the grace of discontent

This post was first shared as issue 2 of These Sacred Words

The words I’m sharing today feel especially pressing and urgent.

They feel especially near to my heart, which makes me a little more nervous than usual to post them, but also makes me think that maybe, just maybe, what I share will resonate with you too.

Regardless, these are the words my soul needs to hear right now, so here we go.

Maybe it’s the season I’m in now, but life feels especially uncomfortable lately. As much as I try to fight for joy, discontentment seems to continually rear its ugly head in my heart. It feels like the things I am praying and striving for most, God has chosen to keep just out of reach.

As we think through church planting plans, as I struggle to maintain sanity working too many jobs, as we pray through starting a family, as we consider the exorbitant housing prices in Colorado, as we wrestle through physical and mental health issues…

financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually…life right now just seems to be far from perfect in so many ways.

I know that God is good and we are blessed with so much, but my rebellious mind continually swims with ways my life could be better.

My heart tends towards discontent.

I try to have quiet time alone with the Lord to wrestle through these things, but my soul won’t still. So I sit for just a few more seconds, say a quick prayer, and move on with my day. Maybe an answer would come if I lingered longer, but the silence feels too scary. Too uncomfortable.

Maybe you’ve been here too?

But I wonder, what would we find if we pressed into that discomfort? 

In the mornings, what if we sat in the silence for just a little longer to wait for the voice of God? What if we resisted the urge to look at our phones and instead struggled through that difficult Bible passage? 

What if we allowed uncertainty to remain without trying to figure it all out? What if we looked at the not-yet-perfect areas of our life and said, “This is beautiful too”?

Because if I really think about it, I realize that it’s precisely when our souls are in this place of discomfort and discontent, this place of not-quite-right-yet…that we are stretched and molded, that our trust in God is grown.

Honestly there will always be something to be discontent about. Our church plant will never be perfect. There will always be more work to be done. Even when we are able to start a family, that will come with its own beautiful brokenness. There will never be “enough” money. Our bodies will always be continually deteriorating.

As soon as we perfect or achieve one thing, there will be one more thing to be discontent with. 

And as true as these realities are, my rebellious heart does not want to believe them. Call it what you will. Type A. Enneagram 9 with a too-strong 1 wing. I hate when things feel incomplete or imperfect. I want the full picture. I want the perfect version. I want completeness. I want to know the whole story. I want resolution. I want all these things to work out (any of this sound familiar?).

But it’s here that I realize how small and egocentric my world has become.

My perspective has shrunk to see only my desires and dreams. Somewhere in my wanting and my discontent I have missed God’s ultimate and glorious picture. I have missed the truth that his ways are higher than mine and that the only thing I can truly find contentment in on this side of heaven is the ultimate resolution and redemption secured through Christ.

This is the true completeness and perfection.

So finally…in the end. All those ways that life seems less than perfect…all those not-quite-right things I wish I could change…all those reasons I have to be uncomfortable and discontent…I finally see that they are exactly the things that the Lord has seen fit to give me. I see them as actually being beautiful gifts from a good God who knows the story so much better than I do.

And I hope you see it too.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8-9

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