Five Tips for Finding Satisfaction in Imperfect Situations

I remember so clearly the day my husband Dino and I felt both our lowest point and at our highest point, all within minutes.

We were sitting inside our trailer at the foot of a giant dirt pile. We had decided about sixteen months prior that we wanted to build a home on some land. In the meantime, why not live in a trailer on said land with our three kids? Sounds like an adventure, right? Well, it was beyond an adventure. It was a challenge and a choice we had to make daily—to find joy in everything, in every situation, and in that in-between.

It had been raining for a few days, and Dino had just found out that the company he was working for was dissolving within weeks. We were at that point basically running out of the funds needed to build a home. We had never actually started to build—all our hard-earned money had gone into dirt work those last months. So you can imagine us sitting on our RV bed staring outside at the chaos, literally and figuratively stuck in pile of wet, sloppy mud.

We were at an all-time low. We sat on that bed and prayed together. We asked God,

“Why did You bring us here? What do we do next?”

And then something shifted in both of us. We started to thank Him. We praised Him for that trailer, for the past sixteen months and all the challenges it taught us. We thanked Him for how it brought our family closer together, and in that moment the fear started shifting into joy. We were sitting on a pile of mud, with no money and no potential of a home build, and we were happy.

That specific situation was life changing to us. As time has gone by, we’ve endured a miscarriage, heartache, loss of friendships, big moves, and health complications. We know we can sit in peace and joy with Him, through thankfulness.

From these trials, we learned how to find satisfaction in imperfect situations. Remembering these 5 things helped us:

1) God can use the sins and sadness we face, for His good and glory.

This thought has helped us so much when we face trials, knowing that not only can we overcome them with His strength, but they can be used for His Kingdom. We will face trials, but what if we rejoiced in those moments and said, “God, use me for Your glory in this, and thank You for Your goodness despite the sins of this world.”

I can’t tell you the amount of peace this brought to us when our youngest daughter was first diagnosed with a heart complications in my womb. We later found out her heart was perfect, but during the weeks after the difficult news, we sat in a place of peace with Jesus. And we thanked God for His faithfulness regardless of a fallen world. Praise Him in the valleys and praise Him on the mountains.

2) There is greater joy in giving, than in receiving.

If you’re stuck in a rut in your marriage or relationships, try shifting to a focus of servitude. We did this years ago in our marriage. It started as a fun game we like to call “The Pancake Challenge.” In our book Designed to Last we dive into how Dino and I gamified our relationship by asking the other what would make them feel most loved. Then we committed to serve each other with those things for a week.

It’s been a few years since we first started that game, and it’s now just become a beautiful habit in our lives. Sometimes we need a refresher as we are all human and it’s natural for our own selfish desires to creep in. But we’ve found it’s one of the foundations to any marriage: Laying down one’s self and serving the other.

3) Thoughts become words and words become actions.

We are constantly working on disciplining our mind to be intentional about how we think. Whether in our marriage or a job we’re not thrilled with, a boss we can barely tolerate or a rough season parenting, intentionally focusing on the good can create an upward spiral of positivity in an area of our lives. We also share more details of this in our book.

4) Grace is a huge component of feeling satisfied.

We are mere humans on this earth, all striving to do our best, and for the believer, our desire is to love Jesus and others unconditionally. But we do mess up; we fail even when we are trying our hardest. And at the end of the day, we serve a God who is gracious and quick to forgive. So no matter how big our failures, He is bigger than all of them. We need to allow room for grace in our lives.

5) Things will never fill you, only Christ can do that.

In a “treat yo’ self ” society, we are told that everything under the sun is a shiny new penny we don’t just want, but we need. Let me tell you from experience, this will not satisfy. We’ve lived in a trailer, an apartment, and different-size homes. With little in the bank and a lot. And Dino and I will wholeheartedly say that the most rewarding time in our lives was when we lived in that trailer, sitting on the pile of mud, with nothing.

We were stripped of everything, forced to overcome our challenges, and truly blessed by the abundance of joy found in… nothing. Nothing that this world could give us, at least. While it’s fun to treat your self, the reality in this world is that the things in it will never fill the void that only Christ can fill.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:28-29 NLT

If you break down a day in the life in your shoes, my shoes, your neighbors’ shoes, we all experience imperfect situations. Some more imperfect than others, some that last a day and some that last years. But don’t grow weary. We belong to the King of kings, and He sent His son to die on the cross for our sins so we don’t have to carry that burden. Give your problems to Christ, seek Him in all things with a thankful heart, and find joy daily in His goodness.

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