hidden glory

Sunday, February 18, 2007

happiness or contentment?

"Happiness is getting what we want; contentment is wanting what we get." This quote by Linda Dillow from a book that my Mom sent me captures well my current faith struggle. Will I keep striving for an elusive happiness that always seems just around the corner? Or will I work to be content with the life God has provided for me today?

I'll be honest. Often I choose to exchange contentment for the pursuit of happiness. Especially at this stretch of the year in Philadelphia. We had a winter storm this past week that left us with a lot of snow and ice and blasts of cold. I hate the cold. I really do. There is nothing about shivering that's appealing to me. Visions of moving to Florida or California or somewhere where it stays above freezing all year become my happiness. I get tired of indoor activities and working out at the gym. I'd much rather be outdoors...if it weren't so dang cold.

And I also miss my family. I feel like I'm missing out on their lives -- both joys and struggles. Like hanging out with my brothers and enjoying the celebrations and planning of my brother Jonathan's wedding in May. Or being with my Grandma as she undergoes some major surgery this week. In moments like this, Philadelphia feels so far away from it all. And I feel gripped by discontentment.

What would it look like for me to cultivate contentment? I think it means honestly admitting the places where it's hard, but entrusting these to a God who sees, knows, and cares about me. It means asking for grace to appreciate the good about today, asking for eyes to notice what's delightful in a day. It means meditating on these things more than what I wish was different. So I can glory in the beauty of the snow-covered landscape that becomes magically iridescent at twilight. And I can be thankful for the amazing community of friends God's provided for us here. I will delight in a loving husband and our small-but-cozy & warm apartment. I will enjoy the freedom of our dual-student schedule (instead of focusing on the financial liabilities of this situation...!). And I am glad that in our age of technology, phone calls and emails make it much easier to stay in touch with those who are far away.

On top of all this, I can take great joy that what is most important about life is settled for me. This world will be full of light and momentary troubles, but because of Jesus Christ who has redeemed me from my sin, I am promised that these very troubles will turn into "an eternal weight of glory." What must that be like? I'm reminded of a college professor who always posed this question to us, that seems to best capture my imagination of eternity: "When I see the glory of a sunset, and I think about its Creator -- I always ask, 'What must He be like who gives such beauty to close every day?' "


  • Great thoughts! I especially enjoyed thinking again about how these "light and momentary afflictions are achieving for us an eternal weight of glory..." How amazing that God will transform the small trials and inconveniences of our lives into an "eternal weight of glory" one day! That should give us such motivation to joyfully endure all hardship for His sake.

    ....and yes, i will enjoy the much milder winter down south for you as long as you enjoy the cool summers for me...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 12:06 AM  

  • Who is anonymous? :)

    By Blogger Heather, At 11:12 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home