Sunday, November 13, 2011

Contentedness: Being Happy Without Everything You Ever Wanted

Rarely does anyone ever get everything they ever wanted in life. We all have our wants—those things we wish we could have, but don’t have. And this is the case for most of us throughout our entire lives. There will always be something we’d like to have. Certain things we may want very badly, maybe even to the point of losing sleep over, or becoming depressed or hopeless about. Maybe you’d like a home of your own, or a first car, or enough money to pay the bills and have some left over for a change, or a friend, or maybe even a family of your own. Some things to want in life can quite literally be that life changing that they can make all the difference in the world. Some things to want in life are for the good of others, too. Maybe you want someone’s health to improve, or for a friend to get a good job, or for a couple to have their first baby. Some things to want for others are noble and good intentioned, and for those others to get those things, it literally can be life changing for them. Other things, however, may not be so profound. Sometimes all we want are petty things that, even though we’d like to have them, we aren’t going to lose any sleep if we don’t get them. Maybe you want that new computer, or Kindle, or new purse, or new pair of jeans. These things just aren’t as life changing as the others, but we can still become consumed by our desires to get them.

But how do we handle not getting the things we want in life? Some people resort to thievery to get want they want. Some people get angry. They then resort to jealousy, complaining, blaming God, or maybe even doing something as drastic as committing murder. Some people just become sad and eventually lose hope. Some people keep their hope, knowing that they may, if not immediately, at some point be able to get what they want. And some people become constant worriers, always looking at how bad things can get if they don’t get everything they want, or looking at how bad things already are without having what they want. Then there are those that know, even if they don’t ever get this or that in life, they can still be happy without, and they live their lives each day knowing life can still be good with what they already have—these are the optimistic, hopeful, glass-is-half-full-no-matter-what kind of people. These are the sort we should all strive to be like.

We don’t have to have boyfriends or girlfriends to be happy. We don’t have to have wives or husbands to be happy. We don’t have to have our own children or grandchildren to be happy. We don’t have to have a thousand and one friends on Facebook to be happy. We don’t have to have the world’s best job, or the most secure job, to be happy. We don’t have to have the most expensive car to be happy. We don’t have to have a home of our own to be happy. We don’t have to win the lottery to be happy. We don’t have to have others smile, nod, and say “Good day” to us each day to be happy. We don’t have to be the center of attention to be happy. We don’t have to have the best health to be happy. We don’t have to have the new jacket at Penny’s to be happy. And we don’t have to have the new iphone to be happy. We don’t have to have most of the things we want in life in order to be happy, or to say that we indeed do have a good life.

The truth is that most things in life come and go. Sometimes we have a lot of what we want, and other times we have very little of what we want. But in all things, there is only truly one thing any of us can ever have and keep if we want it. We can all be saved through Christ. And through Christ, we can be happier, healthier, and more blessed than through obtaining anything else. We can be content with the things we do have, knowing that everything we have is a blessing and gift, and that we could always have so much less, no matter how much or how little we think we have (even if at times it seems like nothing at all).

Even if we don’t have all that we want in life, we can still be thankful for and happy about all that we do have. We can still be happy and content not having everything we ever wanted.