I Am Not Content
I love my family. My husband and son are the absolute greatest joys in my life. And yet, I find myself living with a void. I am not content. The death of my son has left me wanting and distant. I will be at the park with Jaxon, watching him run and play with the most pure joy on his face, and although I am present, there is a piece of me that isn’t. I find my mind drifting, imagining my two boys playing together, and I catch myself brokenhearted at the pitter-patter of only two little feet. When I place Jaxon in a cart at the supermarket, I see the empty seat next to him. I cried when I deleted the double stroller out of my Amazon cart. And probably, like you, I try to avert my gaze from the unused car seat in my garage. I can’t help my mind from wandering, and I can’t help my heart from wanting what I do not have. And it frustrates me, because I know I am blessed. But my heart continues to want none the less.
Why can’t I just be content with what I have? Why can’t I just fully focus on what is right in front of me?
I think as humans it is natural to want, to strive, and to hope for. Being discontent can be a strong motivator. It can cause people to achieve greater heights than they ever thought were possible. But it can also be depressing. When you combine contentedness with the inability to change your circumstance, trying to be content is debilitating.
The story of Joseph is one of the most told and most loved of the biblical stories. We spend a lot of time talking about the redemption side of his life and how God raised him up out of poor circumstances. We know that in prison and in Potiphar’s household Joseph rose in the ranks and was given responsibilities. He then became #2 in all of Egypt and his wisdom blessed the land during famine. What we don’t focus on is the despair, betrayal, and loneliness Joseph must have felt. Theologians estimate that Joseph spent 10-13 years in jail. That is a long time to think about how bad you have it. When betrayed by his brothers, Joseph was probably in shock and denial. Two emotions I have come to know well. When he was accused by Potiphar’s wife I can imagine Joseph’s spirit being crushed once again. And even as he reigned over Egypt, I wonder if Joseph lived with discontent believing he would never see his father and mother again.
I am positive Joseph felt as if he didn’t deserve all the bad things that happened to him. For he had been promised, in dreams, of his own greatness. But maybe, when Joseph went from sitting in a dungeon with rats to sitting in wealthy robes holding golden goblets he realized, he didn’t deserve the blessings either.
I am sinner, unworthy of the grace of God if it weren’t for Jesus. I can sit around all day and pity myself believing I didn’t deserve to lose my son. But maybe I don’t deserve my blessings either. God’s grace covers my iniquity and my inadequacy. Learning to be content means knowing my blessings are not deserved, instead they have been gifted to me by grace. Being content isn’t about having what you want. Instead, it’s learning to hope and to be thankful.
I’m sure Joseph hoped he would see his family again someday. And he did! Although his story is much different than mine, I have decided to discover what I now hope for and focus on what I am thankful for. So the next time I am at the park, I won’t give myself a hard time for letting my mind wander. Instead, I will recognize being discontent isn’t actually bad, for it will help me hope for the future.