October 16, 2017

CHANGING DEFINITIONS.


For years, I've struggled with the concept of contentment. In a culture where women are encouraged to go after their goals (#girlboss) and Pinterest tells us that "good things come from those who hustle," it's been a constant tug of war for my heart and soul to find rest in the present.

I lived out that hustling lifestyle, working 60+ hour weeks and feeding my addiction to stress and busyness. I assumed that hustling would bring success, and success would bring the happiness and joy I'd been looking for all along. And I hoped that by working harder, I'd reach a point where I would finally earn the opportunity to rest.

The concept of contentment--and actually embracing contentment in my own life--was the last thing I wanted to do. In the back of my mind, I associated contentment with laziness. I thought that by embracing the current seasons in my life, I would stunt my own growth and trajectory for success. By loving the season I'm in, I would be telling everyone else that I had reached my peak and that I would be okay with settling with life as it is.

While journaling the other night, I confronted the lies in my heart and realized that I had it all wrong. By placing contentment and growth on opposite ends of the spectrum, I was not only striving for a life of perfection, but I was living to impress others, and working towards a life of inevitable burnout. So for a few days, I continued to wrestle with these definitions and asked God to press truths into my hardened (and worn out) heart.

Success is no longer tied to the number of hours I've worked or the number of tasks I've checked off my to-do lists. Success has nothing to do with numbers, such as an audience, a social media algorithm, or a job title. Rather, success is about effort and character. It's choosing to persevere, choosing to do your best, and choosing to love your life--without comparing it to someone else's.

Growth is not settling. Growth is, however, choosing challenge, no matter how big or small the mountain may be. Reaching the summit isn't the epitome of growth, but the evidence of hard work, faith, and endurance. Growth is pushing past fear. And it's realizing that pain and grit produces growth, character, and success.

Lastly, contentment is finding joy in the present. It's choosing rest and persistence, even if the pace is slow. Contentment is gratitude in action. Contentment isn't a bus stop or an airport terminal, but the active choice to fall in love with the spot God's placed you. It's taking the time to remember what you've got and where you've come from.

So yes, I'm in my mid-twenties and only now learning the definitions to some words, but I think it's important to reflect and redefine some of the words society, sin, and even you have defined.

What words have you redefined lately? Is there a word you'd like to redefine in your life?
© IN ITS TIMEMaira Gall