Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thursday Thinking - To Be or Not to Be Content

Whenever I get ready to write a post for Thursday Thinking I hear Gaston and LeFou of Beauty and the Beast singing:

Gaston:  “LeFou, I’m afraid I’ve been thinking . . .”
LeFou:  “A dangerous pastime . . .”
Gaston:  “I know.”
 I feel the mockery, but dangerous or not . . . here goes:


            Lately, I’ve been thinking about this quote by Neal A. Maxwell:  “It is left to each of us to balance contentment regarding what God has allotted to us in life with some divine discontent resulting from what we are in comparison to what we have the power to become.”
            Last year about this time I felt guilty that I had so many opportunities with so little responsibilities.  I had fewer worries with more time for personal interests and projects like I hadn’t had in years.  Maybe never.  I wondered, and asked, and felt impressed to “enjoy this season . . . simply enjoy it.”  And so I did.  I settled into the chair of content, and am very glad for the reserves built during that time were so helpful later in the year. 
            And yet at other times I regret not having a bigger perspective – for allowing myself to settle and be content when I should expect, give, and do more.
            That’s what I’ve been thinking about.  Where to be content and where not to be content, where should I rest and where should I run.  It’s a quandary.  “I have found that the Lord gives more instructions than explanations” (Neal A. Maxwell) and so it takes pretty careful listening . . . and thinking . . . to get those instructions right.


michelle said...

Oh, this is beautiful, Jane. I don't remember hearing that quote before. Divine discontent. What an interesting idea!

I'm glad you had those reserves built up to help you later on when things got hard. I too feel that it takes a lot of careful thinking and listening to get things right. (Most of the time I still wonder if I'm doing it!)

Jill said...

I know exactly what you mean, especially now that I'm working and have gone from a surplus of free time to far less than I'd like. I find that I'm able to be very productive in the time I end up with, but I also feel a certain discontent for all the things I'd like to be doing. I just came from a fantastic Stake Women's Conference and now feel like every free moment should be spent studying the scriptures and working on my life's purpose, so I'm definitely experiencing some Divine discontent, but in a good way.

Cali said...

Gaston, I quite enjoyed your thoughts. They made me think. I read this post out-loud to Ray. He said, "Hmmmm" afterwards. I think it made him think as well. Thank you for reminding me that life is a balance of content and just-discontent-enough. I think I'm always a little nervous about letting myself settle into the content, but can WHOLE-HEARTEDLY agree it's important. I love you. Thank you for being such a great and inspiring mom.


Deidra said...

I really appreciate this. I think one of my gifts in life is to be content. Chris and I have had several talks about not being too content (sort of like the balance between being self-reliant and giving). I shared this post with Chris last night and apparently he knew that quote but had been holding out on me. So thanks for sharing!