First off, I had a car post in last year's 31-day series, so if car problems are going to be a thing for me with this challenge, then I will never write for 31-days ever again in my life. You understand.
So, I wrecked the car--six weeks ago. We just barely picked it up from the auto body shop last night. It was a nasty wreck involving my car, a big truck, a blind curve, a city fence, and an RV parked in the backyard behind said fence. Miraculously, no one was hurt. (I am still thanking God for that.)
But these past six weeks managing the fallout have been difficult for all the inconveniences. We moved our damn car seat no fewer than five times into as many vehicles; drove an insurance-paid rental car for 30 days; borrowed another car at the grace of friends; talked on the phone countless times with Vicki the insurance case worker and Mike the auto body technician; waited for a cumulative three weeks for insurance approval; and paid a pesky traffic ticket. Good hell.
In moments when the weight of life pressed down, my frustration with this situation easily gave way to discontent. I'd cry, "I just want my car back!" I'd think, "If only I'd come to a full stop." I'd find more things in my life to be unhappy about: a headache, the laundry, a meeting, another insurance call, the weather. Because the thing about discontent is that it replicates quickly. Dealing with the aftermath of our car accident made discontent easy and even desirable. Because if I give up my emotional accountability then I can make myself a victim instead of one who acts.
I'll be honest: discontent is easiest. It's easy to find the bad and amplify it. Seeking good and striving for that balance of contented living takes mental and emotional work. It takes slogging through car repairs and phone calls and switching out that car seat one more time and still choosing to say, I'm glad it's not worse. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for protecting our family. This trial will end.
Things will settle down a bit, now that this car thing is behind us. Pretty soon I'm sure I'll hardly think about these six weeks when I didn't have my car and had to rely on the graciousness and mercy of others. My mentality, though, I hope will stick with me. Contented living takes practice, and if we can seek contentedness in those moments when discontent is calling us, we will come out stronger and more peaceful.
I hope you don't think I succeeded in living contentedly that whole time, because I didn't. I had to emotionally reset more times than I can count, and I had to battle guilt and shock and frustration almost daily. But I didn't give in to discontent. I fought it, even when it threatened to consume me. And while I may not have been completely content during this trial of mine, I tried not to forget that God always promises eventual peace and wholeness.
This post is part of a 31-day series on contented living. You can find the other posts here.