The Balance of Contentment in Imperfect Now

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“I hate this house!” Red’s Arctic-blue eyes intensely searched mine for a reaction. On his forehead a red bump glared. The wall hadn’t moved when he somersaulted into it, and this was the apparent reason for the passionate declaration.

It was a test, of course. He was merely parroting an outburst I made a few weeks ago during our most recent mouse sighting. I felt so ashamed. Yes, I had spoken those words. I knew even as they slipped past my lips they were untrue; we love this home. The Shoebox is a blessing to our family in so many ways, but it is not without its own challenges and upsets.

Over the years I’ve worked hard to cultivate a thankful heart for the Shoebox. I intentionally speak out about the great parts of living here because it helps me to dwell on the positives.

Yet my close friends and family know that continually overflowing with content is a struggle. Some days I wish I had a dishwasher. In other difficult moments I get fed up with the constant clutter that congregates so rapidly. I almost always think horrible thoughts about the rusted baseboard heater covers that can’t seem to stay put. Meanwhile in my head I dream of light, of beauty, of French doors, hardwood floors and meadow views. It’s a moment-by-moment fight to be grateful for the roof over our head that allows so much sweet family time.

Clearly I haven’t reached the plane of static contentment yet. My weak moments reveal that my heart still has much to embrace about the Shoebox.

 But you know what? I know that wherever our next home is, whatever it looks like, that place won’t be perfect either. It will have different strengths and fresh struggles. My heart will have to learn to be content there too, amidst whichever new rhythms and challenges the new season brings.

You see, I don’t think our hearts are wired to be completely, one hundred percent fulfilled and satisfied with our lot here on earth. It is certainly possible to be content with our current circumstances, but there will always be a part of us that wishes for more—more beauty, more rest, more fulfillment, more family, more peace. The culmination of those desires can only be found, I believe, in the person of Jesus Christ. And we look forward to Heaven as our final home, “a better country“, a city whose architect and builder is God.

Even Paul, the great apostle who endured much suffering and had indeed learned contentment in all circumstances (Philippians 4:11-13) said that “our citizenship is in heaven, from which we eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ…”. Again in 2 Corinthians 5 he states that he would much rather be present with the Lord in his eternal dwelling.

So there’s a balance to be found somehow in feeling content with whatever our current circumstances might look like but simultaneously feeling the gentle pull toward a perfect forever home someday.

So there’s a balance to be found somehow in feeling content with whatever our current circumstances might look like but simultaneously feeling the gentle pull toward a perfect forever home someday.

Someday will come soon enough. My task for now is to learn and model contentment here, now, knowing that my God has truly supplied all my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:19)

My knees crackled as I knelt in front of my waiting, stewing four year old and cupped his face gently in my hands. I studied the faint freckles that just formed across his nose this past summer. “This home is blessing to us. It is a good place, and I don’t hate it at all.”

I spoke real. I hope truth covered the damage of my previous outburst he had so accurately copied. This is a lesson he’ll have to learn as he gets older—in every stage and every state it is possible to be content but the strength for that can only be found in Christ Jesus.

Friends? Hey, my own heart? Let’s not merely strive for contentment. Let’s find it in Jesus during imperfect now and hold onto Him, resting assured that He is preparing a perfect home for us someday.


“…for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13



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  • Becky
    October 9, 2014

    I’ve just started reading your blog and I have to say this post resonated deeply with me. We are just pilgrims passing through but how we hold so tightly to the glittery things of this world! Thank you for your honesty and transparency. Looking forward to more!

    • Evelyn
      October 9, 2014

      Hi Becky!! Welcome! So glad to have you here. You’re so right about being pilgrims… and the glittery everything. 😉 It’s hard to hold lightly to, well, everything, right?! Thank YOU for commenting. Looking forward to hearing ore from you. 🙂

  • Kim
    October 9, 2014

    Great post! When my kids were little and we were renting a small townhome, I often struggled with contentment. Now they are older and we have a modest home. Truly there is still a struggle with contentment because things break down and need to be maintained faster than funds and effort can afford. I have got to keep connecting rather than brooding, appreciating rather than wishing. I need to get outside and love God’s beauty and thank the Lord for family. Sorry for Red’s “owie” and your mouse mishap. They serve as great heavenly reminders for us all.

    • Evelyn
      October 9, 2014

      Wonderful reflections, Kim. Thanks for your thoughts!

  • Jayleen Zotti
    October 9, 2014

    It’s true … are we ever truly content? I was pleased and surprised when my daughter described me in a school report as ‘content’. Is that thrilling or what?! At least I exude contentment;0) lol!

    • Evelyn
      October 9, 2014

      What a very sweet and telling description, Jayleen. Way to be, Momma! 🙂

  • Jesse May
    October 10, 2014

    Wonderful post! Thank you for the needed reminder!

    • Evelyn
      October 12, 2014

      Thanks Jesse! Blessings to you today. 🙂

  • Sarah+T.
    October 11, 2014

    Beautifully written and expressed! It’s so important to focus on what truly matters. Thanks!

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