How To Be Content in Life When You’re Unhappy

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[Hint: It has something to do with Surrender]

It was one of those weeks….

The one where all you see are you flaws and all the ways your life could be better.

You see your premature aging wrinkles coming through, feel the extra squish between your thighs, obsess over your frayed split ends, and how all your clothes seem like they’ve been worn one too many times.

You notice your baseboards are dirty and your counter tops aren’t cutting it for you anymore. White marble is obviously the new granite.

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So like any natural Type-A person would do: you obsess, harp, and make a plan to fix it all until you’re content.

But for me, it just wasn’t cuttin’ it.

The more I obsessed, harped and planned, the more I felt like I was seeing all of my problems through a magnifying glass.

Every pimple seemed larger, every hair out of place looked like it belonged to a mongrel, every messy corner of the house was like a reality episode of “Hoarders”, and every fat roll seemed…well, fatter.

The worse it got, the more I controlled.

“Well if this plan didn’t work, let’s move on to a crazier, more restricted, obsessive plan… that should do it.”

So I scrubbed, ran, trimmed, and tidied up until my body and mind were exhausted.

I was pissed, to be frank.

Tossing and turning at night, being grumpy all day, and trying to fix it all by stiffening my grip even more.

“God, why am I so discontent? My life feels so negative. I feel like I should be happy with these blessings but all I feel is anger, bitterness, and jealousy.”

I listened and waited for a divine response….



“God! Help me fix this problems. What’s the best course of action? Paleo diet, minimalist closet, demo the house – what do you suggest?… And make it snappy, I need to get started now if I plan on being content by next month. It’s fall time and I want to make sure every inch of my life is insta-worthy and ready for PSL sweater pics.”

But still, crickets.

As I tapped my foot waiting for a response, it dawned on me:

What if I try surrendering my plans, outcomes, and my desire behind wanting these things?

But logic hit and I thought:

“That’s crazy, Sam – maintain control and it’ll all work out. Will your way harder and harder into success. Just make no mistakes this time, k?”

I knew this would be exhausting so I figured I’d give myself a day to try this “surrender” thing so that my brain could rest up and I could gear up to start my next big idea tomorrow.

But when the next day came around, I felt a little lighter.

Mentally and even physically.

I noticed that I didn’t mind my dirty baseboards as much, I was  kinda happy with my natural bed head, and even the squish between my thighs seemed a little less… squishy.

And it was almost like a literal weight was lifted.

Now, did I drop 10 pounds, hire a maid, and get a haircut over night?


But I did make these things less important and chose to focus on them a little less.

And then I realized…. that was God responding to me.

Maybe He didn’t send a pigeon to hand-deliver a set of instructions – because let’s be honest, does He ever?

But He did place it on my heart to release what I was gripping to.

He loved me enough to NOT let me be satisfied in anything but Him.

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I never really grasped the logical practicality of “surrendering” all to God.

I always questioned, how would that be beneficial? How would surrendering quite literally change my circumstances? I wanted to see the proof first before I was willing to budge.

But God doesn’t necessarily work that way – So, I just never did it.

I was walking by sight, not faith – resisting since I didn’t know how surrendering to God would change my circumstances.

And after 15+ years of being a Christian, for the first time, I felt like it finally hit me how He does it: “duh, through the holy spirit.”

When we trust God, He doesn’t always instantaneously change our circumstances, but when we invite Him in to come and change our hearts – and their motives – He always does.

He changes them to be satisfied in the midst of chaos or uncertainty.

Which often times, can even end up leading to physical circumstantial changes.

I like to think of it as having 2 routes to walk through life:

  • The first being: walking through a fun house with the distorted mirrors. Where you see yourself and your surroundings in a skewed way. Nothing seems right and no matter how many mirrors you run to, it may look different than the last, but it’s still never an accurate portrayal. It’s basically like living your life believing a lie.

gym selfie positive smile happy

  • The second route being: walking through life with rose colored glasses. Where there’s a flicker of hope in every darkness, and you hear the truth a little louder than you hear the lies. Rose colored glasses let you see past the fog and focus on the horizon.

You see: the only guarantee in both of these routes is that your life and circumstances are the exact same – but your heart and your view can either be one of hope or one of hopelessness.

For us practical people, you may be wondering:

But What Does Surrender Look Like?

Obviously, this is different for everybody, but I’ve learned that:

  1. Obeying His commands – and just showing up and stewarding these areas of my life the way He’s called me to is the best place to start.
  2. And to make knowing & glorifying Him my first priority.
  3. And lastly, letting Him have control of the outcome of your obedience.

We’re not in charge of the results, but we have control over how we show up.

Are you all in with God? Or are you still trying to be in charge when the going get rough?

God never promised us easy. He never said we wouldn’t walk through hills and valleys alike, but He did (and does) promise to walk with us if we want. To grab our hand and restore our minds daily, with rose colored glasses.

Do you feel like you’re seeing life through a distorted view?

Give God the invitation to come in and lead you out of the Carnival mirrors.

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Life comes first – and blogging falls in line somewhere after that – so sometimes I share what’s on my heart on Facebook and Instagram, and occasionally through email (mostly just a random life/blog update or some extra soul encouragement).

One thought on “How To Be Content in Life When You’re Unhappy

  1. Love you! Such a great writer and a partner in the harvest field! Keep the Holy SPirit on fire, sis! Xoxo.


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