On Being Content

For three years I dreamt of moving to Arizona. When I graduated college and found myself single, I immediately exclaimed to my roommates, “Now I can move to Arizona!” I planned and anticipated and dreamed and then it happened. I moved cross country and stepped into the life I had imagined for so long. Here I sit, in the middle of the Arizona desert, on a hot summer night, dreaming about Minnesota—the place I for so long dreamt of leaving.

Now don’t get me wrong, the journey has been sweet. I love my job, the people I’ve met, the constant sunshine and warmth, and the occasional dust storm that takes over the sky. However, there’s a piece of me that longs for greenery, endless pools of water, and the friends I’m now realizing I took for granted.

Finding community as a single 25 year old in an expansive city can be hard, especially when you’re not the girl who frequents the normal twenty-somethings scene. It takes time for people to really know you—it doesn’t happen overnight. And then there’s church, which seems to be my biggest hurdle. How in the world do you go about finding a church and is there one somewhere that offers programs for single twenty-somethings, along with a solid message? It’s always one or the other, but never both. The challenges of getting plugged in can be hard and sometimes it leaves me feeling lonely.

I’ll admit, I feel important when I go back to Minnesota and brag about the mountains, the palm trees, the sunshine, the accomplishments I’ve made at work, and the restaurants I’ve started to frequent. “Hey everyone, meet the cool, new, tan and cultured Jenna. Yeah, that’s right, I did drive myself cross country and completely uproot my life. I’m pretty grown up.” That’s the prideful me speaking.

But, if I’m to be honest, there’s still something in me that’s not totally at rest here in this wonderful city. There’s a piece of me that longs for the familiarity of home—the sounds, the smells, the people. I find myself thinking that maybe Minnesota is where I belong and maybe Arizona is just meant to be a little break from the reality I’ve always known. If I ponder it for too long, I start to get restless and begin to worry that I’m never going to get things right and that I’ll always be a wanderer.

The one thing I’m learning about myself through this journey is the fact that I struggle with being content. My entire life I have looked either behind to the past or forward to the future for my satisfaction. If only I had hung on to that moment or if only tomorrow would bring me this or that. Those are the thoughts that often run through my mind.

That’s why for three years I sat and dreamt about this new home of mine. I expected it to be the antidote to my discontentment. Instead, I find myself longing for what I once had, thinking that it perhaps was what I needed all along.

But if I’ve learned one thing in the last five months, it’s the fact that my contentment is not to be found in a place or a person or a job or a house or anything of the sort. I will always long for more if that’s where my contentment is derived. I will always be lonely and searching. My contentment, my rest, and my hope is meant to be found in Jesus. I am me no matter where I am. A new city, job and friends will change certain pieces of me, but deep down, I will still be the same Jenna with the same insecurities and feelings of discontentment. Jesus is the only one who can fully step into those pieces of me and satisfy my soul.

Jesus doesn’t change with the landscape or the tide of my fickle heart. He is constant and in Him, so too can I be.

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