Sometimes I create in my mind a misguided picture of contentment. I imagine a fairly carefree disposition of someone who has her life in balance. She’s not overworked or bothered by much. She knows just the right thing to say, and her relationships are full of encouragement, mutual respect, and long conversations at cozy coffee shops. When tough times come, she’s tougher—always able to handle difficulties with a gracious spirit.
This is not my life. Fears arise, trying circumstances burden, and relationships disappoint. Sometimes I’m discouraged simply because I’m discouraged. I look over the fence at Paul’s contentment in profound wonder at his confidence to proclaim, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (Phil 4:11).”