It happens every time I visit a department store or clothing shop. Even if I went to the store to pick up one item or a gift for someone, my eyes are immediately opened to all the things I didn’t know I needed, but suddenly do! Within moments I’m discontented and needing something that hadn’t even been on my radar just an hour earlier.
Does that ever happen to you?
Fortunately I’ve learned to stay out of stores for the most part. And I’ve cancelled most of the catalogs that used to arrive in the mail or in my email inbox. In that one area I’ve taken a few measures to resist the pull of discontentment. But my lack of contentment isn’t limited to objects that can fill a shopping bag.Beware: discontentment can grow in any area where wishful thinking replaces thanksgiving. Click To Tweet
I don’t like the pull discontentment has on me. I don’t like the way it hits me from out of the blue. And I don’t like the things I say or do when I’m under discontentment’s spell. When I’m feeling restless and needy and lacking, the object of my obsession soon takes over and derails me from following hard after Jesus. Instead, I begin to pursue hard the thing I think will satisfy me.
The Root of my Discontent
Discontentment is an entangling weed the enemy nurtures in our hearts to keep us in hot pursuit of that elusive “something” rather than passionate pursuit of our relationship with Jesus. It’s a time waster, an energy sapper, a testimony drainer. A discontented woman is a walking billboard advertising a god who doesn’t satisfy, doesn’t provide, doesn’t care.
While my discontent yields the dandelion-like blossoms of jealousy, envy, bitterness, comparison and strife, at the root is something much more serious. Discontentment grows from the toxic seeds of unbelief and distrust in God. A discontented heart has decided that God either cannot or will not sufficiently provide. It is skeptical of God’s goodness and faithfulness. And it has grown weary of waiting for those things that God has promised but not yet delivered.
Even if I fervently try to weed out the ugly dandelions of my discontent, they’ll just continue to spring back up until I get to the root of my problem. I must dig deeper and discover why I don’t believe or trust God enough to rest in His provision.
Growing in Contentment
Recently I decided that I wanted to learn to be content in the same manner as Paul:
for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” ~ Philippians 4:11
Once I confessed my unbelief and skepticism to God, I set out to build an arsenal of truth. I wanted to meditate on and memorize scriptures that would affirm God’s goodness to me and my gratitude for His provision.
One scripture in particular has resulted in a new daily practice that has boosted my contentment significantly.
I’ve memorized this simple verse and I meditate on it every morning. But I also do it. Each morning, either on my walk or as I sit before the Lord on my back porch, I declare the ways God has shown His unfailing love me to in recent days. I describe His love…the best my feeble words can. I might say something like this:
Lord, out of Your unfailing love You sent Your blameless, precious Son to die for me. You did that because You so long to have a relationship with me. You delight in me. You love spending time with me and listening to my every thought and word. You never grow tired of me or distracted. You focus on me and give me Your full attention. You have pursued me, even when I have been resistant to Your love. You battle on my behalf. You provide everything I need. And You meet my needs creatively, beautifully, extravagantly, tenderly and continuously. I know I can trust You because, indeed, You love me with an unfailing, never changing love.”
I linger on this exercise, focusing on God’s goodness and trustworthiness. From there I move on to other scriptures that are planting the seeds of contentment in the fertile soul of my heart. I meditate on these, talk to the Lord about them, pray through them.
But there’s still one more thing to do. Psalm 92:2 said that it’s good to declare God’s unfailing love in the morning. But it also mentioned the benefits of declaring His faithfulness in the evening. So when I go to bed at night I take the time to thank God for at least three ways He has proved Himself faithful during the day. I list those in a little gratitude journal I keep by my bed.I'm declaring God's unfailing love each morning and His faithfulness each evening! Ps. 92:2 Click To Tweet
Paul encouraged young Timothy to learn how to be content as well. He said it would produce great gains in his life. I’ve found that as I declare the unfailing love of God in the morning and His faithfulness at night, my heart has become more generous, more joyful and more at rest. Those are just a few of the blossoms contentment has already produced in my life.
Do you struggle with contentment? Remember, discontentment is a feeling. It is not a fact. The truth is you have a God whose love for you never fails and whose faithfulness is great. The next time you feel discontented, cling to that truth.
This is the first in a series of posts that will provide biblical truth to cling to when your feelings are clouding your vision. I have a few feelings/truths in the queue already, but I’d love for you to submit any suggestions for which you’d like for me to provide truth. If you’re struggling with a particular emotion for which you need biblical perspective to cling to, please let me know. The best way we can combat the lies of the enemy is to meditate on, memorize and believe with all our hearts the truth of God’s Word.
If you’re struggling to heal from a wounded heart, I’d like to suggest my Daily Prayers for the Wounded Heart. This daily prayer journey through Psalm 27 will arrive in your email inbox for 10 days. That’s all. But it will help you to voice the prayers that you may be struggling to speak. You can find out more and register for this simple service here.
I’m linking up today with other bloggers who would like to encourage you a little. Check them out!