Psst… I don’t see it anywhere?!
Please take some time to read this short thought on Rest by a man of God who inspires and convicts and encourages me:
In rest, the questions that drive me change from
“How do we get this done?”
“How much time do i have?”
“Am i well?”
“Am i happy?”
“What do i actually want?”
And in rest, i am granted permission
to make the time it takes
for those questions
to do their work in me;
rather than begging
As we dive into what discontentment means for our walk with Christ, I thought it would be helpful to tie in the theme of rest, because that is an area where I personally fall short, and as I’ve realized, is a result of my discontentment, or my constant state of hurry-worry. (patent pending on this newfangled word..;) As a 20-something, millennial, Bible college student, you-name-it, I am very familiar with the feelings of restlessness and-for lack of a better word -angst that come with making a lot of new adult decisions without all of the necessary maturity or wisdom to do so, navigating confusing relationships full of weird hormones, learning so much good stuff at once that I am giddy and overwhelmed and confused all at once, making time for family and work, and in the midst of it all, having a genuine desire to discern and pursue God’s will for my life. Now, if you managed to read the whole way through that sentence, you would have noticed that I left no room for air, no time for your mind to rest or process all that was being said, and that’s basically how I’ve been running my life. Since I’ve been thrust back into this semester that looks less than normal, I’ve been trying to make up for the genuine sinful discontentment and anxiety in my heart by filling my mind, heart and minutes with what I perceive to be productivity, but to a watching world looks like living one step ahead of the day I’ve been given. All of this rushing has led to bad habits of distrust and patterns of behavior that tell God that I cannot accept the life He has me in, that I want more, better, perfection.
If you can relate to any of these sentiments, Jerry Bridges has something to say to you from his book, Respectable Sins. In his own battle with anxiety and his anger with God for giving him certain limiting physical disabilities, he finally came to this universal conclusion, “Your circumstances may be much more difficult than any I’ve experienced, but the truth is, it is our response to our circumstances rather than the degree of difficulty that determines whether or not we are discontent” (Bridges, 72). This really hits hard in my own life, as I’ve continually seen that instead of taking time to acknowledge the season I’m in, with all it’s hardships and complexities, and look back on how God has redeemed my story, I have tried to rush the healing and restoring work He has promised to accomplish, and I can’t stress this enough, in His time.
In a world that is increasingly more fast-paced, with the option of so many distractions and activities that allure us into believing they are purposeful, it is so easy to let frustrations harbor bitterness toward God and others, but the Father calls us to embrace who we are in light of who He is and always has been, and to take one day at a time.
Coming back to the theme of rest, I thought it would be helpful to get an idea of just how much our mindset of constant busyness is physically affecting our generation, and then we’ll wrap this up for the sake of time, because you have some resting to do my friend!
In a study titled “Causes and Consequences of Sleepiness Among College Students” (relatable, much?) conducted in 2014 by the US National Library of Medicine, Shelley D Hershner an Ronald D Chervin concluded that “Daytime sleepiness, sleep deprivation, and irregular sleep schedules are highly prevalent among college students, as 50% report daytime sleepiness and 70% attain insufficient sleep”. The consequences of this phenomena can be very high risk; besides impaired mood and decreased academic success, lack of rest can even be deadly, in the form of car accidents. Just the introduction is so insightful;
“The college experience is of great value in providing emerging adults with a structured environment in which they can gain the knowledge, skills, and independence to chart their own path, become successfully employed, and contribute to society. However, this experience comes at great cost given rising tuition fees and ballooning student debt, and thus, it is vital that the college years be as efficacious as possible. A potential obstacle to maximizing success in college is the high prevalence of daytime sleepiness, sleep deprivation, and irregular sleep schedules among college students.”
Seriously, go read this article! It puts everything I ever wanted to say on this topic into big, smart words. And if you remember nothing else from my scattered collection of thoughts, let these words guide your learning process to a life of contentment and peace:
The answer to finding rest in discontentment is that it was never God’s intention.
Some Questions This Topic Raises:
- How do we dig out the root of this heart issue in order to find true rest in the Lord and trust in His goodness and perfect timing?
- What role does Creation play in the way we see ourselves and others as image bearers?
- Do we really believe that we are beautifully and wonderfully made, even with all of our limitations? Do our actions prove that we are embracing the perosn God made us to be, and even seeing our shortcomings as gifts and tools for growth and the edifying of the body?
- What are some areas in which you see discontentment in your own life, and what are some action steps you can take to combat the lies from the enemy? some common struggles that Jerry Bridges mentions are
a. an unfulfilling or low-paying job
b. singleness well into midlife or beyond
c. inability to bear children
d. an unhappy marriage
e. physical disabilities
f. continual poor health
5. And of course, the big one, is Discontentment a form of sin?
Once again, I would love to hear your thoughts and questions on this topic! After all, what’s Christian community without a little engagement! ;) you can search for a double meaning here if you so choose. Find me at email@example.com