For a few glorious days after Harriet's birth, we were perfectly content. We weren't worried about the house, or other peoples' expectations, or going to seminary, or how dumb this town can be, or anything. It was just us all holed up with nothing to think about but each other.
Now that things are settling back into the reality of work/baby care routines, that temporary contentment seems like it is slipping away. At least from me.
I look around me: if only the house were more clean, if only the dog didn't stink, if only the yard were mowed. Harriet squeaks on my lap: if only she were older and had more of a playtime, if only there could be perfect equality in baby care responsibilities. I ponder what will happen next: if only Steve had a day-shift, if only he could be doing something that he really enjoyed, if only we weren't so tired and could meet each other's needs more fully.
Then the guilt trip begins. I'm not grateful for and satisfied in what I have now...will it make any difference if things change? Won't there be cause for discontent and grumbling no matter what state I'm in? It's more than just altered circumstance that I require. It's a changed heart and no matter how much I strive and ache to change it, the bottom line is that I can't do it myself.
My Bible is staring at me from the coffee table. Philippians 4:11-13 comes to mind:
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
I have read this passage a billion times. But this time what sticks out is the word "learned." Paul learned how to be content in all circumstances. This wasn't some magical POOF! Contentment! It was a part of his sanctification by grace. He learned contentment as he trusted in the One who strengthened him in all things.
Perhaps God is teaching me contentment by revealing my appalling discontent. He is gently reminding me that I can do all things through Him who strengthens me: things like feeding a baby all day, being unable to go when I want to go, doing laundry and making the bed, living in the here and now and not pining after the next adventure (or at least mental diversion). Praise the Lord for His grace.