Have you ever struggled with feeling discontent? Missing the good old days, or wondering if and when those good times will ever come for you. Trying to find the meaning and purpose in your life, your work, your relationships. Inevitably, you end up either living in the past or in an imaginary perfect future. You walk through life always waiting for something better, something different, something that will satisfy.
It seems that we continuously hunger for more.
I’ve dealt with discontent at many different times in my life. During one particular season, I wanted so badly to go back to the past, to what was familiar and comfortable. I was out of my element, fearful and alone. I felt completely ill-equipped to do the task set before me, and I desperately wanted to give up — pack up my bags, go home and stay home.
“I don’t want to leave here, I don’t want to stay
It feels like pinching to me either way
And the places I long for the most are the places where I’ve been
They are calling out to me like a long lost friend …
I’ve been painting pictures of Egypt, leaving out what it lacks
‘Cause the future feels so hard and I wanna go back”
— from “Painting Pictures of Egypt” by Sara Groves
But the Lord has been teaching me two important truths that come to bear on my discontent. First, the purpose and goal of our life is to know God and be transformed into His image. The sweetest gift we receive during difficult times is His presence with us to comfort, protect and guide (Psalm 23). When you’re struggling, lean hard into Him, and seek to know Him more through whatever situation you’re in. Enjoy His nearness rather than trying to run from the pain or discomfort. Use this opportunity He’s giving you to draw near and learn to trust only in Him (2 Corinthians 1:3-10).
The second important truth we need to remember is that God is the one writing this story, and it’s all about His character and His glory. “He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3). As God’s children, we belong to him… so this life is not about our desires being met, us feeling fulfilled, or our name being made great. We’re called to make the Lord known and exalt Him. So, we should focus on knowing Him and sharing His love and grace with those around us. The story probably won’t look like you thought it would; it probably won’t be what you would’ve planned for yourself. But it will be infinitely better… a story full of God’s presence and work, a story of a life surrendered to Him.
“This cup, this cup
I wanna drink it up
To be right here in the middle of it
Right here, right here
This challenging reality
Is better than fear or fantasy”
— from “This Cup” by Sara Groves
The “more” that we hunger for won’t be satisfied by anything in this world. Our desires are met in God, and in Him we have all that we need… we lack nothing. Our joy and our worth are not defined by our situation or our accomplishments. In the Lord’s presence is fullness of joy… and that’s something that doesn’t change or fade; He is with us, and He is always good and faithful.