One of my favorite movies is the Jack Nicholson-Helen Hunt flick As Good As It Gets. I love it not just because of the quirky characters that populate the movie but because of its message of finding joy, beauty, and meaning in the midst of ongoing life struggles. For me, finding contentment—true joy in all things—has been a continual challenge. I desire an abundant life. And sometimes when circumstances don't look and feel "abundant," life feels less than.
The first time I faced the decision of whether to choose joy or wallow in discontentment because my desires weren't being met was early in my marriage. My husband and I had been facing what felt like a never-ending financial struggle that went from bad to worse. I remember sitting alone in church one day, pouring out my heart to God and finally confronting the question that was really lurking behind all my fears: If this was as good as it would ever get for us, would it be enough? Would I still be able to find joy in spite of unmet hopes and dreams?
At that moment, my mind was flooded with a realization of all the blessings I had accrued over the years, both long-ago and present-day. Rehearsing all I had to be grateful for went a long way toward answering my question. With a resounding "Yes!" I knew that no matter how our circumstances changed, a life with my husband, Dan—whether it meant good times or bad—would be enough. And I knew for certain it would be God who would provide everything I needed in life in exactly the right measure and at the right time.1