Updated: Feb 5, 2020
I put a lot of effort into contentment and being happy simply because I don't like being sad. Tears that are the result of anything less than joy are painful and I don't like being in pain.
I don't like being angry. I can be very mean when I am angry, I say hurtful things and while you can always apologize after, even if you didn't mean what you said, forgiveness is not guaranteed. The memory of those words linger longer than any apology or healing could ever compensate for.
I don't like being discontent. It makes me feel ungrateful for all of the good in my life. Nothing is perfect, but there is enough good and the thing about life is, good is not guaranteed. So to have any good is a blessing and the time spent in discontentment is time I've spent not being grateful.
Who I want to be and who I am are not always the same person. We cross paths more often nowadays, but the me I aspire to be always feels like some phantom person I'm chasing. Always just out of reach.
For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
Romans 7:19 ESV
Because no matter how much "I don't want to", or "I don't like", life happens. Sometimes life happens and I get sad, discontent, or angry. Life happens and my defense mechanisms built out of trauma and disappointment kick in and I'm the version of me that I don't want to be.
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Romans 5:3-5 ESV
But, this is how we learn. It's how we grow. We identify our sufferings and learn to endure them. In learning how to endure them, our character is strengthened. In the strengthening of our character we sustain hope, not in our own ability to endure and build character in our own wisdom, but through the Holy Spirit gifted to us.
God has not called us to anything alone, in every situation His Spirit, His presence is always guaranteed. When He says that He will never leave us or forsake us He means it. In every situation we can call on Him and He will be there. It is this knowledge that I return to when I feel like avoiding my feelings, because it means that I can be sad, discontent, or angry and give those things to God. It means that the weight of even how I feel can be given to God, so that I don't have to bear them alone.
This is also why having a community is important, because friendships built in faith are equipped to bear our burdens as well.
Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
God is always prepared to help us to fulfill His will in our lives we just have to remind ourselves to let Him in.
"Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Luke 12:32 ESV