Contentment: finding the gold in this day

Finding the good in this day can be like panning for gold. 

My son read a story about a family who relocated to Alaska during the Gold Rush to make their fortune.  The father was full of confidence that they would find gold and be rich, and the wife came off as the (somewhat whiny) voice of reason, doubting that this plan would work. The kids were excited to go along with it, only disappointed to learn that there’s school in Alaska too. 

After weeks of following a rough but marked trail, they found a small town where other gold-seekers had recently settled.  A kind but mysterious old man taught them what equipment to buy and showed them a good place to stake their claim.  It was just a creek with dark rocks at the bottom, but they kind of glistened.  Then they learned that rather than getting started right away, they had to wait till the next season when the creek ran dry to start panning for gold. 

The mother’s voice sounded more reasonable and a little triumphant.  The father hung on to hope, but was a little less jovial about it.  The kids tromped off to school each day, completely expectant that the day for gold would come. 

Now imagine that this very day is a stream running cool and clear.  Believers in the God of the Bible can know with utmost confidence that there is gold in the stream of this day. 

In many cases, one must go to great lengths and sometimes wait for frustrating amounts of time to access it. 

You may have to sift through many unpleasant circumstances to mine out the good in this day.

But if we start with the trusting assumption that God has laid out our days ahead of time and imbedded them with good (him being a good God), we will find great riches.

   Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.

Psalm 139:16

Contentment means trusting that there is gold – long-lasting, beautiful good – in the life God has given us, even in this day, today. 

Don’t underestimate the value of:

  • A helpful conversation
  • Your encouraging words to another person
  • A new thought about God or truth
  • A small, inward victory – a temptation denied or a wise choice made
  • A quiet moment of reprieve
  • An interesting cloud in the sky
  • A hug from your loved one
  • A generous action that goes unnoticed by everyone but God

What gold can be mined from this very day?  

How to Silence Your Inner Critic

Recap of: “Silence Your Inner Critic” by Jena Pincott, Psychology Today, April 2019

We all hear voices in our heads – or at least one.

How do you talk to yourself when you’ve made a mistake? What goes through your mind when you’re trying something new or risky?

Your Inner Critic…

  • tells you you’re not good enough, insincere, stupid.
  • rises up when you feel insecure or you’ve made a mistake.

“Your Inner Critic attacks and undermines you to protect you from the shame of failure.”  

Jena Pincott
Example - You're interviewing for a new job.  

You idiot!  You totally botched that answer.
They're going to see how unprofessional you really are.  

Your inner critic is designed to protect you, but all too often it keeps you from trying new things or doing your best.

Solution: respond with a Growth-Oriented Voice

“A Growth-Oriented Voice could respond with self-compassion and forgiveness for a mistake, followed by encouragement: ‘What can you learn from this?’”

Jena Pincott

The Growth-Oriented Voice

  • must be cultivated on purpose
  • responds to inner critic with balancing comments
  • sounds like a supportive friend or comforting parent
Back to the job interview -  
You idiot!  You totally botched that answer.
Okay that wasn't so smooth, but it's the content
of your answers that matters the most.  Stay focused and you'll do fine. 

How to cultivate a Growth-Oriented Voice: (the article gave a whole bunch of suggestions, but this was my favorite)

  1. Recognize a time when your inner critic is beating you up inside
  2. Imagine yourself as a compassionate observer of you in this situation – maybe a (good) parent who sees their child suffering
  3. What would you – the good parent – say to yourself – the suffering child?
After the job interview, you're still beating yourself up - 
I totally screwed that up!  I'll never get a job if I can't make it through
an interview without stumbling all over my words.  I looked so stupid.  
The important thing is that you did your best.  Even if you don't get this job,
the experience will help you next time.  But who knows?  Maybe the interviewer
could see past your mistakes and heard the smart answers you gave.  

What does your Inner Critic say to you when you’re feeling insecure or when you’ve made a mistake? How can you respond with a Growth-Oriented Voice?

I’d love to hear your own examples in the comments!