What They Don't Tell You About Discontent.
I just feel like I need to tell you that your discontent is okay.
Sometimes your discontent is just a silly rebellious bone trying to convince you that you don’t have enough. Sometimes your discontent is a sign of selfishness. Maybe your discontent is a sign of reaching too high.
But I say why not?
Why not reach too high? Why not try to reach your fullest potential? Why not say yes to the voices in your heart that are screaming for your attention?
So I’m not going to pat you on the head and tell you to sit back down. To stop screaming and wishing and to just be content already.
Dig in to the discontent. You know why?
Because it means something.
Discontent takes you places. (My husband said that to me once.)
I think some of the best and most impactful people in the world are the ones who felt like something was not right and did something about it. Used their voice. Acted.
When I say I’m discontented, I don’t mean that I’m craving fabulous adventures or chasing some idea of a glamorous life of travel or that I wish I could just get out of this life and into a new one.
That’s not it at all.
I’m saying something essential is missing. It’s not a house, it’s not a relationship, it’s not adventure, it’s not travel.
Something is missing. Meaning. Purpose.
I’m saying there’s more to life than staying in a place, a relationship, a job, a city, a church because well, this is good and shouldn’t I be thankful?
What happens when your heart is constantly beating against your chest, screaming out that it was made for something different? Something more?
It’s telling me that the reasons behind my decisions and my lifestyle, they just don’t add up anymore.
I can’t make choices based on what someone else may think or because I should just be thankful for what I have. I can’t make decisions based on what’s “responsible” or what life is “supposed to look like.”
There’s a voice inside of me saying that things can be better and things can be different and when am I going to stop living the neat and tidy life? When am I going to get honest about the life I see?
Discontent gets such a bad rap. If you mention that you’re discontented, it’s like people puff out their chests and look down their noses and tell you to be thankful for what you have. They tell you to rest in God.
And they’re missing the point. I’m not ungrateful for what I have.
I see the way life could be and I ache for it.
A life that looks like more than going to a job JUST to pay the bills. A life that is broken open for the sake of others. A life that looks like chasing our convictions instead of constantly swallowing them down for fear of disrupting the peace.
A life that looks like doing instead of waiting. Because why not? Why not just do the things that light fires in your heart? Why wait?
I’d been feeling this for a while when Chris and I saw Hamilton, the musical. It’s this rad rendition of the early years of our country, but I love how it contrasts the behavior and character of Alexander Hamilton with that of Aaron Burr.
Burr is portrayed as a somewhat hesitant man. “Talk less, smile more. Don’t let them know what you're against or what you’re for.” He was okay waiting around until the right opportunity presented itself.
Hamilton, on the other hand, seemed to create opportunities to seize. He never hesitated. He knew what he believed, fueled by conviction and a desire for change, a vision he saw for the future.
“Why do you write like you’re running out of time? Why do you write every second you’re alive?”
Some of the greatest heroes in history are those that saw what was missing, saw what life could be, and did something about it. They didn’t wait for the best time. News flash: That doesn’t exist.
I think we can all get stuck in this phrase.
“I’m just waiting on God.”
Yes, there is value in that. Yes, I do my best to practice this. Yes, I believe it is important.
But I think it quickly becomes a cop-out.
Here’s a fun fact: God has already given us everything we need to live. As if breath in our lungs wasn’t enough, he gave us some instructions in the pages of His Word.
And it’s really simple stuff.
But I’m just waiting on God.
Guess what? God is already moving. He is and has been and won’t stop.
When the Israelites where leaving Egypt and being pursed by an army, they were afraid and frustrated. This is how it goes.
“… And Moses said to the people… ‘The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest.’ And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward.’”
Go freaking forward.
I think I feel so strongly about this because I’ve been in a season of waiting for a while now. And it’s not like it was this God-ordained waiting period. I’ve been waiting around, thinking things will change, thinking life will feel better, thinking circumstances will turn around.
I keep waiting.
I’m realizing that I can’t wait for things to change. If I want the change, I have to be the change. I have to make the change.
I feel a little bit like Tris from the Divergent books and movies.
Can I step out of this comfortable, tidy life? Can I jump on this moving train that only keeps going? Can I do the brave thing?
I’d rather die in the act of doing than the act of waiting.
I want to get one last thing straight. Going forward and doing things doesn’t mean taking on a hyper-busy lifestyle, juggling all of this stuff, and trying to figure out how to make your life the most adventurous and appealing to everyone else.
I mean, go forward and live with meaning. Live with strong conviction. Filter every decision through those things. Even a quiet and simple life can be lived loud and with conviction, the kind that changes people and moves mountains.
Figure out what matters to you. Analyze what causes you discontent. Do you imagine how your life and the world could be? Then do something about it. Let the things you do be done in intention not due to default. Get busy on things that matter. The time is now because it’s all we have.
Get busy living.