Recently God has been speaking to me about this very subject and the dangers of discontentment, including its ability to spread like a wildfire and invading all parts of our lives even affecting the very call of God on our lives.
Six or so years ago God spoke to Peter and me about selling our large, brand new, heavily mortgaged, renovated home. We felt strongly at the time there was a call on our lives to be debt free to be able to do kingdom work – whatever that looked like we were ready to go! The move was exciting and challenging but knowing that we were trusting God to supply us with a home within a budget was elating. Eventually He did provide us with a lovely, comfortable home.
It was an exhilarating time in our lives – we were walking in the will of God and even though it came with a cost, it felt good. I am not saying that I didn’t whinge or find the change hard at times, but deep down I was content in the knowledge that we had been obedient – we were in His will.
During those first few years we saw God move in ways that not only blessed us but those around us. We were able to start a charity, have people live with us and even take our family on a holiday. We felt the smile of God on our lives in an incredible way.
But how things changed….
A few years on I was staying with some friends. As I listened to their story, I became discontent with my own story – I felt ripped off!
They got the big grand home, I sold the big grand home – in my mind I got the dumpy home in the forest and so the comparisons began.
When I returned home from that visit, I didn’t give the conversation much more thought. But a little seed had been sown in my heart and the very house that I once looked upon as a gift from God began to be a burden. I wanted to make changes to my home and did, ‘to make it more functional’ but the reality was that I was actually trying to make it more acceptable. The changes made me content and happy – for a few months anyway!
As time passed I needed more changes – I had become obsessed with the house and what it looked like and I was growing in my discontent. The dissatisfaction I was feeling began to bleed into other areas of my life. I once saw my life, marriage, family and house as a gift from God but now it had become the centre of my unhappiness. Why was I so unhappy and angry? I couldn’t work it out. What was going on?
Not being bathed in prayer or scripture during this time created a spiritual laziness in me.
I had to come to terms with what had happened months early while staying with my friends – a seed had been planted and like an undisciplined gardener, I had allowed that seed/weed to take hold of my heart. A good gardener knows that weeds don’t have mercy on healthy plants as they will invade every part of the garden. So there in my slumber the weed of discontentment began a life of its own and before I knew it, it had invaded every part of my life.
The problem with discontentment is that as much as it feels bad it also feels so good and justified. But the truth is discontentment is being out of the will of God – it breeds a weed of selfishness and demands and it will rob you of your very joy. It is impossible to be in the will of God while in a state of discontent.
We need to learn to guard our hearts at all times and live simply for Him, allowing God to move in our lives the way He wishes. What I have learnt from this experience is how easy it is to be taken captive to discontentment and resentment when we start to compare our lives with others, rather than living out our lives in a constant state of thankfulness.
I had much to repent for and much to give thanks for. It is amazing how my joy returned when I became content in walking the journey that God had put before me and not trying to walk someone else’s – learning and trusting to be thankful for what I had already been provided.
The ’Home Beautiful’ magazines that once laid about my home have been put away and the thousand plans I have made for my home have been shelved – I will rejoice in what I have and what I have been given. I need to be on alert and guard my heart and mind from discontent and learn to be thankful for all things.