Category Archives: ThriveMoms

Struggling With Discontent When You’re Living The Dream

I remember lying on my bed staring up at the ornately detailed ceiling in our apartment in Italy. We had just gotten home from a beautiful Sunday afternoon walk around an Italian park, the children were napping and from all accounts, I was living the dream. The trouble was, I felt unbelievably discontent. 

Our family had been assigned to lead a summer missions team of fifteen college students to Rome and we were three weeks into the trip. As many of you can attest, there comes a point, around week three of traveling anywhere, where even the yummiest of exotic food starts to taste a little slimy and the comforts of your own home begin to nag at your mind.

Struggling with discontent when you're living the dream

So there I was, serving the Lord with my handsome husband and precious children; we were having fun homeschooling, sharing Jesus alongside wonderfully sharp college students, and I was struggling with discontent. But nothing much was the matter!

I took out my journal to process what was going on in my heart…
I was jealous that a friend had what I didn’t have.
I was frustrated that we still couldn’t seem to get pregnant.
I was insecure with the way I looked after three weeks of pasta and gelato.
I was tired.

I…I…I…

After a few minutes of journaling, the Lord prompted me to think on HIS character rather than my circumstances and as I adored God for who HE is, and how HE too can sympathize with my weaknesses and how HE satisfies the deep-seated needs of my soul…the discontent began to lift.

My jealousy started to feel ironed out by the provision of the Father.
My emptiness started to be filled with the comfort of the Holy Spirit.
My insecurity began feeling tempered by all that is true of my identity in Christ.
My weariness started to relax into His yoke that is easy.

And then He reminded me of a few guiding principles for contentment that a mentor had given me years ago. I had shoved them in my Bible, but they were originally written by E.B Pusey, an English pastor in the 1800’s who knew what it was to truly suffer. These rules had been helpful to him after losing his entire family and they are still helpful to me today as I deal with lesser struggles.

If you wish to gain contentment, we might try such rules as these:

  1. Allow thyself to complain of nothing, not even of the weather.
  2. Never picture thyself to thyself under any circumstances in which thou art not.
  3. Never compare thine own lot with that of another.
  4. Never allow thyself to dwell on the wish that this or that had been, or were, otherwise that it was, or is. God Almighty loves thee better and more wisely than thou dost thyself.
  5. Never dwell on the morrow. Remember that it is God’s, not thine. The heaviest part of sorrow often is to look forward to it.

“THE LORD WILL PROVIDE.”
-E. B. PUSEY
God’s character truly changed how I was feeling that day and I have gone back to that as the guiding force for handling discontenment in myself and in the kids’ hearts.

Are you wrestling with comparison and contentment today? How does the character of God satisfy your longings? I’d love to hear what you’re processing.

“Contentment isn’t a state of organization, a weight on the scale, a state of better: better kids, better marriage, better health, better house. Contentment is never a matter of circumstances; contentment is always a state of communion — a daily embracing of God. “-Ann Voskamp

 

Finding Contentment Amidst the Chaos of Christmas

Today I am contributing at Thrive Moms and thought I’d share here as well. I’d love to hear how you are finding contentment amidst the chaos of Christmas!

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Am I the only one whose kids are all of the sudden aware of absolutely everything they are lacking?

Please tell me I’m not alone. Except for your sake, I kind of hope I am. Our kids were adopted three years ago and so for the past three Christmases, they’ve been wide-eyed and amazed at the generosity of friends and family…but this year, they’ve wised up. They get this whole gift-giving gig and I should have known that a casual mentioning of the impending Christmas season would land me smack dab in the middle of my son’s ever increasing wish list.

I mean, I remember getting the fat Toys-R-Us magazine, grabbing a red Crayola marker, and going crazy circling anything and everything that looked shiny. I get it, my dear third grader. I’m sure that it’s hard to understand that while, yes, your friend in second grade has an iPhone, you, my son, should not be expecting one in your stocking. And, yes. I know that every other child in the free world has an Xbox and that you *NEED* a dog, but sheesh.

I’m new at this whole parenting thing, but I sure am hoping to shape souls less greedy than my own. We don’t even let them watch commercials for Pete’s sake! And yet, this conversation showed me there’s a long way to go and that we would surely need God’s supernatural intervention. Because, if I’m honest, I have a decent wish list that I can get pretty spirited about, too. It’s just that the grown up list includes things like being effortlessly perfect, having an empty inbox, a clean house, and a completed to do list. Oh, and since I’ve been extra good this year, I’d like a quick trip somewhere tropical and a good long nap as well. These are often the things I look forward to making ME happy. There’s discontented greed in all of our hearts. So when I start to feel my soul getting grabby or when on December 26th my sweet children voice yet another thing they think they “need”, I’m asking the Lord to give me a renewed perspective of the Truth.

Because of Jesus, I am no longer a citizen of this world. When I accepted Him as my Savior, I was transferred from isolation and darkness into His family and His Kingdom of light. I am now a citizen of Heaven and when I remember that the King is my Father and that He has given me all I need for life and godliness, I am truly content. Jesus and all His riches are mine!

Okay, you want to know something else that will shut my list-making mouth? Let’s talk about those who find themselves lacking basic necessities? Are we not blessed in order to be a blessing to those without? How can the secret of contentment be true for people in every circumstance?

In the thick of plenty, we can be content. In severe deprivation, we can be content. In every circumstance, we can be content because we are a Beloved child. Our Father is the King! In Christ, we have all we need! The Holy Spirit literally resides in us! If God can make the death of His Son work together for good, He can make _(insert your lack)_ work for good. But it’s not a momentary affirmation of this Truth or a brief glance at Jesus that brings peace and contentment, rather the fixing our eyes on Him and the repeated consideration of this Truth.

How often do we think about our wish lists and the things that stir up discontent? Let’s think on the cross that many times more and we will find the secret of contentment for ourselves and for our children.

“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Colossians 2:13-15