Content with Being Discontent

Is it possible to be content in all circumstances?  (Philippians 4:11)

What does it mean to be content?

Is it God’s desire for us to be 100% content in this life?

These questions have taken up, what seems to be, permanent residence in my mind as of late. Mostly having to do with Ukraine, but also with motherhood and wifehood (is that a word?).

At times my mind seems to be consumed with thinking about the ‘other things’. As I have deemed them.

Other Things being:

-what is not
-what could be
-what is yet to be
-what should be

and where my responsibility lies within those.

When I first came back from my time doing post-abortion ministry in Ukraine, I was quite overwhelmed with life.

I was side-swiped by how difficult it was for me to re-acclimate to being a wife and stay-at-home-homeschooling-mother of 3.

I struggled with depression. The not-wanting-to-get-out-of-bed depression.

I struggled with feelings of guilt for feeling depressed – a vicous cycle.

And I was overwhelmed by the question, what’s next?

Thankfully over the past couple of months I have had time to work through a lot of that. I learned quickly that vegging out and eating chocolate is not the best way to get replenished. In fact it has the opposite effect. Diving hard into God’s Word even when you don’t feel like it, is the only way to find encouragement (and a little chocolate doesn’t hurt either). Unfortunately that lesson was learned the hard way over many weeks of ups and downs – mostly downs.

So where am I two months out?

I am no longer struggling with feelings of depression or an over abundance of guilt like I was. I am so thankful. But the ‘other things’ still remain.

Did God call me to go to Ukraine for two weeks, never to return?

Since studying the book of Luke I was struck anew by the life of John the Baptist.

He was Jesus’ real, earthly cousin and had a miraculous birth as well. Of course not as miraculous a birth as Jesus had, but miraculous enough to make him special from the get-go. He recognized the Christ even from inside the womb and was filled with the Holy Spirit, . Luke 1:15;41

*Just a side-note worthy of noting:
These verses really spoke to the heart of one of the women who participated in our study. God used these specific words of His to help her understand the kind of life that was represented in her womb at the time of her abortion. It was living, moving, hearing, feeling. She was able to come face to face with her sin and face to face with her Savior and Redeemer to begin the process of reconciliation. I love God’s Word!

Not only that, he out of a billion possible people, was chosen to be the forerunner for the Messiah. Luke 1:17

In Luke 7 we find John in prison. We find something else as well… a question.

Calling two (of his disciples ), John sent them to the Lord to ask,
“Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” vs. 19

This passage makes me weep. Can you imagine? Being called even before conception to prepare the way of the Lord and just a year after your ministry began you find yourself in a prison facing death. No wonder He had a question for Christ. This wasn’t what he had expected.

The issue here wasn’t that John the Baptist didn’t know who Christ was. The moment Jesus appeared on the scene and knelt before John to be baptized, he knew. All the facts and proof was there. There was no doubt whatsoever at that moment in the mind or heart of John.

Even when John’s own disciples questioned him about Christ, he very clearly defended Him as the Messiah. He went as far as to say, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30 NAS

Did he ever imagine that would mean death for him?

What I love most about this passage in Luke is Jesus’ response to John, his cousin and his forerunner who was imprisoned on account of the gospel.

Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard:
The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have
leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are
raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.
Blessed is the man who does not
fall away on account of me. 22-23
Jesus was on a very specific mission. There was a very specific goal for Him to accomplish. He knew that meant some would go physically unhealed, some would become angry, he knew he would cause division. But that didn’t mean He was without compassion or love. It is so clearly seen here.
He was encouraging John, knowing He was facing death. Don’t fall away! Stay strong to the end! I have a purpose and a plan! Trust me!
I don’t think John was at risk of falling away from the faith. But he was at risk of falling into one of Satan’s favorite traps.
Here is a quote from Beth Moore:
One of Satan’s most effective devices for causing a devout believer to stumble is to trap him over a matter of faith. Satan even tries to use Christ, Himself, against us. The most effective faith-trap Satan could set for a Christian is to tempt her/him to doubt the goodness, rightness, or mightiness of Christ.
John knew in his head that Christ was the Messiah, that he was the One. But his heart was really struggling. Are you sure I’m where I’m supposed to be? Ok, just making sure.
Jesus then goes on to say: I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. vs. 28
And here he is giving encouragement to the rest of us. There is a place for us as well. We can be kingdom workers too. We can take part. We can watch first hand the Hand of God move in the hearts of man. Wherever we are. In whatever phase of life we are in. From the up-to-your eye balls in homework phase to the up-to-your elbows in poopy diapers phase. All the way through the having-teenagers phase, saying-good-bye phase, menopause phase, etc…
God sees us where we are and he says Blessed is the ‘woman’ who does not fall away on account of me!

In other words – don’t give up even when you don’t know what I am doing! What is that verse in Habakkuk? You wouldn’t understand even if I told you…
So how does this relate to my opening questions? The ones that have been plaguing me as of late.
I’m getting to that…
I had a wonderful conversation with Michelle today. We were of course talking about Ukraine. And I was sharing my heart, my fears, my struggles, my questions. Turns out I was in good company because we were both asking similar questions.
She said a wonderful thing, which truly inspired this post. She said, “Maybe God doesn’t want us to be totally content in this life. Maybe there needs to be just a touch of discontentment to motivate us to do what God wants us to do. Maybe we should just find contentment in the midst of our discontentment.”
How profound.
At this point in time, I am trying to be content with being discontent. I am praying and trusting God even though I still don’t have an answer to the question, what’s next? I want to be open to the possibility that my job might be done. But I also want to be open to the possibility that it is just beginning.
I want to be content enough to trust that God has a plan and a purpose. But I want to have just enough discontentment to keep me uncomfortable. So that I keep praying and watching and waiting. So that I stay willing.
And I am thankful for Christ’s words to us. They truly are the air the keeps me breathing.

*I did inform Michelle that I would be stealing her words before I wrote them here. She said it was ok.

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