling on the million and one things that are oh so right! work for you!