It’s that time of year again, Thanksgiving is behind us and Christmas is coming. In previous articles, I’ve talked about the stress of the holidays and how that affects our bodies, but this year I want to go a different route. This year I want to talk about contentment. It’s something I think is important not only when it comes to holiday gifts, but when it comes to our health and our lives as well. We don’t always get what we want, but finding contentment despite that is the key to real joy.
Contentment and joyYou may be wondering how on earth I can mention being content with multiple sclerosis. How can contentment find its way into the crippling fatigue, pain, cog-fog, numbness, and more? Let me first say that it took me a long time to find contentment in the midst of it all. But, finding contentment despite your circumstances is a beautiful thing. You see, if I always based my contentment on my circumstances, then the probability of me ever finding contentment would have been shockingly low. My contentment isn’t based on what’s going on around me at the moment though, it’s based on joy. I’ve found that being content brings me joy, and having joy helps me remain content. They go hand in hand.
A few things that have helpedMy health is only one part of my life, and while it’s brought many trials, it’s also shown me, in greater intensity, all that I do have. I love my life, MS and all, and I have many things that bring me joy. And because of the joy I’ve found, the contentment has followed. Here are a few of the things that have helped:
- Spending quality time with my family making memories.
- Focusing on all that I have, not all that I don’t.
- Focusing on all that I can do, and not all that I can’t.
- Not limiting myself.
- Not sweating the small stuff.
- Giving myself grace on the hard days.
- Finding new ways to strengthen my mind and body, and doing things I love such as writing and exercising.
- Finding hope in my faith and relying on the truth that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Life is too shortSome may think I look at my life through a color-painted lens. They may say that there’s no way to have such joy with MS. But, my joy is incredibly real. My life is wonderful. And even though MS has been a tough part of it, I’ve actually learned joy and contentment through it. It’s taught me that life is too short to allow your circumstances to skewer the view of everything that is standing right in front of you. I’ve personally watched a family member allow their pain to keep them from living, and I just refuse to let that be me. Until my body is no longer allowing me to, then I’m going to live, and I’m going to continue to embrace the little every day things that bring me joy. And I’m going to continue to smile at how God’s hand in my life has brought me contentment through the trials. I will not let my joy be defined by what has been taken away from me. Instead, I will continue to find the things that bring me my happiness, and I will cling to those. I will not expend my energy on negative talk and thoughts but instead, use it to continue to find contentment.
Always something to be thankful forI hope that this holiday season you can do the same. May you all find days of joy and contentment this year, because no matter how small, there is always something to be thankful for. Cling to those things and those moments in life that make it all worth it.
XOXO and Happy Holidays!