Tuesday, May 30, 2006

On Being Content & Worrying

“The funny thing is I’ve never felt this content in a relationship before,” a good friend said to me as she sat picking apart long greasy fries and sipping diet coke from a short straw.
“It’s scary, isn’t it?” I asked as I knowingly smiled back at her and nodded.

And it got me thinking… Why is it when a relationship finally reaches the critical stage of comfort that we begin to freak out and question everything? Why is it so easy to become discontented by contentment and doubtful when there’s no indication that we should be?

What is it that makes comfort so uncomfortable for so many people?

If there’s one thing my girl friends have in common it’s that they never want to put too much stock into anything – especially a new fling. (A Coach wallet, a Louis Vuitton purse, and a new line of Mac makeup - maybe, but never something as uncertain or potentially permanent as a relationship!) So, of course, I was surprised when one of my best friends who’d flown solo for as long as I’ve known her announced that she had since become someone's girlfriend. As do most twenty-somethings, she went through the initial stages: cautious interest, experimental flirting, and a testing of the waters so-to-speak before she dove in head first. And much to her surprise, she was actually happy. Yet while happiness was easy to relish in, it was a sense of contentment that launched a sea of red flags. (As the saying goes where women are concerned: if nothing is wrong, find something wrong.) Eventually something will go wrong along the way, won’t it? Sometimes it's easier to have faith in that -- and often safer.

For women (I can’t attest to how men think and doubt they usually can either where matters of the heart are concerned), when you reach a level of comfort in a relationship, it can only mean one of two things: you’ve either found a good thing and the feeling is mutual or you’ve seriously deluded yourself somehow along the way and are in for a crash landing. If there is one thing a girl wants to avoid like plague it’s a false sense of security – better to have none at all. Fortunately for the girl in question, it doesn’t seem she’s wandered into such territory and I think that things might very well work out as she hopes. Yet, by entertaining doubts, she’ll unnecessarily hold back somehow or fail to enjoy what she’s found as fully as she might otherwise have.

For trust to grow – like anything else – time and patience are required. Perhaps it is best to remind ourselves that those initial feelings of comfort do not always blossom into the type of contentment that can last a life-time. But we should still take heart in knowing that time will ultimately tell. I’ve learned that to a large degree in the last year.

With M, I’ve found a contentment I never thought possible – and I don’t think I quite realized just how much until I had this little chat with my friend last weekend. I’d been so busy trying to keep up with work and wedding planning that I hadn’t left myself time to worry – at least not about anything other than which reception venue to choose or which cake design I liked best. In the interim, I’d been too busy just enjoying my life with M to allow my mind to wander. For whatever reason, when I nodded my head and offered my opinion on the matter, I felt surprisingly mature and it just hit me that I was exactly where I needed to be in my life. That I was living proof that there doesn’t have to be fear in love. That things really do work together for good.

Sometimes, I think I’m too busy to realize how blessed I really am. I’m glad I took the time today…

...have you?


green said...

I try and count my blessings every day. key word: try.

And yes, you are supposed to cut and paste the "I" thing and put it on your own blog - then tag others to do the same...

Pia said...

if you know in your heart that God brought you together, then contentment and joy are next in line. i know because i married God's perfect choice for me. i'm so happy for you, dear sis. stay happy and beautiful! luv yah!

audrey` said...

Perfect love drives out fear, Nan :)

1 John 4:18

Just enjoy yourself and cherish all your blessings.
God bless you, sis :)

martie said...

Thanks for the reminder to look for my blessings! Hugs!!

Ryan S. said...

I am anxious worry-wart who always hypocritically preaches to others about the sovereignty of God, and ironically doesn't always live day-to-day as if I even believe what I espouse. I need a strengthened and renewed faith.

Tim Rice said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic. I appreciated your observations in the last couple paragraphs.

And it's neat to come to a place where one knows as you wrote, "and it just hit me that I was exactly where I needed to be in my life." That sense of peace about life or a situation is life is of great value.

Perfect love casts out fear.

Anonymous said...

Hooray! I am glad that my prayers have been (at least partially) answered. For the past three and a half years I have been so blissfully in love and I have been praying that every other person on this earth could come to know this kind of love. And you have found it with M!!!! It is amazing how I eventually (after years of terrible relationships) found the one man who truly loves me exactly as I am. I can just be, and be at peace with him, and this makes life SO MUCH FUN!!!!! I could not possibly have found him on my own, because too many things had to happen for us to meet each other - God brought us together, and after I finally realized that I stopped looking for problems that were not there and started trusting (and fully enjoying) the true security and contentment that comes from pure, true love :)

Nunzia said...

i'm really happy for you. it's so hard sometimes to understand pain from past relationships but its truly great to be able to put it in perspective and be able to understand the important step it was to get you where you are. im so glad you're there!

thebeloved said...

Thank you.