We all know that we should have godly discontent towards ungodly things. We should feel a drive to see poverty end, to see orphans adopted, to see corruption uprooted from political systems.
We should want our lives to count for something. It’s okay to want to do more and to want to be more. We were made for Eden. We were made for Heaven. Until we see all made new and right, we should experience this discontent. If we don’t, it’s probably a good sign we have resigned ourselves to the lie that we can’t make a difference, and we’re just going to pass the time until we die. (See “Godly Ambition.”)
But we also need to honestly ask ourselves what our discontentment is rooted in? Do we simply want to have a bigger house because the other mom whose kid goes to our kid’s preschool does, and we feel entitled to that? Or is our discontentment rooted in God’s heart?
And many times the feeling of discontent is not as clear cut as that. Sometimes there’s something in our lives that’s just not flowing in the vein that we know it’s meant to.
Here’s some reasons why we might be experiencing discontentment:
1. Blockage. Sometimes things are not flowing because something is blocking it. We need to find out what that something is and move it out of the way.
Let’s say for instance that my child comes into a season where he begins to contest everything I say. I need to find the underlying reason. Is it influence from school? From tv? A friend? Just a natural developmental stage as he grows to become an independent person that needs parenting to be expressed in correct ways? Are we modeling this to our child?
I need to hear from the Holy Spirit what is going on. Sometimes a clear word will come to me as I pray. Sometimes I will read the answer in the Bible. Sometimes the answer will come through a wise friend. Either way, God is bringing light into what I do not and cannot understand within my simple human reasoning. Once I know the cause, I can begin to address it properly.
The above example shows that at times, life is in discord simply because an issue needs to be addressed. The sense of discontent is lifted once we move the blockage and continue on. These types of situations happen in life all the time. It doesn’t mean we need to pack up everything and move to a different school district or change jobs. It may mean that in certain extreme situations, but that would be something God would definitely confirm in your hearts. Most often, the restless feeling comes because something needs to be tweaked.
2. Poor Choices. At other times, the discontentment comes from our own poor choices. We should have turned left in life, but we decided to turn right. We need to make a u-turn (aka repentance) and come back to where we know we are meant to be. Simple as that.
3. Our Past. We can held back from experiencing meaningful relationships because of past hurt and unforgiveness. Or we are held back from achieving success because of our own fear of failure. These roadblocks need to be exposed and healed by Jesus. A good counselor or therapist can be very helpful in this process as well. Once the underlying pain is removed, the discontentment lifts, and we are able to resume enjoying life as we are meant to.
4. It’s Supposed to be Hard. Sometimes we feel discontent because what Jesus calls us into is DIFFICULT at times! That’s why he says the narrow path is a hard one to walk. We know in these times that we are not meant to change anything or move. We know we followed God’s leading into this, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy!
I talked to a man once who had just launched a new ministry. He was bewildered because he had clearly felt God leading him to start it but after he did, he faced setback upon setback. The problems arose BECAUSE he had followed Jesus. We should expect this to happen. It’s all over the Bible. Be encouraged! Obstacles can be really good markers that you are walking in the right path! #faith Click To Tweet
We need to get in God’s presence, get His perspective, and ask for His encouragement and endurance (Romans 15:5) to keep going.
5. Change Ahead. Sometimes we feel a good discontentment, a godly restlessness, in our own lives because something really does need to change. We feel unsatisfied at work, and we know it’s going to take more than just a small adjustment to fix it. We feel uneasy about moving forward in a dating relationship because we know deep down that it’s not right.
If this restlessness if truly from the Lord, it will not shift until we make the change that He is leading us to make. If you are sensing this type of restlessness in your life, I would advise to give it some time. If it doesn’t let up, seek godly counsel. Keep your eyes and ears open to what the Holy Spirit might be leading you to step into.
This type of godly uneasiness is a gift to keep us from settling into a life that is not all that God has for us. It is more than just being bored or annoyed with our circumstances. And if it’s truly God leading you into a change, it won’t sound like a clearance sale: Act now or lose your chance forever! If you feel pressure that it needs to happen RIGHT NOW, it is highly likely it’s your own emotion and you should wait awhile until you have more clarity. There are exceptions to this general principle, but God is a God of peace. He will not pressure you to do anything. You may feel anxious after hearing His guidance because of your own fears, but the call to follow itself will be a gentle one. (Read more about getting God’s vision for your life here.)
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