My summer’s journey with discontent. My better today.

August 30, 2015 • Filed under:

We dishonor Christ when we proclaim a Savior who satisfies…but live in discontent.
Glenn Underhill

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I am a dreamer.

I think outside the box.

I am prone to get lost in thought about all I wish I could do for God and what kind of life I want to live for Him.

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As my husband and I have been considering down-sizing our home, a window in my mind has opened for considering a lifestyle change as well. I have been thinking wild thoughts that include:
• Sell everything and move to Thailand to work with a ministry I admire.
• Sell everything and move across country to work with a church I admire.
• Move to another state and start over from scratch, disassociated from the expectations and influences of our current home town.
• Become a foster care parent instead of a foster-to-adopt parent.
• Get a new job where I can talk about Jesus more readily.

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Everything in my life seems to be up for grabs — an opportunity to change — and it’s been hard to live the life I already have. This summer I was struggling with…
• the job I have that subjects me to rush hour time-wasting traffic and provides a paycheck that makes me feel under-valued.
• the reality of needing to stay in this state so our college-aged kids can maintain in-state tuition.
• the gap between what I dream to do for God and my reality.

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I was struggling with feeling trapped.

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One morning in June while I was praying on my way to work, I asked God, “Am I discontent, or are You stirring my heart with godly desires that I am supposed to follow? Please show me.”

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That next Sunday, as God would have it, the sermon at church was based on Philippians 4:10-13, …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 everything through him who gives me strength.  (Philippians 4:11-13)

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Glenn Underhill, our discipleship pastor, began with the question, “Have you ever dreamed for X, but got Y?”

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I am certain every person answered mentally with a resounding, “Yes.” I also knew I was in trouble because this sermon was going to directly relate to what I had been asking God in prayer.

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Glenn focused on the reality that Paul had learned how to be content. Discontent is common to us all, a default response whenever we are disappointed. We in the audience were asked to complete the following sentence: I would be content if….

I completed the blank with, “…I was living for Jesus.” By that phrase, I meant having a lifestyle that is more “out there” for Him. I want to be spending my life for Jesus in a more demonstrative way than I am able to do so at this time.
And then I wrote down my ah-ha moment…

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I am defining what I want “living for Jesus” to look like, but the definition of what “living for Jesus” looks like belongs to God, not me.

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Turns out, God’s answer to my prayer on the way to work this summer was yes to both questions. Yes, I have been discontent no matter how godly my desires are. And yes, God is stirring my heart for His purposes. However, though change may indeed be in my future, I can’t let my present circumstances produce discontent in me TODAY.

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Today, this is the life I have, and it demands all of me. This is my husband…the head of our home. These are my children who attend college in our state and need in-state tuition. Our elementary-aged son needs my help with homework and needs me at home every evening. My job is a gift and where I am to serve God today. The church I attend is where I am now and they are who I am to serve and love.

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Because of this wrestling with discontent, I looked at the areas in which I felt trapped and instead of doing nothing, did something.

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I can’t be regularly involved in the women’s ministry at our church at this time because of my job and husband’s work schedule…but I can host a Bible Study in my home. So I did.

That’s something.

I can’t quit my job at this time but I can be more transparent at work about my faith while still following guidelines that I need to honor.

That’s something.

My husband and I still don’t have any options for adopting a boy from the foster care system even though our home has been open for four years…so we started doing respite care while waiting for a possible son.

That’s something.

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We all have legitimate excuses that limit our ability to live a dream but I realized I had slipped into an all-or-nothing mentality.

But not now. All because Glenn’s message about Philippians 4:11-13 spoke to my heart.

I responded. I did something. I am better.

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Today it’s the end of August. It’s been a great summer between God and me. I am taking progressive steps toward a dream but doing so while still serving God contentedly in the life I already have.

If  “living for Jesus” is to be re-written, God needs to be the Author, not my discontent.

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The Hawaiian theme this week was supplied by new neighbors who opened their home to a family-oriented birthday party for their son.  What brightness they have brought to our community. I told the hostess, “You have made us a neighborhood again.” By that I meant that people in the subdivision are talking with each other again. Catching up. Conversing. Being friends.

What an influence one home in a community can have on the whole.

I have to do some more thinking about that…

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