What You Don’t Know… by Michelle Jones

Contentment does not come naturally to us.  We’re not born with it.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  We’re born restless, greedy, ungrateful and unsatisfied.  We enter the world anxious, not hoping; angry that the life we now have is nothing like what we left or what we want.

We have to learn to be content, right alongside eating with a fork and riding a bike.  When was the last time you learned something?  I don’t mean studying a thing for the sake of knowing about it, but rather learning for the sake of evolving and growing because of it.

We wake up anxious and scared because we are focused on a life that might come to us. We wake up depressed if we are focused on the life we wish we had. We regret because we are trying to hold onto the life we could have had. The key to contentment is and has always been to learn in the life you have until you have a different life in which to learn.

If you’re challenged, learn endurance and patience. If you’re poor, learn humility and frugality. If it’s raining, learn what it means to be fruitful as opposed to productive, allowing change instead of forcing results.

In the winter, the trees are naked. They look dead and incapable of doing or giving much. But so much is going on IN them. Their lives continue and they make use of their moments until spring clothes them with flowers and leaves.

If you’re in winter, learn where your roots are and how deeply they run beneath the earth. Learn that nakedness doesn’t mean you have nothing. Learn that you are still alive and breathing, thinking and capable of loving others if you choose to. Learn that you are stronger than your circumstances, more than your history, destined for something greater than the world’s expectations or your parentage, and richer than what is in your pockets. Learn those things and be transformed by them.

If you’re tired, learn how to rest while you sleep, because you’ve learned to distinguish between burdens which belong to you and burdens which don’t. Learn to exercise your spirit by living what you know, not just what you feel. Learn that gratitude is not pretending that nothing is wrong, but a declaration that you have not been defeated by it.

The life you have is not the one you will always have.  But you can do more with your moments than let the clock consume them.  You can choose to be different when you leave them behind you and reach for tomorrow.



  1. Mary Williams said,

    January 8, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Living in the moment. That is such a struggle, yet I continue to strive to do so. It is so easy to do when you are enjoying yourself, having fun per se, but when the challenges come you just want out, out, out! Imagine though, the joy in yolur heart and soul when during a time of challenge, you calmly ride out the storm, thanking God the whole way.

  2. cre8nmi said,

    January 8, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    That’s key, Mary. We don’t realize that if we can do that, we will never have to fear that particular challenge again. We come out stronger whenever we learn.

  3. Juan McGruder said,

    January 9, 2010 at 5:14 am

    Thank you Michelle. I’ve posted an excerpt from your words of encouragement on my facebook.com, myspace.com, and twitter profiles. You have a special insight and gifting to uplift and encourage. I pray 2010 opens floodgates of opportunity for you to be heard by throngs of the lost and chosen combined.

  4. Beth Adams said,

    January 10, 2010 at 7:13 am

    I just love the tree in winter analogy.

  5. mercedes said,

    January 11, 2010 at 8:12 am


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