Contentment and Desire
- Lori Smith Crosswalk.com Staff
- 2004 19 Mar
"I get very frustrated when people try to make my desire for a husband sound like either a lack of trust in God or of not allowing God to meet all my needs. I am satisfied -- MORE than satisfied with all that God has provided me, but I will not feel guilty for my desire for a partner here on earth." ~ kaybee1, in the Crosswalk.com Forum
A number of people emailed me echoing kaybee's thoughts. You are willing to be content, but you still have these desires - and is that so wrong?
(It's not wrong at all.)
Some have taken it one step further and assumed that if you still desire to be married, you aren't content. Take this email I received:
"I think that singles who are so super spiritual that they don't want a relationship with a member of the opposite sex are hiding behind their Lord to cover their own inadequacies. I would like to be married and I don't think that the super-spiritual singles have a right to tell me that I should be content being single."
Contentment isn't about getting rid of your desires or pretending that you don't want to get married. It's determining to be satisfied with what you've been given. There's a big difference.
I'm content living in my one-bedroom apartment right now. I'm thankful that I can live on my own, without roommates. Someday, I'd like to own a house (and when I find a cockroach in the shower or hear my upstairs neighbor snoring, that desire intensifies!) I walk along Grace Street and look for "For Sale" signs - even though I couldn't afford anything right now. It's fun to dream.
Dreaming about what I may someday own and being content with the apartment I'm in now are fully compatible. I think about the future, and I think "someday ... maybe ... if it's the Lord's will." And I'm satisfied going home to small kitchen cabinets and a washer and dryer in the basement.
Dealing with singleness is comparable. I've determined to be content with my single state. There are times I really want to get married, but that desire isn't wrong and doesn't negate my contentment. Hopefully I'm able to look at the future the same way here, and think "someday ... maybe ... if it's the Lord's will" and be content going to Blockbuster by myself on Friday night.
Contentment is first and foremost a decision, not a feeling. To be content is to accept the gifts of God with thankfulness and willingness to do His will. It doesn't always feel good.
Of course, I could allow my desires to drive me out of contentment. I could choose to focus on what I don't have, worry that God will never give me what I want, be jealous of others, be convinced that everyone else's life is better than mine and that God is withholding something from me. In that case, I've lost it.
It's a fine line, I guess, and it's difficult to figure out.
The example of Christ on the night he was betrayed gives me assurance. He prayed for hours - sweat blood - asking God if there were some other way, reiterating His willingness to do the Father's will in spite of the fact that He didn't want to go through with the crucifixion.
Was Christ content going to the cross? Yes. But it wasn't easy for Him.
And though the burden that we're facing here pales in comparison, it won't be easy for us, either.
It's OK to struggle. It's OK to want to get married -- it doesn't nullify your contentment. Don't let Satan tell you otherwise.
Copyright Lori Smith, 2000 – 2003
Lori, 32 and single, lives in northern VA where she frequents a local ballet studio, hikes in the Shenandoahs, and throws the occasional pity party. Find more of her writing and preview her book The Single Truth at www.thesingletruth.org. You can purchase The Single Truth at Christianbook.com