From time to time, I find complaints creeping into my mind.
Why isn’t my internet connection faster?
If a microwave can cook something in thirty seconds, why not 20? (Hence office microwave ovens with 4 seconds left on the clock. It is where impatience grabbed the person who last used it.)
My own personal favorite: red lights. Why don’t lights turn when no one is coming on cross streets? Why can’t we fix traffic signals if men could go to the moon?
But all are the symptoms of a deeper disease: expectations.
We expect the world to work the way it should. In fact, most of us “should all over ourselves.” As I helped people use computers, one common complaint was, “I don’t want it to work that way.”
Others have different preferences. Others give up their wants for you to get yours. And you give up the same for them. Both must sacrifice. Truthfully, they feel the same. Yet, we cannot have life as we want it to work.
When should clouds my thinking, I have to stop and ask a question. What would it have been like 20 years ago? Fifty years ago? One hundred years?
The computer I am writing this post on did not exist 45 years ago. I pecked away on typewriters and erased off onion paper.
My grandmother had a washing machine with a wringer. I have to put up with a state-of-the-art dryer.
As a boy, we had three channels on a black-and-white Zenith TV.
We had no email, text, or instant messaging. Letters took stamps…and time.
We have forgotten to notice the blessings of life. We only see a burden born of convenience. If the internet is slow…remember you have something your parents did not have. If streaming doesn’t work, it did not exist twenty years ago.
The apostle Paul understood the antidote to life’s “shoulds.”
He was more than inconvenienced. He was a prisoner held in chains. He lost his freedom and had to shelve his plans. Yet, he did not grumble or complain.
He told the Philippians, while in his own desperate circumstances:
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” (Philippians 4:11–12, ESV)
His term “content” meant “enough.” He knew when the Lord had given him enough. When you have enough, you do not yearn for more. You lower your expectations and accept what you have is “enough.”
When your expectations whisper discontent in your ear, do you have enough? Start your sentence with “at least I have…” and fill in the blank with whatever irritates you.
It will provide you the peace only “enough” can give.