I returned from my weekend getaway with my husband yesterday. It was a great weekend of resting, but it was also a time where I started to recognize that the reason I was needing to feel refreshed wasn’t because I felt too busy or anxious about our adoption process. It was a heart issue.
I’ve always been the type of girl who looks to the next thing in life. When I was in high school, all I could think about was college. When I was in college, my thoughts were on where I was headed after. When I was single, all I could think about was when I would meet Mr. Right. I never felt like I had enough in the season that I was living in. I wanted more. I wanted something better. I wanted to be in a different season because the current season was either too hard, too boring, or too fill in the blank. I have a strong propensity to live in discontentment.
The past six months have snowballed into a heavy season of discontentment. It was initially the desire to be pregnant, then the desire to start the adoption process, and then it was to bring home our girls. The feelings of discontentment didn’t stay within the desire to be a mom. I started to look at our house and feel like it wasn’t enough. Even though I knew we signed up for a fixer-upper house, I was frustrated it didn’t look like it could come from a Martha Stewart magazine. My daily thought process sounded like this: “when we have the money we will finally be able to get the kitchen done and then we’ll be happy”, “if only our backyard was landscaped, I could spend more time outside” “if we just had a little more space, I wouldn’t feel so cluttered” or “when our girls come home, then I’ll finally feel like a true woman” and “if I could only have the right entry-way organizer and set up, I would feel better” (ridiculous I know)…
This weekend all of that came to a boiling point over ice cream on Saturday night. What I didn’t realize was my attitude was deeply affecting my husband and as a result negatively affecting our marriage. I had become focused on what we didn’t have and how next year was going to be so much better because we’d finally have our girls home, our debt paid off, our kitchen done (maybe) that I wasn’t seeing the gift of now. I wasn’t living with my eyes open to what God was giving me in this season of life.
Jerry Bridges, author of Respectable Sins, says that discontentment most often arises from ongoing and unchanging circumstances that we can do nothing about. He also bluntly calls it sin. “Whatever situation tempts us to be discontent, and however severe it may be, we need to recognize that discontentment is sin….We are so used to responding to difficult circumstances with anxiety, frustration, or discontentment that we consider them normal reactions to the varying vicissitudes of life…When we fail to recognize these responses to our circumstances as sin, we are responding no differently from unbelievers who never factor God into their situations.” Ouch…this truth stung…
I had stopped factoring God into the midst of my situations. And this thought process leads to bitterness and resentment towards God and the people in our lives. I don’t want to live like that…so where do we go from here?
When we choose to live our lives filled with gratitude, the things that we thought were so important for us fade away.
Living with my eyes open to the blessings of today.
Look for the blessings instead of seeing what’s lacking will change your heart’s attitude.
Over a year ago I read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp and was challenged to begin writing down at least three things a day that I was thankful for. That lasted about a week…I’m not so good at follow through.
My wake up call this weekend challenged me to once again pick up my journal and write down each days gifts of grace from God.
So today I began my list and snapped pictures to have a visual reminder…
My prayer is that through repenting of discontentment and seeking to live a life of gratitude, the Holy Spirit will work greatly in my life so that I will be a joy and an anchor for my husband, friends, and future children. Do you struggle with discontentment? How could you make small changes this week to live with your eyes wide open to the gifts that God has given you in the here and now?