A few months back, I ran into one of the 1Ls in the library. I asked him how things were going. He was busy sending out job applications. He said, “You know, I’m looking forward to securing a job. Then everything will be fine and I won’t be stressed out.”

I told him, “Maybe that’s true, but I know many of my classmates already have jobs lined up for this summer and they’re still stressed out.”

He responded, “What? Why would they be stressed out?”

I told him, “Because contentment is not determined by your circumstances. It is determined within.”

Then I walked away.

This is a common story. I know I’m guilty of it. “When I get that career, I’ll be happy. When I get that promotion, I’ll be happy. When I get that spouse or that family or that house, I’ll be happy.”

But that isn’t true. I may enjoy this new thing for a while, but the novelty will wear off. I realize that what I expected to feel is different than how I actually feel. And these things come with their own difficulties, particularly relationships.

What if I never get these things? Will I become bitter? Will I lash out and say that I was robbed of something I was entitled to have? Or will I say that it is well with my soul, to know that everything I have is freely given, to rejoice in what I have received?

I want to practice contentment, to trust in the provision of grace.

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