I have a fairly distinct memory from when I was about 7 years old. We were at camp, I was sitting drinking an Orange Crush from a glass bottle. Took a swig of that sweet, sweet nectar – and suddenly realized something was horribly wrong.
Instead of joy – there was pain and confusion.
I had failed to notice that a bumble bee had flown into the bottle between sips, and it was as displeased to now be in my mouth as I was to have it there.
Discontentment often comes from that kind of experience. A situation where what we expect is drastically different from what we experience.
I don’t think 7-year-old me was wrong to expect sugary joy from that bottle instead of pain, but often we as adults set ourselves up for disappointment. We set ourselves up for discontentment.
We expect things to always go well.
We think we deserve a good outcome.
We believe we are entitled to something enjoyable.
Of course, we will always have some things go well and experience some good outcomes and enjoyable experiences. But we sometimes approach life with the expectation that we deserve it.
We need to remember the basic definition of contentment is when our expectations are in line with our reality. When what we’re experiencing is acceptable compared to what we feel we deserve.
We can’t always control what we get – but we can control our expectations.
What is the one good thing you are really anticipating? Something you are looking forward to having, or doing, or experiencing?
Now – imagine you don’t get it. How does that make you feel? Can you adjust your expectations so that you can live content even if that good thing doesn’t come to pass?
God of abundance,
Lord of giving,
Creator of good gifts,
you have given me so much,
help me to see that – instead of what I lack.
Let me dwell on what I have, not others.
Give me eyes to see how you have blessed me,
instead of feeling left out, left behind.
Thank you – honestly – thank you.
I know I don’t always have a thankful heart,
please change that in me.