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Contentment: A Lesson in the Movies

I purposely set out to watch the movie Encanto. It's a kids flick about a girl living in a household where her family members have magical powers but she has none. Okay, so let me say this. Ya'll religiously deep people may want to go ahead and skip this blog.

In the movie, the young girl is sad and over compensating because she doesn't measure up to her family. Although her parents tell her that she is enough, she feels left out. Have you ever been in the midst of people and still felt alone? Throughout the movie, she goes off trying to solve a great problem by herself. I won't give details in case you feel the need to watch the movie. If you can see beyond the magic in it, you may just see yourself. I did.

There have been times in my life where I thought I had to solve all my issues on my own. Times when I thought that if I didn't have the answer, something was wrong with me. If I couldn't solve the problem, I was less than. I understood where this girl was coming from because in her I saw me. I saw a girl wanting to belong and although she was invited to the group, she still felt as if she was on the outside because she didn't have what others had. Have you ever felt like you didn't quite measure up?

I watched one of my good friends, Elder Gloria Jackson, teach on contentment a few minutes ago. This little girl and I were missing the essence of Philippians 4:11 "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances". This doesn't mean that I cannot strive for more. This doesn't mean that I cannot push to be more. But it does say that I need to accept the circumstances that I'm in, learn from them and trust that God is in the midst of them. I have to trust that God is up to something. Now, understand, that the circumstances don't mean that I have to stay in abusive relationships. Circumstances here mean those storms that God ordained for us to go through. There will be seasons when you will feel alone even among friends. There will be seasons where your finances aren't where you want them to be. Seasons where your relationships don't match your white picket fence dream where everything is perfect. Seasons where you battle to get up and go to work and stay there. These are the circumstances that we need to learn to sit back and trust that the God we serve is in control and up to something.

When we are not content, when our trust lies within ourselves and not with God, we often overcompensate. We try all that we can to fit in. What if we were made to stand out? I read this book recently where the heroine (yes, it was a romance novel) walked to the beat of her own drum. It frustrated the hero and all others in her circle. Yet, she didn't amend the foundation, the essence of her to be what they thought she should be. In being her genuine self, she was content. When we learn to love ourselves for ourselves including everything that we think is wrong with us, we'll see that we were made to stand out. Sometimes being the black sheep ain't so bad.

My cousin Daryl calls me Puerto Rican. He means no disrespect in it and I take it as a compliment. I did't understand at first and he broke it down to me this way. You are one of us but you're not. When I looked at him as if he lost his mind, he went onto explain how Puerto Ricans are like black people but they aren't black people but they share a lot of the same similarities as black people. Meaning, I was like my family, sharing the same foundation, but I act different from the family. I'm the same but different. This is how this girl was in Encanto. The same as her family - special - but different - without magical powers. A black sheep yet still a sheep. (To those of Puerto Rican heritage, neither I nor my cousin mean any disrespect and hope you understand the meaning behind the nickname.)

I say all of this to say, stop worrying about today. About the problems that come and go. If they are weighing you down too much, seek help. Mental health is serious and shouldn't be ignored. Along the journey, remember this:

"So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?" (Matthew 6:25-30 NKJV)

Be A Blessing and Not Just Blessed

- Nakya

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