Thoughts from an MRI Machine: On Finding Contentment

Faith Tayler Beede February 20, 2019

I recently had my seventh brain MRI in the past five years, and though you’d think I’d be used to them by now, they always scare the ever living heck out of me.

And it’s not the loud noises, or the fact that my head is locked into a metal cage and I’m not allowed to move for 40 minutes.

It’s that in an instant, the results of this simple test could change the course of my life. That there’s a radiologist on the other side of the wall who seemingly gets to determine my fate before I even know of it.

They forgot to put music on in my headphones, and I didn’t feel like squeezing my emergency button and starting over, so I was alone with my thoughts (and the blaring noises of an MRI machine).

I thought about how much I love my boys, and how I just wanted good news so I could go home and love them to the best of my ability. I pondered on how they literally depend on me for everything and I want to be here for them whenever they need me.

I realized how thankful I am for my cozy, warm house and how much I just wanted to be done and go home to it. I thanked God for my kind and patient husband that I started dating at the young age of 16. The one who was waiting in the car with our cranky baby who only wanted mama that day. I told myself that if I could just get a health report, I could go home and be thankful for everything I have.

But I am not, and was not, naive.

I knew that discontentment would creep back into my heart at some point. That I’d see someone who made me feel jealous. That I’d take literally every good thing I have for granted at one point or another.

I think it’s extra hard in a time where everything we don’t have is constantly plastered in front of us. And that might be different for everyone: sales on all those clothing items we “need”, happy engagement and pregnancy announcement pictures, perfectly decorated houses on Instagram, beautiful parties that we weren’t invited to.

Signs everywhere that say, “you aren’t enough,” “you don’t do enough,” “you try too hard,” “they don’t like you.”

It’s so, so, so hard to stay content amidst a world full of things we want and yet think we need.

But the scary truth is that we could have every single thing we wish for today, and probably still be discontent about something tomorrow.

We could tell ourselves that we’re going to be grateful, but we’d still feel ungratefulness creep into our hearts. We could say it’s because of social media, and cut it out of our lives, but we probably still wouldn’t feel completely content.

Because it’s not solely a technological issue, it’s a heart issue. And our hearts were not made to be contented by this world.

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” —Philippians 3:8

I could give you a list of “5 ways to find contentment,” but really it boils down to this:

When you feel discontentment creeping in, constantly reign yourself in and remind yourself that your relationship with Jesus is the only place you’ll ever find true contentment. 

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” —Philippians 4:7

Because I think that’s what it came down to when I was lying in a sterile MRI machine in a hospital gown.

I realized that I desperately need these reminders to be grateful—and I thought you might too.

Everything was stripped down and I was forced to ponder on the immense blessings God has given to me, his deep love for me, and the fact that when it comes down to it, I don’t need anything else.

And believe me when I say you. don’t. either.

Because in him, you are enough, you do enough, you have enough, and you’re loved enough.

And that’s just about all that matters.