I'll admit I often struggle with the concept of contentment. Dictionaries will tell us contentment is the state of being content, or satisfied. One even goes so far as to say contentment is happiness with one's situation in life. I find contentment much more complex than any definition. The struggle to be happy with what my life holds and delivers to me each day is a difficult one that seems to attack me on multiple fronts and clever traps.
One of those traps is the trap of comparison. Comparison is a lovely mirror trick-much like the glassy surface of a lake. It can appear so calm and perfect on the surface. Peaceful and serene, the currents of chaos hiding beneath are waiting to pull me under. She seems like a better mother than I am. They take more vacations than we do. I wish I could ___________ like they do. The list could go on forever as my mind races to find all the good I see on the outside of someone else's life missing in mine and the dissatisfaction grows in my soul.
Is everything under the surface of the lives of others better than what I have? I don't know. It could be better. It could be worse. It could just be different. The point isn't really their lives, it's my heart and thoughts. Contentment will never be found when I'm looking for perfection anywhere on Earth.
I believe we're 'wired' to know something is missing, something that would make all things perfect. There's a longing in every part of us that needs to find that missing piece. That piece that isn't found in having the "best" children. It isn't found on our next grand adventure or new home. Contentment, TRUE contentment isn't possible in this physical world.
I'm not saying there is no happiness here. There is. Indescribable joy is ours, a gift from the Father (I suspect to keep us reasonably sane). But contentment, truly being satisfied, is a condition of our souls and our souls are not physical. That hunger for more can only be satisfied by my Father God. And it's always just enough to leave me wanting more.
So how do I fight the urge to compare my life to others? How do I not get caught up in wishing I had what y neighbor has? I fight it every day. I make a conscious decision to turn my eyes away. Do I win the battle every day? I wish I could yes. I wish I could say I never looked a someone else's grass and wished mine were as green. I'm glad my Father God is faithful to forgive me when I fail.
*just so everyone knows, the only green grass in my (real) yard is over septic lines :0)