As with all of my writing, this subject stems from personal experience but I felt sure I was not alone in my idea that there is such a thing as Holy discontentment. Maybe Gary even wrote about it and I am forgetting. I did a search of all Gary’s posts to be sure but see nothing. I also did a little internet research on the subject. Here’s what I found out so far:
There is a book called “Holy Discontentment” by Bill Hybels.
The stoics were content and that the imitation of that trait on the surface more resembles the world’s thinking rather than Christ’s attitude.
The Greek word for content is autarkēs. Definitions include “sufficient for one’s self…independent of external circumstances…contentment with one’s lot…”
Now for my disclaimer. I am not theologian enough to critique or break down the nuances and historicity of the thoughts so far stated. But here’s what I know:
Today I am believing that God-filled contentment happens within the context of a Holy discontentment. Paul was content per his testimony in Philippians 4, but he was navigating some trouble.1
My interpretation of a Holy discontentment is a yearning to fix something that is broken while living before God consciously, prayerfully and service-oriented on behalf of those who are truly suffering, completely helpless or need relief in even the smallest of ways.
It is a state in which I find myself praying more deeply on my own behalf as well as for others in difficult circumstances, then moving according to God’s will to fill in the gap.
It is what moves missionaries to take the Gospel of Jesus next door or overseas.
It encourages couples to mature in their marriages.
It awakens disconnected parents to lean into their children’s lives more.
It thrills the well-supplied individual to share his affluence with the needy around him.
It sweetens soured relations.
It invigorates the nurturing woman to give of her time and resources to others in need.
It energizes writers to tell stories with morals, bring attention to problems and offer viable solutions.
It inspires the visual artist to reflect God’s glory on earth, the musician to compose beautiful and soul-filled music, businesses to treat their workers well, inventors to discover solutions that better humanity, philanthropists to build good hospitals and organizations, adventurers to magnify God’s creation, and so it goes…
Occasionally I will be writing stories of people who found a holy discontent that they turned into a Godly-contentment, making a difference for time and eternity. I am calling it GodReflection Spotlight. You might find yourself in one of these stories or be inspired to participate and pray for these Godly servants.
My prayer is to reflect God’s redeeming work in the middle of spiritual and practical darkness, and show how Jesus is winning somewhere in the world.
Does discontentment always have to ultimately be a downer, or is it the doorway to true contentment?