Let It Change Me

The last time I was content

The last time I was content

My firstborn is almost 5 years old. My husband and I were talking the other day and I told him that I haven’t felt this content in my life since I was pregnant with our son. Basically, I haven’t felt any lasting contentment in over 5 years. That’s a long time.

When I think back on my pregnancy, I remember how happy and scared I was. The highs and the lows twisted together just right. I was firing on all cylinders and challenges didn’t drag me down. It was the perfect combination of hope for the future and enjoyment in the moment. It wasn’t like being high, just a little higher. It’s the difference between walking through a dark room expecting to hit your knee on something and walking through a room where the light is shining just enough to see the obstacles for what they are.

I remember wishing that it could last forever but then our son was born and one issue after another crushed my happy place. At least, that’s how it seemed. For the next 5 years, it seemed that no matter what I did, I couldn’t catch a break or my breath.

So when I recently started to feel content again, I instantly didn’t trust it. My initial reaction was to think don’t get too used to this. It is classic self-sabotage to not allow oneself to experience joy out of fear that it won’t last. But when the roof didn’t fall on my head right away, I started to think now we can finally get back to normal.

Over the course of a couple of weeks, I did indeed find myself ‘getting back to normal’. My patience with my kids began to wane, I wanted to spend money I didn’t have and I found myself looking for ways to stay busy-busy-busy. Not the kind of busyness that’s productive but the kind that numbs and zaps energy. In short, my old habits and ways of thinking were creeping back in.

I don’t know about you, but I rarely learn anything when I’m happy. Maybe that’s why I’ve always tended to sabotage my happiness – because I just don’t know what to do with myself. I can’t sit with contentedness and enjoy the moment. The last time I tried that was 5 years ago and it didn’t last. Why should right now be any different?

Maybe because I’m different.

I realized that I had completely missed the point. Sometimes, we take God’s grace for granted because we don’t recognize which part is the gift. I found myself thinking that after 5 years of struggling, God had finally thrown me a bone. Then, when I saw old, unhealthy patterns emerging I grasped the understanding that the last 5 years have been the gift. This period of contentment right now is the breathing room to take inventory of how I’ve let those years change me. LET them change me.

If those years haven’t changed me, then they’ve been for nothing. The uncertainty, the worries, the stress means nothing if I go back to the way things were before. If I let God change me, if I let go of resistance, if I see the gift for what it is, I will be content with right now whatever right now holds for me.

25 Comments on “Let It Change Me

  1. I love your voice: wise, gentle, simple. Thank you for your sweet spirit.

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  2. I’ve always said contentment with my life was one of the greatest gifts of recovery. I used to think of contentment as a bad thing. Now, I view it as having a great sense of peace in my life. Not desiring for anything more or less than I have that very moment. I’m so happy you’re feeling this way. It’s a beautiful place to be in life.

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    • It truly is a beautiful place to be! What’s interesting to me is that contentment makes me eager to explore and seek healthy challenges (intellecually, physically, etc.) as opposed to seeking chaos. Thanks Chenoa!

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  3. Great post Karen! I had a lot the same feelings too! Actually any feeling I had, I worried because I was not used to just the simplicity of life! But life just flows, the good the bad all comes and goes. For me now is to enjoy the good and learn from the bad. I think you are totally right, letting go of resistance opens many more doors! I hard a huge no day last week and oh… It was just like trying to climb up a glass wall! Lol! Whew! But I slept on it and tried to remain open to the change. Thanks Karen! Have a great weekend!

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  4. Hi Karen, this post really speaks to me today, I really, REALLY appreciate your writing it! I am going to look at the pain/lack of joy in a new way, and see what I can learn from it. Thanks for this!

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  5. I believe we are gifted every moment, we just don’t always get it. Sometimes I stay on top of the gift and can’t see it and other times I am underneath it and can’t see it. My life is valleys and peaks, roses and thorns, sweet and sour, and joy and grief. My sense is that it is all a gift and the biggest gift is staying present to it all so I don’t miss the gift. When I get caught up in the crap (mind chatter and story) I tend to miss it.

    Great post and beautiful words of wisdom. Thank you.

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  6. Wonderful post, which reminds me that we all have the good times, bad times and in-between times, and they are ALL gifts. It’s called life,and I just try to experience each moment and be thankful for what it is (not always so easy to do, but I try)!

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  7. Great post, Karen. A lot to think about here, especially the perspective of viewing the hard times as a gift. This is a very positive, uplifting post to read…and one I needed to hear very much. Thank you.

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  8. oh no! I am feeling a tinge of joy! Oh crap, what’s gonna happen now? Oh jeez, let me fret about this for a while…oh wait, there’s laundry to do and I am going to reorganize all the books in the house using the dewey decimal system! Happiness only leads to…oh who knows, but I don’t want to find out! Keep at it!!

    Well, that’s sort of how I used to feel. Sometimes catching myself now gets me a laugh, as I know how it is, and you describe it well. Sitting in the joy can be just as difficult as sitting in the pain. And like you, I would take the pain, because THERE IS A LESSON IN IT. Guess what? There are lessons in joy too. I fret less in joy and see that it helps me. I see joy as the anditode for crap that has been churning in my mind, and knowing that it’s just crap churning in my mind. Joy allows me reflection and a bounce in my step. Joy allows me to ramp up my gratitude, and use it as a raincheck on crappy days. Joy allows me to step out of myself (always a good thing) and spread it to those who need it (service). Joy brings me joy. And why do I always need to be learning something? Living is living, and sitting in that living is living too. The less I analyze (and boy do I love analyzing – have you read the crap I write? lol) the better off I am. Examined life, yes, good. An obsessed inner gazing marathon. Not so!

    Anyway, love this post and love how you express things.

    Blessings,
    Paul

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    • What a lovely reflection on joy! I am always looking to learn something. I just can’t stop myself. I love what you say about there being a lesson in joy itself. That’s the lesson I’d like to spend more time on! Thanks Paul.

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  9. It’s hard to accept content when we are waiting for the other shoe to drop….it’s a hard lesson to let that go and just believe that life is not going to just hit you with strife. Just being is the hardest thing of all. In T’ai Chi, we always talk about less is more. The point is to expend less frenetic energy – move slowly and thoughtfully and if we have a force coming towards us- use their energy to continue that force away (if it’s the kind of force we don’t want). Soft as cotton; strong as steel.

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      • Me too – I find T’ai Chi to be such a good fit for my personal philosophies. It’s pragmatic – there’s nothing to believe to make it so – it just IS (and for those with more spiritual leanings – it was given by the universe or god for our benefit). Our bodies move like this and when we have a strong core/root (like a tree) it makes us stable and strong yet able to bend and be flexible – adversity is always going to be a challenge – but how we cope with it is the the key to making our lives wonderful to horrible and all variations in-between. At least in my opinion…

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