A while ago, I met a guy who was happy with his life.
He was content with where he was in his life. He was grateful for the relationship he had with his significant other, he was happy about his job and financial situation, his health and lifestyle habits seemed like they were in a good spot. Generally speaking, he was content.
But his life wasn’t ok.
In fact, there were many growth areas he could work on. He didn’t eat and drink very healthy food or regularly exercise, his faith played a marginal role in his life, he fathered a child outside of marriage, his job was nothing he was going to do forever, and he didn’t have much financial stability.
I must sound judgmental as I say this, but I spent hours with this guy, listening to his life story. And he seemed genuinely happy about his life and where he was headed.
As he told me all this, I kept thinking, “Man, I would not be ok with myself if I were in his shoes.” In fact, most days, I can recite a long list of traits I am trying to improve. Often, those growing edges stress me out. I’m not content at all with the fact that I frequently run late, don’t write as much I’d like to, don’t know people’s names at church as well as I’d like, or don’t work around the house enough.
But I have have many of the things this other gentleman didn’t: a loving wife who’s the mother of my daughter, a faith that impacts my family and me on a daily basis, a job where I find significance, and good health.
So why is it that none of these things really bother this guy, but then I get down on myself when I publish a blog post 12 hours late?
Is it pride? Do I hold myself to a higher standard because I think I’m better than others?
Is it ignorance? Does this gentleman genuinely not know the potential benefit of what he’s missing out on so he’s not striving for it?
But how significant is the benefit of living a more healthy, disciplined life, if it doesn’t necessarily bring contentment? Is it better to be unhealthy and happy than pretty healthy and always wishing to be healthier?
I don’t pretend to have an answer to this. It’s something that I struggle with. How do we give ourselves the grace God gives us without becoming stagnant?
Some words that have helped me grapple with this come from Mac Lucado:
“God loves you exactly how you are, but he loves you so much he doesn’t want you to stay that way.”
This is helpful to me because it helps me see that I don’t have to live a better life to earn anybody’s favor, even God’s. God isn’t dissatisfied with me how I am today.
But at the same time, God loves me so much that he has incredible plans that he’s eager for me to discover. He wants so much more than what I can see for myself.
What have you found to be true in your life? Does ignorance breed bliss? Do you find that the more you grow in maturity the more you realize you need to grow? How do you find contentment with where you are while seeking to grow further?