Choosing Contentment–What My Daughter Has Taught Me

thumb_FullSizeRender-6_1024I’ve had a rather grumbly morning. Nothing has changed since yesterday except my perspective, and I’m finding it more difficult than usual “to be content whatever the circumstances” (Phil 4:11).

My daughter Kaila is halfway around the world on a 6-week trip to Australia, and in her absence I’ve realized how much impact she has on my level of contentment. You see, I’m not naturally content. Instead, I lean toward restlessness and have to choose to quiet my heart and be content.

Kaila, on the other hand, at 17, is a picture of a heart at rest, and I have much to learn from her. She has an innate sense of what matters most—God and people—and she is content with knowing that God controls her life and the people in it for her good. At any moment, she’s perfectly happy with what she’s doing, whom she’s with, and where she is.

Watching her over the years, I’ve learned much about how to quiet my soul and be content, but days like today remind me I am still on a journey.

If you also struggle with contentment in your life, I hope you’ll appreciate these lessons I’ve learned from Kaila. I know what it produces because I’ve witnessed it. It produces a contented spirit that is peace to the struggler, rest for the tired, and a source of quiet strength to those who know her.

I am blessed to be my daughter’s student and to learn:

1—To enjoy the moment instead of yearning for the next adventure. Kaila lives completely in the moment. It’s not that she doesn’t dream, but her focus is always on living in every moment and engaging every person in that moment with her.

2—To enjoy what I have instead of longing for something more or better. Whether it’s stuff or station, I have never known Kaila to look around and want for anything that isn’t hers. As a matter of fact, she is constantly sacrificing in order to give and yet feels no lack because of it.

One of this girl's many talents--YES those are her arms :-)!

One of this girl’s many talents–YES those are her arms :-)!

3—To appreciate my talents and accept my weaknesses as part of God’s divine purpose for my life. Kaila knows that she knows that she knows that her talents are God-given, and conversely, so are her weaknesses. She is a gifted singer, talented musician, and craft-sy artist among other things, but she is also disorganized, a slightly clumsy athlete, and a lousy joke-teller. She neither shows off her gifts nor hides her weaknesses. She is who she is and she is perfectly okay with it.

4—To enjoy a job well done, instead of focusing on all that’s left to do. While Kaila is constantly honing her skills, she is always content with where she has come instead of frustrated by how far she has to go. She is motivated by the joy of learning, not by a standard of perfectionism.

5—To celebrate the accomplishments of others without a single moment of insecurity or jealousy. People matter to Kaila. She loves to do a good job, but she loves it just as much when others do. If given the chance to shine or let another shine instead, Kaila will always choose the latter. She may not win the prize or the glory doing so, but she always wins our respect and admiration.

Nearly 18 years ago, I started this journey feeling the weight of responsibility to lead and teach this precious gift of a daughter. Little did I know that in so many ways, she would do the same for me.thumb_IMG_2277_1024How about you? Could you use some lessons in contentment today? I know I’m sure missing my little girl who keeps her heart–and mine–so content.

 

 

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