Let Your Discontentment Lead You to God
- Whitney Hopler Live It Editor
- 2004 5 May
Do feelings of disappointment and restlessness seem to follow you around? Do you often find yourself wishing you could get more out of life? If so, perhaps you've tried to fill your inner void with more accomplishments, relationships, or material things - only to find that you're still unsatisfied. You long to be at peace, but contentment eludes you.
Being discontent isn't really so bad. In fact, the inner turmoil you feel is a powerful tool God can use to draw you to Himself. When you let your restlessness spur you on to search for God, you will ultimately find true and lasting peace.
Here are some ways you can let your discontentment lead you to God:
Don't run away. Rather than trying to hide your mistakes and weaknesses, deal with them honestly and openly to free yourself from guilt and shame. Confess your sins to God, and repent of them, trusting that He will forgive you and give you the grace you need to move forward. Forgive others who have hurt you so bitterness doesn't poison your heart. Don't isolate yourself. Seek a close connection to God through regular times of prayer and worship. Spend time in fellowship with other Christians as well.
Look for guidance in the right place. Don't waste your time and energy seeking wisdom from sources other than God, like astrologers or psychics, or even self-help books. Rather than focusing on how you can try to get the life you want, ask God to show you the life He wants for you. Then trust in the wisdom of the One who made you.
Don't let your circumstances steal your hope. Understand that there are different seasons we all must go through in life - some times to celebrate, and some filled with pain. Remember that God will be with you all the time in every situation. Ask Him to give you His peace to sustain you in difficult times. Look beyond your circumstances to focus on Christ. Place your hope in Him alone, knowing that the living hope He offers never fail.
Hunger and thirst for God. Decide to pursue God with a passionate zeal. Know that when you seek God first, everything else you need will fall into place.
Accept the gift of God's grace. Imagine Christ hanging on the cross in front of you. Then mentally take your concerns and leave them at His feet. Trust in the power of His work on the cross to handle whatever troubles you. Remember that nothing can separate you from His great, unconditional love for you. Know that, if you have begun a relationship with Christ, your salvation is eternally secure. Don't let legalism rob you of the joy and peace Christ wants you to have. Stay connected to the Holy Spirit, and rely on the Spirit instead of just external rules to help you live a faithful life.
Don't be afraid to ask God for blessings. Realize that you can approach God with confidence to ask for anything, since you are His beloved child. Remember that He is a Father who loves to give good gifts to His children. Know that God always welcomes your prayers and stands ready to answer them.
Be grateful. Remind yourself of all God has given you and all the ways He has worked in your life lately. Take the time to thank Him regularly for His blessings.
Be generous. Give generously and cheerfully to support God's work on earth. Let your own trials deepen your understanding of other people's needs and move you to become more compassionate. Know that the highest experience of peace you can find on earth is through living an obedient life. Ask God to help you place your life in the center of His will.
Take a Sabbath rest. Remember that God designed rest to be a part of life's natural rhythm. Choose one day each week to rest from your work. Let God use that time to bring you healing peace.
Look forward to heaven. Take the time to think about the glory of heaven, where things so wonderful that they can't be described on earth await you. Take heart that you will find ultimate contentment there.
Adapted from Divine Discontent: Pursuing the Peace Your Soul Longs For, copyright 2004 by Michael Youssef. Published by WaterBrook Press (a division of Random House, Inc.), Colorado Springs, CO., www.waterbrookpress.com. Michael Youssef, Ph.D., is founding rector of The Church of the Apostles, an evangelical Anglican congregation in Atlanta. Founded in 1987, the church has grown from 40 members to more than 2,000. Dr. Youssef is also president of an international broadcast ministry, "Leading the Way with Dr. Michael Youssef." His daily radio program and his weekly television program are carried on hundreds of stations throughout North America and around the world.