Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Contentment

As long as we live, we are after something. A body at rest will atrophy; inaction is death. Living is moving, working. Our work is never done because anything can be undone; the future is uncertain.

Even discounting greed and envy, no one is fully satisfied with what he has—or, rather, with lacking what he wants.

It’s our natural right to work and sacrifice for those things that are within our reach. Among life’s greatest rewards is appreciating the work you did in the troughs to achieve new heights.

The reward comes with risk. The risk is that the reward may not come, often will not come. In that case, contentment is key. Contentment is not flaccid complacency. It’s not making excuses for shortcomings. It’s relaxing one’s will in the face of forces greater than oneself.

If anyone has been dealt a bad lot (with respect to his professional football prospects), it’s Heisman Trophy winner, two-time national champion Tim Tebow. Like the Apostle Paul writing in Philippians 4, Tebow has learned the secret of how to be content. CBS reports:

“One of my favorite quotes is, ‘I don’t know what my future holds, but I know who holds my future,’” Tebow told KSAZ. “That gives you peace to just continue to work and you go after what your heart desires. When you do that, you don’t have any regrets. I think that’s the best way to live life.”

Or, “many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

Despite all the factors outside our control, we plan. An interviewer asked me where I wanted to be in 5 to 10 years. Increasingly I grow skeptical of this tedious question. I have an ideal in mind, but it’s not worth my breath. In 10 years I will be where a succession of unforeseeable opportunities and countless micro- and macro-decisions have brought me to. Two years ago I didn’t see myself living in San Antonio, much less joining a church and being baptized. In 10 years I could be more popular than Stephen King. In 10 years I could be bound to a wheelchair. I could have three kids and be a widower. Life isn’t a movie. The end isn’t scripted. It’s always different than what we envisioned in the beginning.

Where will I be 10 years from now? Ask me again in 9-and-a-half years.

Related: “Spaces between.”

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