Every once in a while, I experience contentment that is simple and pure. It settles into my being and I relax with a sense of certainty that all is well in the world. And it starts with the distinct fragrance of cleaning products.
You read that correctly. I’m easy to please. Once a month I am fortunate to have a lovely woman clean my house better than I could, even if I spent two entire days doing nothing else. But every so often it gets even better than that.
When the stars align and I have the foresight and time to plan accordingly, I manage to have my laundry done, and a full refrigerator and pantry full of food for the week as well.
It doesn’t happen often, but whenever I come home from work to that smell, knowing full well that laundry baskets are empty and the shopping list on the fridge is blank, I feel calm and content.
I can look forward to dinners that have all the necessary components just waiting for assembly instead of knowing that either my husband or I will be stopping at the grocery store on our way home from work as we plan meals on the fly.
I can look forward to an evening without eyes that pointedly avoid looking at the animal hair on the floors, full waste baskets in the bathrooms, or a cooktop that has evidence of last night’s dinner.
I can look forward to getting into bed without having to plan my work outfit for the next day based on what is clean and what isn’t.
It’s my household trifecta.
Experiencing the trifecta imparts a sense of calm probably rooted in a belief that I got this. I can work and have a home that runs smoothly. I’m aware that it’s an illusion, but for just a little while I like to indulge in the fantasy that I can do it all, even if it means a getting a little help once a month.
I started to think about whether I had a trifecta for other situations and just never realized it. For example, what would be my trifecta for the perfect job? Maybe work I enjoy doing, the ability to make a difference and a decent salary? Check.
A trifecta for a best friend? Shared interests, an open heart, and someone I can trust to give me honest and wise counsel? Check several times over.
A trifecta for feeling good about my body? Being a healthy weight, having a recent hair cut and color, and a mani-pedi without chips or sheet marks? No check there. This trifecta is about as rare as my household trifecta.
A trifecta for a good marriage? Since this is my second marriage you’d think I had this one down pat. I don’t. I used to think it was chemistry, shared interests and someone I can trust. Then I became a believer and that criteria took the top spot. Financial stability and security asks for a place in the top three, but then again, if I’m truly relying on God to provide for my needs, then maybe I can let that one go. Maybe. The ability to communicate should be up there too, but what should it bump? You see the struggle.
Knowing your trifecta in any area is a glimpse into your values and priorities. Identifying your trifecta can help clarify your needs.
Notice that ironing does not appear in my household trifecta. I don’t care as much about ironing as I probably should. If I can get away with it, I’d rather throw a shirt into the dryer with a tennis ball than drag out the iron and ironing board to de-wrinkle it the conventional way.
I shy away from buying clothes that need to be ironed because I don’t want to do it, and frankly, don’t care if I leave the house looking like I slept in my clothes. I secretly hope the heat of my body smoothes out the creases as I move. Please don’t tell me that can’t happen.
Maybe trifectas don’t’ really matter at all. In fact, the apostle Paul tells us that he learned to be content no matter what happened in his life:
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
The ultimate trifecta is the trinity. In God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit we have everything we need for every circumstance. Every circumstance.
That means when the cats throw up yet again on the carpet, or we run out of milk, or someone hurts my feelings, I can be content. I can be calm. I can even be grateful. Because I get to be blessed, guided, supported and comforted by the ultimate trifecta every single day. No matter what happens.
Being rooted in the trinity assures that I don’t have to have everything the way I want it before I can be happy.
Being rooted in the trinity reminds me that I’m not in control. Circumstances will change and people will let you down, but God won’t do either. And there’s where my contentment should come from.
Whenever I tell myself “I’ve got this”, I’m relying on myself when I should be telling myself “God’s got this” much more often.
The trifecta of the trinity renders all the others meaningless and is the only one I always have.
And that’s something I can bet on.
But the smell of bleach is still wonderful to come home to once in a while.