A few days ago I shared what I think God is teaching me about possessional discontentment and now I would like to process out loud what I think he is teaching me about situational discontentment. You see, I think this form of discontentment is where most of us land. We have figured out by now that our stuff isn't going to make us happy, but we aren't ready to lay down our personal plans or fairy tales for what God has for our lives.
I think there are several forms of situational discontentment from where you live, your marriage, your kids, the status of your adoption, your job, your health, etc. Our discontent statements may sound like, "what went wrong" or "this is just not right". I know that I have dealt with most of these situations somewhere along the way and have learned a lot in the process. Mainly, THAT WHEN THINGS SEEM WRONG, YOU HAVE TO TURN TO WHAT IS RIGHT. Let me explain...
Two years and 7 months ago (but who is counting) Trent moved us from Waco to Houston because he felt like God was calling him to pastor a church here. I followed his leadership, but needless to say I left most of my comfort and contentment back in Waco. It was a hard first year and I would love to say that I got through it by listening closely to God, but truthfully I wasted a lot of time viewing things through my own eyes. Finally, I did some tough talking to myself and decided that one day I was going to leave this traffic nightmare and no doubt there would be things I would miss. I could either live out this time complaining about what I didn't like or I could focus on what God is doing and make the most of it and then walk away one day with happy memories. I probably would have adjusted my attitude earlier and seen God's hand moving if I had spent less time on the front end complaining. Don't tell my husband, but now the place is actually starting to grow on me. Hmm.
A year after moving here, Jack began showing signs of progressive leg weakness. We found out a few months later that he has a genetic degenerative nerve and muscle disease that he got from me (I did not know I had it). I have grieved for this child and the struggles he will face in life. I don't know why God has allowed this to happen. I know that Jack had a 50% chance of inheriting this disorder and God saw fit to allow it to happen. Have I been discontent in this situation? Absolutely. But this time, I have had to look at things differently. I can't talk myself into Jack's situation being OK. It is not OK, but what I know is that God is still sovereign. When I turn my focus from what is wrong to what is right, I see a God who has a perfect plan and my perspective changes dramatically. My eyes are opened to what matters in life and I can appreciate that Jack's character is far more valuable than his ability to walk and that God has a plan for his life to prosper him and not harm, to give him a hope and a future.
Last example I promise. The best picture of turning to what is right when all seems wrong is displayed in the life of my Aunt Mary. Right before we moved to Houston, my cousin died tragically and left behind a wonderful wife and 2 young daughters. My Aunt Mary grieved like any mother who had lost her child too soon and I am certain she told God on several occasions that this was not how it was supposed to happen. A mother is not supposed to out live her child. I would call my Aunt Mary frequently to check on her and every time I called, she would share a scripture with me or a lesson that God was teaching her in the midst of her grief. My Aunt Mary's faith was so rooted in Christ that when things went wrong, she had no where to turn then to what she knew was a right and that was to Jesus.
You see, what God is teaching me is that like contentment with our possessions is not found in more stuff, situational discontentment is not solved through fixing our problem. True contentment, possessional or situational, can only be found in a right relationship with Jesus Christ. We have to take our situations to the one who is sovereign and trust in his perfect plan.
A Picture of Situational Contentment: The picture on the left is Ruthie the day after we got her and the one on the right is her 8 weeks later. Oh what a difference 8 weeks makes