Opinions

Choosing Contentment

Go ahead, breathe a sigh of relief while you can. Mid-terms are over and the semester is halfway done. But it’s not over yet.

The life of a college student isn’t easy, and it’s full of stress at times. As college students we have to juggle school, homework, extracurricular activities and clubs, trying to figure out life and have a sense of direction in life, sometimes part time work, possibly sports, sometimes volunteer hours, and trying to have a social life. Heck, life ain’t easy sometimes but the challenges help us grow and make us stronger.

Things may not be going the way you would like and you may be burdened with a lot of stress. Maybe you didn’t do so well on exams or a paper and you need to pull up your grades or retake a class. Perhaps you are a leader in a group or more than one group and you are faced with criticism or questions of others are bringing you down. Or maybe you have big plans and goals and it feels like forever until you will be able to accomplish them.

One thing I’ve found that can help during moments when you are stressed and life is not progressing the way you want it to is contentment. There is truly something to be said for the power of the underestimated emotion of contentment.

Motivational speakers and writers may say that contentment is an enemy of progress in an individual’s life, but that is only partially true. You can’t have peace of mind without contentment in your life. Stay hungry for the best and for improving your life, but be content with your life and where you are while pursuing your dreams. You can have goals and dreams, but if you are not content right now while you are working toward those goals you will make your life miserable.

Fear, worry, jealousy, anger, and doubt are all enemies of faith and rob us of joy. But thankfulness, faith, and contentment are the keys to happiness and peace in life.

I am a nontraditional college student and will be 28-years-old soon, and in years past I let discontent in my life from jealousy, anger, and worry rob some joy in my life. After getting my associates degree, I wasn’t sure if college was for me and I struggled with finding direction in my life. I had been praying for direction in life for a long time and felt that those prayers were not being answered. I was confused and uncertain on where to go next. I enjoyed some of the part time restaurant jobs I had, but I felt stuck in life. Many of my friends from schools I attended and church were getting married, starting careers or businesses, starting to raise families, travel, and have many adventures. I was happy for them, but at the same time, I was growing a little jealous and becoming impatient for my life to progress the way I wanted it to.

I saw some areas I needed to improve in my life and I made goals, developed initiative, pushed myself to action, and sought to work toward the next chapter in my life. I learned to stop comparing myself constantly with others. I got back in school and started on a path to achieve some of my goals, but it still felt like something big was missing in my life. One thing that was missing was contentment. Even though I wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be, finding thankfulness for all I had led to contentment in life while I work toward goals and dreams. I had to look back and see how far I had come toward some of those goals and what all I had learned. I had to be thankful even for challenges and to be happy with life and where I am going.   Contentment is very powerful and it brings peace in your life, but contentment and happiness are a choice.

If anything is bringing you down like the stress of school or work or the impatience of reaching goals, seek to stay strong in faith in Christ and choose contentment, thankfulness, and joy with where you are while you work hard to pursue your goals. Stay hungry for the best and for improving your life, but stay content and joyful while you work towards those goals. Choose contentment.

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