I used to dream about what home would look like, someday. A house of our own. My bakery and Alex's practice. Children running around everywhere. I'd imagine our garden, my kitchen, dinner parties, and holiday decorations. I used to tell myself, this is the goal we're working towards. When we get here, we'll be happy. When things got hard, I would think of our home and tell myself it's all worth it, because then we'll be happy. And I still think like that sometimes, until I catch myself.
Because it's not true.
If I can't be happy in a studio apartment in Dominica or living with my mother-in-law, I won't be happy in a two-story home all of our own. If I can't feel beautiful in worn-out clothes that don't really fit right anymore, I won't feel beautiful in fancy-pants clothes and expensive makeup. I will never have enough if I am always trying to live the life I see on Pinterest or in the movies, the life the world tells me I should have. If I can't be happy with the little that I have, is it realistic to think I'll be happy if I have a lot? It's not that my situation isn't enough to bring happiness, it's that my heart is restless and wants what I don't have.
We move all the time but wish we could stay. Friends have been in Phoenix their whole lives but wish they could move. People travel for work but wish they could stay home. People work in an office but wish they could travel. You paint your walls red and then wish they were blue. We're having salad for lunch but I wish we had soup (or as Alex wishes, Filibertos burritos). We will never be content with what we have. We will want more and more and more, and never be happy. We will idolize objects or dream up ideal situations in our head--the perfect job, the perfect house, the perfect life--until we are obsessed and completely unhappy with what we do have. Unless we are intentional about it.
My attitude cannot be dependent on life's circumstances.
My joy comes from The Lord and I am blessed to have what I do, and that is enough.
We are called to be content.
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." | 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
"I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." | Psalm 16:8-11
"Keep your lives free from the love of money nd be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." | Hebrews 13:5
"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. 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." | Phillippians 4:12-13
It's easy to sit here and write about all of this, but it's another thing to actually be happy and satisfied with what I have. I am pretty sure I am the biggest complainer I know, and I hate it. Before, during, and after complaining, I know it's wrong, and I hate it. And I can't stop myself. I even find ways to complain about wonderful things. I try to be positive when I blog, but when I'm actually out and about, talking during my daily life, I'm the worst. I don't think I would be friends with me most days, to be honest. And that's a sign it's time to change.
So here's my attempt at appreciating what I have, thanking the Lord in the good times and bad, and being held accountable for all of it. I am learning to be happy with what I have, which means less complaining, less daydreaming about the future, less window-shopping, less comparing myself to others; and more prayer, more thankfulness, and more rejoicing.