Discontent can come in many forms, disguised as many different things. But the bottom line is that discontent is the result of looking for contentment in the wrong things. If you are like a small child who needs a new toy every few minutes, you will quickly hit the wall. The brightly colored toys may take your mind off your troubles, but they get boring quickly, and they don’t satisfy. Once we have plowed through everything in the toy basket, it’s pretty much a rerun, so we look elsewhere, restless for something new to keep us distracted.
Discontent comes of being self-absorbed. How am I doing? Am I happy? Do I have a hard life? Am I too fat? Too thin? Too broke? Picked on? Ignored? Am I under-appreciated? Is my car too old and my house too small? Discontent is all about me.
Joy comes from self-forgetfulness. And the only access we have to such joy is when we are put right. And we can’t put ourselves right, try as we might by digging into the toy bin again. Only God can restore us, tune our strings that we might be in harmony with our Creator. And that comes through being reconciled to Him through His Son. Without this reconciliation, we are hopeless and helplessly out of tune.
Once the reconciliation has taken place, we are no longer at odds with our Creator. We are adopted, remade, restored, and forgiven. In spite of this unspeakable gift, being thick-headed andÂ short-sighted creatures, we can slip into ingratitude and discontent, forgetting who we are and what He has done in and through us. We can turn into
grumpy, fussy, joyless saints.Â We need reminders, we need review. And so He gave us a weekly reminder every Sunday. And He kindly bestowed His Word on us and has given us teachers to prod and encourage us.
Contentment is comforting. Discontent is uneasy. Contentment is peaceful. Discontent is stressful. Contentment looks out for others. Discontent looks in. Contentment is grateful. Discontent refuses to say thanks. Contentment counts its blessings. Discontent counts is grievances. Contentment is cheerful. Discontent pouts. Contentment takes the hit. Discontent points the finger. Contentment is generous. Discontent won’t share. Contentment is settled. Discontent is restless.
C.S. Lewis wisely said (somewhere) that “the happiest moments are those when we forget our precious selves and have…everything else (God, our fellow humans, animals, the garden, and the sky) instead.”