You can be sure of this: whatever your conditions are today, they will certainly change. If you’re in the valley right now, there’s a mountaintop in your future. And if you’re on top of the pile right now, there’s a valley not far away. It’s the roller coaster nature of our existence. We go through ups and downs again and again.
If you can be happy only when you’re at the peak, then you’ll be happy only a small portion of your life.
Examine your life right now, and make a choice to say, “This is good enough. I can be happy right here.” Does that mean we forget about the idea bettering ourselves or bettering our situation? Of course not. We’re always pressing on toward the prize. But that’s the difference between complacency and contentment.
- Complacency says, “I’ll accept what I have and I won’t try any harder for anything better.”
- Contentment says, “Even though I haven’t reached the finish and haven’t yet fulfilled all my dreams, I can fully appreciate and fully enjoy this step in the journey.”
Look at your situation with the eyes of contentment. Recognize the presence of God in the details of your life. Accept each day with a sense of gratitude. Face each moment with a sense of assurance, knowing that whether this is easy or not, you can endure it through Christ who gives you strength.
Richard Carlson is a psychologist who worked for many years as a stress consultant. He wrote Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (And It’s All Small Stuff). He said that one of the most destructive mental tendencies he has seen in people is that of focusing on what they want rather than what they have. Those who say, “I’ll be happy once this desire is met,” just find something new to want and delay their happiness a little longer.
Carlson says that there is a way to be happy. It is to stop focusing on what you want, and focus instead of what you have.
Decide to appreciate all that there is to appreciate in each and every moment of your life.