Discontentment is the constant cobweb that is spun in my heart. Right when I think my heart is happily humming to the tune God has orchestrated… THWAP. Cobweb. Gross.
To be honest, it’s a struggle I’m ashamed of. Here I am, a child of God, who has been blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3). Yet somehow I believe that’s not good enough?
Here’s my definition of discontentment:
Discontentment is constantly looking/hoping/wishing for something else
For me, it usually stems from my situation. I wish that “tomorrow” was today. That today wasn’t like the way it is but that rather, it would be like tomorrow (but only the tomorrow that I want). Which is pretty foolish when you read:
“… yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”
– James 4:13-14 –
For others, discontentment may stem from wanting stuff, like the latest and greatest Apple product, the newest Vera Bradley pattern, or the nicest house on the block. For others, its about wanting status. Perhaps it’s wanting to be married, be one step higher on the corporate ladder, or it’s a constant and insatiable drive to “Keep up with the Joneses” (or Kardashians as the case may be).
And while there is nothing inherently evil about hoping for good things* those hopes can turn into something that create a barrier in my heart before God: idols. And that doesn’t go over well.
“You shall have no other gods before me.”
– Exodus 20:3 –
Is it wrong to want a family? To desire to be in full time ministry? To dream about owning a home? To long to live near family? No, none of those things are “wrong” desires. But none of them are guaranteed and none of those things, no matter how great, will ultimately satisfy my soul. As a follower of Christ, I’m realizing more and more that my circumstances should not hold a power over me that is greater than He who is in me.
The famous passage in Philippians that talks about contentment is one I have mulled over several times. It brings me hope because Paul reveals that contentment is learned by a constant dependence on “him who strengthens me.”
“for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content… in any and every circumstance…I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
– Philippians 4: 11-13 –
Contentment is choosing to focus on Christ over situation/stuff/status and being deeply satisfied in the riches of his grace.
Discontentment is choosing to focus on situation/stuff/status over Christ and being sorely disappointed in the empty promises of the world.
If I’m constantly chasing the horizon of my life, longing for the next season, then chances are I’m gonna miss the grace, the life, the adventure that’s right before my nose. And eventually in my vain pursuit I fall flat on my face. And it hurts.
But you know what? I need it. I need those moments where I’m on my face before the Lord, and in painful honesty and humility say:
“I think your grace isn’t enough. I think there’s something better in this life than knowing you, Jesus. I think I’m entitled to (insert idol here) and that Your job is to give that to me. Forgive me and my little faith, my little understanding. Remind me that your thoughts are not my thoughts and your ways are not my ways. Remind me of your steadfast love and your mercies that are new every morning because I’m a confused and misled mess.”
“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
– Hebrews 12:11 –
Every time I fall into a pattern of getting entangled in the sticky cobweb of discontentment, the Holy Spirit faithfully picks up the broom and sweeps it out of my weary heart. And it’s not the “humming housewife” kind of sweeping. It’s the, pound-and-twirl technique of pounding the broom into the center of the web and violently twirling it until there is no chance of remnants. I’m just giving you the heads up: He’s thorough. But He’s also faithful.
I’m not foolish enough to think that one day on earth I will have “arrived” and will never struggle with discontentment again but I am hoping that bit by bit, with every sweep of the broom, I know Christ better and desire Him more above everything else.
“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”
– 1 Thessalonians 5:24 –
What is your constant cobweb? Is there a sticky web of lies that Satan is weaving in the corners of your heart? Maybe it’s discontentment of a different kind? Doubt? Insecurity? Bitterness? Fear?
I encourage you to acknowledge it, confess it (even if it’s for the millionth time) and be amazed as the Holy Spirit produces “the peaceful fruit of righteousness” in your life with His expert (and relentless) cobweb demolition skills.
*just to clarify, I don’t think trying to keep up with the Kardashians qualifies as a “good” thing