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George G Watts

And Then What.....? - Living Contentment

published3 months ago
2 min read

And Then What?

Hi Reader,

Welcome to Living Contentment Weekly. Here are your three contentment-related thoughts for today. Something for you to: read | do | pray


READ THIS

Alan Jacobs, distinguished professor of humanities at Baylor University (and author of How to Think - one of the best books I've read in several years), had a brilliant post I want to share with you, as it gets at one of the fundamental causes of our discontentment.

As I mentioned in earlier posts, Noah Smith wants to outsource much of the process of writing, and Derek Thompson wants to outsource his research. In other news, Marina Koren is bothered by the slowness of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and her partner wants to watch the movie at 2X speed. Perhaps he also participates in the TikTok practice of listening to songs at double-speed.

My question about all this is: And then? You rush through the writing, the researching, the watching, the listening, you’re done with it, you get it behind you — and what is in front of you? Well, death, for one thing. For the main thing.

But in the more immediate future: you’re zipping through all these experiences in order to do what, exactly? Listen to another song at double-speed? Produce a bullet-point outline of another post that AI can finish for you?

Visual artist Austin Kleon turned Jacobs thoughts into the above image, which I think I need to look at about 78 times a day.

Constantly feeling like we just need to get through whatever we're working on, is a huge source of discontentment. In a way, it's our worrying about what comes next that is the problem. We're not convinced the next thing will be OK - so we start worrying about it now

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. -Matthew 6:34

If we can stop being anxious about tomorrow, we may be able to actually enjoy today.


DO THIS

What are you rushing to get through today?
What were you rushing to get through just 5 minutes ago?
Are you trying to skim through these very words as fast as you can?

Why?

What's next?

Is there really something more important / helpful / significant that will come next?

If so - maybe just skip on to that.

If not - then question why you are frantically trying to get through things instead of just doing them.
Instead of being at peace with what you have before you now.
Instead of enjoying this moment that will never again exist.


PRAY THIS

God of peace,
Lord of rest
Giver of enough.
Help me to rest in what you have before me right now.
Give me the ability to accept where I am right now.
Show me how to enjoy what I'm doing right now.
Remind me that you have tomorrow in your hands,
that tomorrow with have enough troubles of its own.
Help me be fully present in the here and now,
not rushing on to what's next,
because I know you are already there.
Amen


Talk to you next Thursday!

~George

PS: if you missed the devotional based on Psalm 23 to start off 2023 you can grab it HERE