I'm a dreamer at heart, which means I'm always thinking about what could be. There is so much temptation to want what I do not have. To be farther along on the journey. To experience more, do more, be more.
And while none of those things are bad in and of themselves, I don't want to be ruled by my own desires. I don't even want to be ruled by my dreams.
More than anything, I want to learn the discipline of enjoying exactly where I am.
* * *
I hate yoga.
It requires too much focus. Try striking Warrior 2 pose when you've been holding it for what feels like 10 minutes and your knees are shaking (heck, your whole body is shaking) and your arms feel like bricks and any moment you're sure you're going to collapse in a heap of defeat on your yoga mat, never.to.rise.again.
And the secret - the very hard and difficult secret - is that if you relax into the stretch, dare I say rest in the stretch ... if you take your mind off how long you've been holding it and when the instructor is going to move onto something else ... if you take your mind off yourself altogether ... it's possible ... quite possible I should say ... to embrace and even enjoy that very difficult and challenging moment and to ultimately conquer Warrior 2.
Like a boss.
The same is true in life. I should know. At times, I find myself in some very tough stretches. Where my courage is jelly and I just want to rush through to the next moment. I would just as well fast forward through all the difficult, boring and unexciting parts to get to the triumphant, victorious and glorious ending.
But when I rush through life, I willingly forfeit all the divinely orchestrated lessons it intends to teach me. I miss out on developing strength, patience & grace. I never learn what it means to take my focus off of me and concentrate on something far more worthy and divine.
And maybe it's just me, but the call to contentment is like beasting a 24-hour Warrior 2 pose every day. Priscilla Shrirer puts it this way in "A Resolution for Women," my latest treasure from Audible:
"[This year was] my only chance to fully be the person I'd be at this age and in this season. Only for the coming year, would my husband be exactly like this. Only for these fleeting moments, would my children, talk, look and act exactly like this. And if I chose to hurry through them in an attempt to avoid the parts I didn't like, I'd simultaneously miss all the things I did like about this season.
I recognized that by rushing through life I'd been subtly devaluing those around me and the experiences I was involved in. Not appreciating the importance and significance they bring to my life at this very moment. Not grasping or holding dear and treating well, these gifts God has entrusted to me. Rarely allowing myself the privilege of fully participating and embracing the happenings that were right before me that day."
Story of my life. My middle name is rush. And my last name too.
I've been rushing so much this year already. Rushing through the very hard and difficult moments of having a near two-year old. Rushing through the journey of figuring out what to do next. Rushing through friendships, relationships. Wanting life to just hurry up and get to the part where I finally make it big, reach the tippy tippy top and live happily ever after.
While contentment whispers quietly from the corner, "Dear friend, this is your happily ever after."
* * *
"Possibly this clarion call to live satisfied with what God has already given feels almost like admitted defeat. A resignation to the status quo. A life of mediocrity. Maybe it feels as if choosing contentment is a simultaneous choice to quell your desires and silence your future aspirations. To quit ever hoping for more.
On the contrary, contentment is the equilibrium between the enjoyment of life now and the anticipation of what is to come. Contentment serves as a guard against 'desires gone wild.' It is the key to unlocking you from the bondage of unrestrained longing that wells up within your heart and inevitably tries to control your life, making you a slave to what you don't have, instead of a fully-engaged participant with what you do."
Priscilla Shirer, "A Resolution for Women"