Discontent

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome things I know, like my feelings about humanity. Things like that are easy to express, but other things defy me when I attempt to wrangle them into words. Like if I tried to tell you where I am on the journey now I don’t know If I could do it. I’m looking forward and behind. I’m reading a lot of God’s word, but I don’t feel like I’m ingesting a lot. I’m disagreeing with many nice Christian people that I respect. At least, I’m disagreeing in my head; it doesn’t always reach my lips. Worse, I’m agreeing with people that they would consider bad role models or worse. Prayer right now is interesting. I think how far I’ve come from years ago, and I’m not sure I like the change. Mostly, right now I am discontent.

I wrote Sunday: If passivity is bad in schools isn’t it also bad in the church? Wouldn’t we accomplish more and grow more by getting together and reaching people with mercy in the real world than just talking about doing things? Wouldn’t we grow more conversing and praying together about or specific, individual circumstances than having a pastor speak and pray in generalizations? There are people to reach! Shouldn’t we be working in the best way possible instead of clinging to tradition or our own sakes?

If we are truly Jesus followers we shouldn’t be afraid of radical. We shouldn’t be afraid of exposing ourselves to the sinners on the streets–Jesus wasn’t. Jesus was more averse to hypocritical, religious tradition, so shouldn’t we be too?We play at a perfect facade that alienates people. It’s easier to play perfect in passivity. If we have to interact beyond greeting time then it’s harder to hide our brokenness, so why don’t we interact beyond that three minutes? Our brokenness is what unites us with God and each other. We I need to escape the facade. 

I because it’s easy to judge the nice Christian people, and harder to escape the theater. I because I’m tired of being comfortable, but scared of the future and what it might hold. because I blend in a crowd pretty well right now, and part of me isn’t okay with that fact. I’m discontent, but not quite ready to move, I guess. I desperately want to move, but the longer I wait the less I feel like changing. I’m not sure if I even know how to escape. Quitting life’s demands isn’t the answer, but neither is acquiring more  time-eating activities. Quitting my church isn’t the answer just now either because the people there need to see truth too, and I am working towards that goal. Passively sitting for sermons isn’t the answer, but what church doesn’t do that? I probably don’t have to option to stop, and if I did I don’t know where I’d go.

Well, that’s my best attempt at defining now. What’s yours? Where are you now? Have you been where I am? Do you have any advice?

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Categories: Journey Prologues., My Life, rants | Tags: , , , , , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Discontent

  1. “Watch me get it wrong at the top of my lungs” I had my first ever (in my entire whole life) choir experience on Wendesday, and after timidly making it through our part a few times, the choir director told us to all sing our parts, but to “commit to our mistakes” and to sing wrong confidently. So, obediently, we did. “Did you see how much better you sounded when you just put it out there?”

    It takes a lot of guts to screw-up fantastically (I mean, you know, with “important life decisions” not just with choir), but you gotta admit. . .it does have it’s own certain appeal. Holding back can be a life time of constantly dripping shame.

    I don’t really have much advice, though I did go through several years struggling with “discontentment” myself, although I describe in terms of “feeling like I’m not where I should be, yet not knowing where or what I should do instead.” It was pretty excruciating, but I felt lead mostly to wait it out while getting ready to move. It was like an avalanche when things did finally move, and quite stressful in its own way–but such a relief to no longer have that burden of “I’m not where I’m supposed to be” hanging over me any more.

    • As always you hit the nail on the head: “’feeling like I’m not where I should be, yet not knowing where or what I should do instead.’” I’m too cautious because I don’t have the guts to screw up fantastically, but I’m getting tired of feeling discontent, so we’ll see where this leads.

      Thanks for the comment,
      V.

  2. I don’t want to offer pat answers and this may not seem to relate at all to what you are saying at first, but bear with me-I remember my uncle Andy, who was a Reverend, but just “Andy” to so many people, saints and sinner’s alike, and how he somehow was Jesus to them all. There was a guy at work who had attended a funeral of someone close to him and Andy had officiated over the funeral, and this guy spoke of Andy with respect, and he was, let’s say, a sinner and proud of it, but he saw something in Andy that drew him or inspired awe in him-you could hear it in his voice. Andy had that effect on sinners.
    At Andy’s funeral, his pastor spoke about going to see Andy and ministering to him, only to realize as he was leaving that he had been the one ministered to. And I thought, that’s it, that’s how I want to be.
    But the impostor is so subtle, so easy to become, so comfortable. Being discontent with the way things are is not necessarily a bad thing. On the other hand, you can beat your head on the wall trying to change tradition and people.
    You have traces of Andy in you, just as he had traces of Jesus. Becoming, we are always becoming more, but never fully what we should be. And that’s ok, but it’s not ok, to fall back, even though we do that to.
    God loves you unconditionally as you are and not as you should be, because you are never going to be as you should be. – Brennan Manning

    I don’t know if Andy ever listened to Manning, but I think he would have liked him.

  3. Being discontent with the way things are is not necessarily a bad thing.” I would second what wildswanderer says there. The prophets were people profoundly discontented with the way things were. God put discontentment in their bones, and His words in their mouths. Elijah was discontent (to say the least) with the way things were in Israel. Being discontent with the way things are wrong in the world, or in the church can be a sign of God’s Spirit working in us.

    But discontent can also be bad. We all know about the Israelites in the desert being discontent with God. So the feeling of discontent should cause us to examine ourselves constantly to make sure we are discontented with the right things (sin, rather than God) and that the attitudes and actions provoked by that discontent are God pleasing.

    Being discontent with something that is legitimately bad, but then falling into an attitude of whining (at people or God) or resenting (people or God) are two possible bad paths to go down.

    To make it personal, a particular weakness of mine that I struggle with is resentment against God. I see a problem that I know God has said is a problem, I am rightly discontented with the problem, but then I resent Him for not taking care of the problem in the timing, or way, that I think. (I know, telling God how to do His job–foolish.) What I struggle to remember, and to learn again and again, is that God shows mercy in ways I don’t understand. So what may seem to me as God being slow to fix a problem that needs fixing may actually be a manifestation of Him showing great mercy.

    Seeing a problem, being discontent with the problem, and being willing to be God’s servant in the solution to the problem doesn’t mean He will use any of us as we think He ought to use us.

    Just adding a few thoughts. Still learning myself–I don’t have any answers.

    • This is a really insightful and helpful commentary on discontentment. I guess I usually tend to think of it as a bad thing, but I believe that you’re right–it can be good sometimes. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

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