Words will fail me to articulate this thought, but I'm going to try...
One of the virtues that I aspire to most is contentment (see my simple life and inventory control). I want to be thankful for what I have, not always longing for more time, clothes, space, money. I work at and pray for contentment in my selfish self and covetous kids on a daily basis. It's one of the few things I do every day, actually!
And yet I find myself thwarted, or at least torn, by the presence of discontentment. No, not just that I want "more", but that in some situations, an attitude of discontent seems to be a powerful necessity. Maybe a better word for it is "ambition".
Discontent - or ambition - is a powerful driving force. It drives entrepreneurs to make something better, doctors to find a cure, educators to teach a new generation in a different way. Ambition for a better job in five years drives me to go above and beyond at work now. I dream about teaching in third world countries, or writing a book about marriage and more, or working on education reform in America. I will not come close to any of those if I sit here contentedly on my butt.
I admire those who live content with their home, family, and job. But I also admire those who have worked tirelessly for reform in medicine, education, even church - never content to settle for the status quo.
How do I go about pursuing contentment, and yet act on my ambitions at the same time?
What's the balance???
(Those aren't rhetorical questions - I really want answers!)