Pimpin’ the Grace

Many years ago (more like 7), I was writing for this small Christian magazine and a good friend of mine was also there and wrote on the topic of grace. “Pimpin’ the Grace” is what she called it. I wish I still had a copy of her article; it had so many gems in it. Today, however, I’m going to explore my own territory about grace, what is it, how it works, and how many of us trick it out for chump change. Yes, chump change. [There’s a lot of information here so take it section by section.] Continue reading

CoNtEnTmeNt

contentment

Main Entry: con·tent·ed
Pronunciation: \kən-ˈten-təd\
Function: adjective
: feeling or showing satisfaction with one’s possessions, status, or situation <a contented smile>
con·tent·ed·ly adverb
con·tent·ed·ness noun

         Since I turned the ripe old age of 27, I’ve been at a place of discontentment. There were so many things that I wanted to do, needed to do, hadn’t accomplished, and in essence, I felt as if I was 5 years behind where I should be at 27 years old. While I had a nice apartment, a car, a smart and beautiful daughter, friends, and family that adore me, and a pretty decent social life, I still was unsatisfied with where I was. With 1.5 college degrees (I’ll be done with the Master’s in December) and extensive vocabulary (at least I think so), I still battled with myself about where I was and how I would get to the place where I was satisfied with my life.

         Since August 11th, 2009 I’ve been on a daily quest to figure out who Alisha is, what Alisha wants, and what maneuvering could be done to get those things. I call it a “quarter life crisis”, but, in all my mental anguish, I’ve found one thing that has kept me “sane”: the word contentment.

         The search for contentment isn’t about being unappreciative of what you have. It’s not even about wanting something that other people have (envy, if you can be honest and call it that). It’s about being at a place that where you are right now brings the most satisfaction simply because you know that your heart’s desires are attainable, reachable, and most of all, drive you to be better.

         However, I think that the main reason we become discontented with ourselves is because we are afraid that the dreams and desires that keep us awake at night are unattainable. Despite what we say or what façade we create for others, when we are alone and just faced with ourselves and our thoughts, we don’t truly believe that we can be the people we see in our minds. Because of that, we become unsatisfied, disenchanted, and embark on a “search” for that next thing that will bring us fulfillment. Some seek it in shopping, others in extraneous relationships. But at the end of the day, none of it will bring contentment. Trust me, I’ve tried it all.

         I remember about 5 years ago when I was living in Smyrna, a small suburb north of Atlanta, and I heard a preacher talk about contentment. He referenced Philippians 4:10-12, a scripture in which Paul was talking to parishioners about being happy with what they had and who they were. At that time, I didn’t know that God had even discussed this idea in the bible; between the Red Sea and Armageddon, I had finally heard something that clicked and stayed with me for the rest of my life:

11…I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am.

  12 I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want. (Amplified Version)

         So now, at the old, old age of 27 (wink!) I realize that in all of my foolish banter, phone calls to friends about how confused I was, how much more I wanted out of life, how I was missing out on so much, and the countless random Facebook status updates about my “crisis” has now lead me to this same place 5 years ago when I heard the aforementioned scripture. Here’s a word for me and you:

You. Are. Fine.

Not like “sexy” fine, (ha!) but, like going to be fine, okay, kept together.

You are exactly where you are supposed to be in this determined time. There’s nothing you could have done differently to create a different outcome; had you done so, you would not inhabit all of those wonderful, dynamic characteristics that make you YOU.

Trust me. I know.

Be content. Be satisfied. Be filled with what cha’ got. Right now gets no better than right now, so you might as well enjoy it!

On the Chase,

Alisha L.