Contentment, Fear, Perspective

Settle: 4 Thoughts for When We Want More

Picture of snow-covered mountains with rooftops in the foreground, settling for what we can get

@JeanneTakenaka

We’d no sooner lugged all our stuff into the hotel room and the boys were plugged into their devices. Hubs made some coffee, but I . . . I yearned to grab my camera and snap some pictures of the amazing mountain views across the highway. 

I walked up the road, my eyes riveted by the snow-covered peaks. I kept searching for the perfect angle, but always there were wires or buildings or cars making the scene less than what I wanted to convey. 

Photo of pretty mountains but with wires running across the picture and a garage in the foreground of the picture, settling for what we can get

I kneeled, trying to avoid the wires, but still, there were less-than-perfect elements. I wanted more. I was almost resigned to settling for what I could get and preparing to crop the distracting elements from the shots. 

Isn’t that how we approach things we want sometimes? Whether it’s the pursuit of a dream, improving some aspect of our character, or trying to attain something our heart desires? We look for the best right where we are, hoping we’re going to find that perfect . . . something. 

And always, it’s less than the whole picture we envisioned. 

It feels easier to settle for “good enough” for a number of reasons.

Golden cattails in the foreground with a farm and mountains in the background, seeing more beauty

Maybe we’re afraid that’s the best God has for us. At times I’ve believed God’s best was what I saw right before me. Infertility. I yearned for a baby, but God hadn’t given it. Was He telling me that wasn’t His plan and that what I had was it? 

It’s challenging to know when we should be content with what we have and when God has more for us. He wants us to seek Him. God wants to conform us into the image of His Son. This often requires a painful dying to self so we can better reflect Him.

A large tree near a pathway blocking the Mountain View...we have to move beyond the obstacles in our thoughts toward what God has for us

God only gives us what’s best for us. And if He hasn’t given it, then it wasn’t what was best. Again, this can be hard to grapple with when heart desires go unfulfilled.

Sometimes we may yearn for something that truly isn’t God’s best for us. Has He ever tried to open our eyes to see life differently, to see His best for us? For our family, that included adoption. It was a different version of the heart desire for children fulfilled. 

Sometimes, we must choose to trust God in the middle of the not having. And we look for the beauty—the contentment—in the place where we are.

Maybe we’ve attempted before and we’re gun-shy about trying again. I’ve worked toward publication for almost ten years. I’ve entered writing contests, I’ve submitted my work to an agent, to editors, and they’ve said, “Thanks . . . but, no.” 

It’s scary to put ourselves out there again, exposing ourselves to the possibility of another rejection.

We need to seek God, to ask Him if we should try again. We should check our motives and make sure they’re right before God. If He says, “Try again,” we need to step out, trusting that He’s got us, regardless of the result. 

A pathway lined by barren trees, we must choose to walk the path God invites us to

Maybe hoping for more feels too hard, too risky, too painful. When fear dictates our decisions, we’ll stay stuck. Rejection, pain, risks that didn’t pay off can be hard to move beyond. We come to a place in the path where we must choose. Are we going to step forward, or are we going to stay put? 

Staying put never satisfies. Though our hearts may feel safe for a little while, we’ll eventually wonder, “What would have happened if I’d stepped into the unknown?” Regret can be more painful to live with than knowing we tried and failed and tried again.

We need to trust the Lord to give us some brave to step into the unknown.

And maybe, if we keep walking a little further, pressing into the Lord a little longer, He’ll bring those heart yearnings into reality.

A beautiful view of the mountains with a stream and trees in the foreground

As I continued walking along the highway, I found a crosswalk and on the other side what looked like a dirt path leading between a hotel and a car dealership. Once I passed the buildings, the view opened up. The sun glimmered on the snowy peaks. Farmland and trees lay beyond the small bridge over a rolling creek. 

And I found the unfettered views I’d yearned for. I snapped a lot of pictures, found a small rock-strewn path near the creek to stroll along, and my heart breathed deep. 

A path with a walking bridge and beyond it the view of the mountains, an invitation to trust God to give us His best

When there’s a yearning in our souls, we need to not settle for “good enough.” Instead, let’s keep pressing into the Lord, keep moving forward with Him, and give Him the space to do the work He yearns to do in us. 

What about you? When have you allowed fear to have the upper hand in your decisions? When have you seen God do more than you expected in your life?

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27 thoughts on “Settle: 4 Thoughts for When We Want More”

  1. I took WAAAY fewer pictures than I thought I would on our trip to your beautiful state because my lens just could not do the scene justice. I didn’t want to settle for a wimpy picture of a majestic view. And that’s such a great metaphor for the rest of life, Jeanne. Thanks for this lovely post.

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  2. This so beautiful, Jeanne—both the photos and the words. I let fear of rejection keep me huddled in the hotel room drinking coffee when I could be out and about drinking in the beauty. I let my emotions (often unreasonable ones) decide I should settle instead of pray about the situation. Thank you for your words today.

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  3. This is beautiful, Jeanne. I can relate to this post in every way, the need to get out for a shot at the beauty, the desire to do better, the disappointment, the fear. I often get frustrated with my drives, ambitions and desires. You made me realize that it might be God who draws me deeper and higher into His will and who wants me to leave my fears. THANK YOU! You have blessed me today.

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    1. Heidi, I love your “processing” here. I believe sometimes God invites us to go deeper with Him through the callings and dreams He gives us, but it often requires us to step beyond our fears and our comfort zones to trust Him. I’m so glad you enjoyed this post!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a beautiful post in both photo and words. Thank you for sharing them both, Jeanne, as they blessed me this morning!

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  5. “Sometimes, we must choose to trust God in the middle of the not having. And we look for the beauty—the contentment—in the place where we are.” I think this is so true. We think we know what beauty is – a person, a view, a piece of art, a lovely home. But real and lasting beauty is found God and resting in his love, provision and protection. This is a steadfast, constant, unwavering beauty that we can find and feel even in the midst of chaos, adversity, sorrow.

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  6. Lovely pictures Jeanne. Being content in the present can be tough but when holding a camera in my hand, searching the scenes before me, helps! My life verse is I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Phil 3:14 and life song by Building 429, I Press On. Thanks for this reminder that God call us to press on to get to know Him and be with Him, and then everything we do here comes back into perspective, calming our fears.

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    1. Lynn, you have some great cornerstones to keep you walking close with the Lord. That verse is so good, and Building 429 is one of my favorite groups. It is interesting how having a camera in our hands or inspiration flowing through our fingers to the screen helps us to process and choose contentment where we are. I love your words today!!

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  7. All horizons go to black,
    and no stars shine overhead.
    I cannot be turning back,
    and must go on until I’m dead,
    but in the dark cold desolation
    there is a spark too small to see,
    one that fanned can bring elation,
    that may light the victory.
    It’s that for which I’m glad to settle,
    hope that faint hope may exist
    if I keep on to prove my mettle,
    and do not in pride resist
    the searing of refiner’s fire;
    within whose sparks soul rises higher.

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    1. This is beautiful, Andrew. I have been praying for you, friend. There is always hope when we place our hope in our heavenly Father. Do keep on. Do allow the Lord to refine you. Do rest in truth that He delights in you.

      Gentle hugs, friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. As always, your photos are awesome, Jeanne. I so identify with capturing the right photo. Sometimes I don’t like any man-made things in the way. Especially those wires or houses that are blocking the view. This is such a great analogy. I’m afraid I have far too often let fear hinder steps forward. I just mentioned to my sister the other day how much I regret not knowing how to play piano. When we were children, our mom brought us to lessons. But the teacher once slapped me. I was so young that I don’t remember if it was my hands or my feelings she slapped. I was always so sensitive. I went home crying and my mom didn’t make me return. And later, because of abuse and also of deep rejections, fear really wrapped those chains around me. But the more I am learning of Jesus’ love, the more He shows me that His perfect love has the power to cast out all fear. 🙂 I’m a work in progress, however. I love how patient He is with us, don’t you? Thank you for such an inspirational post! Also for the free ebook! Love and blessings to you!

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    1. Trudy, thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing your tender heart here. Rejection and abuse can definitely color how we see ourselves and the things God places on our hearts. You are a beautiful work in progress. And I’m with you…so grateful for His patience! Keep seeking our Father, sweet friend. Keep your mind set on things above. And maybe it’s not too late to begin learning to play the piano…. Love and blessings back!

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      1. I just downloaded and read the first devotion of your ebook, Jeanne. Thank you so much! Yes, truly His loving kindnesses toward us will never run out. 🙂 I love that you share your beautiful photos with each verse. Hugs!

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  9. Your photos are beautiful, Jeanne – such stunning views! And I love the lesson you draw out from the process of trying to capture the perfect photo. It is an interesting tension between knowing when to be content with what we have and when to keep seeking more. I definitely want to keep moving forward and not to settle for less when God has something greater in store!

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    1. Thanks so much, Lesley. 🙂 It’s interesting to discover the things God can show us if we attune our hearts toward Him, isn’t it? And yes, knowing when to be content and when to seek after more is an interesting tension. I guess that is why it always comes down to praying and seeking God’s plans for us.

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  10. Great thoughts! There’s no need for us to settle. The Lord can provide, and he will provide what is best for us. Keep walking up the road until the view opens up, revealing all the beauty that he has planned. An excellent post, Jeanne.

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    1. Melinda, sometimes it seems easier to settle, but it’s rarely God’s best for us, is it? We keep seeking Him and opening our eyes and hearts to what He has for us. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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