Nearly every day while perusing through social media, we see the best of our friend’s lives. I am guilty of only posting happy things that make it appear that my life is always great. I write my blog to display the crafts, cooking and family activities that turn out well. I avoid showing my mistakes and failures. Perhaps one of these days I will write a blog postings about these “Epic Failures” to show that not everything goes as planned.
But, when things are not going well, viewing these happy postings on social media can make a person feel down. Friends vacationing in fun, exotic places – why am I not with them? Friends buying new retirement homes in warm sunny locations – why am I living in cold and snowy Minnesota? Job successes – why do patients (actually make that parents of patients) complain when I try to provide the best possible care for their child? And many more examples.
Last Wednesday, I was frustrated to be dealing with the second migraine in five days that did not respond to my prescription medication. If you have every experienced an intractable migraine, you will understand the discomfort I was in. And to top it off, around mid-day abdominal pain started. I was like – oh great migraine induced nausea, I haven’t had to deal with that for a while. After a couple of weeks of many unexpected, less than ideal events, I had a few tears of frustration that afternoon.
Overnight my abdominal pain became much worse, prompting a trip to urgent care in the morning and Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal) later in the day. Being in too much pain to even be able to knit, I had a lot of time to stand around (it hurt too much to actually sit down) and think and realize that I needed to change my perspective on my life.
I needed to embrace contentment and gratitude for what I have been given. Rather than being concerned about my parents’ health, I should be grateful that they are settled into a senior housing center that has nursing staff available when they need the help. Rather than being jealous about the fun vacations my friends are on, I should be grateful for the vacations I may be able to take in the future. Rather than complaining about the snow, I should be grateful that spring will be here in just a few weeks. I should be more grateful for my loving husband, four wonderful sons, warm home, etc.
But more importantly, I should be content in the grace given by my heavenly father. Through God’s grace, I have been given much and should seek contentment and anchor my joy in God himself rather than trying to change my circumstances. I need to take to heart the statement in Erik Raymond’s book, Chasing Contentment: Trusting God in a Discontented Age (Crossway, 2017), “If you want to be content, think less about yourself and more about Christ.”