Friday, August 29, 2014

Finding Contentment, Finding the Cross

So, the last several days have been rather eye-opening. As some of you know, since my miscarriage with Alexandra, Michael and I have been trying again to get pregnant. The months between there and here have been filled with mostly regularity, with the last few weeks before my period being nerve-wracking. I've thought more than once that I was possibly pregnant again because my body decided after the miscarriage that it would now be normal to have all the symptoms of pregnancy starting about 10 days before my period is supposed to start. While exciting, eventually, when my period comes, or (as has happened a couple times) is late and I've taken pregnancy tests, it's been rather disappointing.

This past week has been the same, as my period was inexplicably about 4 days late. This caused me a great deal of hope, two pregnancy tests, and almost tears yesterday when I started spotting. I had been praying for at least a week that I would be able to trust God, no matter what, and last evening as I was teary (or close to it) and being held by Michael, I wondered why most women (and I say most, not all) desire children so badly. Why, I asked myself, do women desire to have children so badly that it drives even the most level-headed to distraction? Why is it that when a woman is trying to get pregnant it very nearly consumes her thoughts and being? Is it because it's her body we're talking about? Or is it something else entirely?

I actually think it's something more than that. I think for many women, it's a status symbol to not only be able to bear children but to also be seen carrying a baby in your body. Some may not consciously call it a status symbol, but it is nonetheless. All your friends are doing it, and while everybody but you is doing it, they are also having fun, looking stylish, and gaining something that the childless you doesn't have. It doesn't help that with social media, everyone can see what everyone else's "perfect" lives look like. (I think it's important to note that Facebook, Instagram, and other social media are a very edited version of other people's lives. Lives are very seldom perfect.)

I think as we age and go through various stages in life we go from coveting and desiring one thing to coveting and desiring another thing. When we're little it's the other girl's dress-up box or nail polish collection. Then it progresses to relationships, "Why does she have a boyfriend when all the boys run from me?" Once you're in a relationship, you might start comparing your relationship to others ("He's always bringing her flowers!"), or wanting that engagement ring. Once you're married, you think it will just all go away, but it's someone's house ("We're still in an apartment!"), pregnancy ("All I've had is a miscarriage."), children ("Why are they so well-behaved and mine aren't?"), job ("He makes more than I do!"), station in life, adventures ("They're always traveling!"), retirement age ("Really? 42?!"), second house, and so on.

What this latest round of anxiety, hope, and disappointment has served to reinforce is that I am not content with what I have. As a Christian, haven't I got everything I will ever, ever need in Christ? Hasn't Jesus' death on the cross (for the sins I willingly commit/ed) so he could reconcile me to God shown me this? God showed me once that I would never need a human knight-in-shining-armor, because He is all I need. Now he has shown me that if I never have children, or never get pregnant again, he will still be enough, because I am His child. Will I still fail to forget that I have more than I need in God? Yes. But, now I know and can look back at this post and be reminded of this. More importantly, I can now look at my life and ask the important question, "What else am I not satisfied with? Where else am I failing to see how God is more than enough in my life?"

I challenge you with that question too. If this post has touched you, where are the places in your life that you see your discontentment with the God who is, has, and gives everything you need when you need it most? As I've learned, the fastest way to gain contentment is to repent of my sin of unbelief and discontentment and to look to the cross. May my eyes always be drawn there.

I leave you with this wonderful quote by C.S. Lewis, a favorite author of mine, that outlines this perfectly from his book Mere Christianity.

“Your real, new self (which is Christ's and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him. Does that sound strange? The same principle holds, you know, for more everyday matters. Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. The principle runs through all life from top to bottom, Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”


1 comment:

  1. This post was good, and touching, and reassuring, but it didn't really *connect* until this:

    "Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay."

    Which is where I am most days now. Thank you for posting this. I'm glad we're walking through this life with different struggles, but together, in Christ.