Hope For Pastors' Wives, Ladies Ministry, Ministry Matters, Pastors' Wives

Ministry Matters: Why You Need to Cultivate A Holy Discontent

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“Not that I speak in respect of want; for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Philippians 4:11

This verse was among the first I ever memorized as a young child. Interestingly, the name Leah means “contentment.” The alternate meaning is wild cow. But I digress. We’ll take the contentment meaning. My dad, being a printer, actually made notepads with my name and this verse on them…to give me a frequent reminder that I needed to act as I had been named. Leah= contentment. Ann= grace.

Hmm. That’s quite a name. Leah Ann= contented girl of grace. I like it! But now to live up to it…

I’ve been musing a lot lately on the fact that most of our discontentment in life stems from not having enough of something. Actually, this is the case in my own life much more often than the craving to have something I don’t already have. I realize that I don’t speak for everyone out there….but take a minute to think about your patterns of desire, and your prayers, and where you feel the gaps in your life.

Likely it’s the belief that you are coming up short in some area that creates your discontent, fuels your work ethic, and powers your prayers.

I don’t have enough money for__________________ or to pay ________________bill.

I don’t have enough help to accomplish _________________.

I don’t have enough time to do everything on my list.

I don’t have enough emotional reserve to pour into relationships.

I don’t have enough knowledge of the Bible to teach others.

I don’t have enough healing in my life to be able to help others who are hurting.

I don’t have enough (fill in the blank.)

Here’s the thing. I’m not even referring to our wants here. I’m talking about genuine needs that arise within the sphere of what God has called and is calling us to do. I believe that He creates these needs so that we will remember to depend on Him for the doing of His plan for our lives.

Yet in the realization of these needs, we are tempted to become discontent by focusing on our lack of funds or resources or whatever it is that we don’t have enough of. And lately I’m catching myself mid-thought and realizing where my thoughts are taking me.

Stop. Don’t go to that place.

Instead, turn this need, this not-enough-of, this desire from lack into a holy discontent. Realize that I don’t actually need more money, more time, more resources, more help, more of whatever I don’t have enough of.

I need more of God.

I need more of His presence. I need more of His Word. I need more of His wisdom. I need more of His love, His mercy, His grace, His forgiveness.

I am not saying that we shouldn’t pray specifically for specific needs. We should! I’m just saying that we shouldn’t get “stuck” on needing the need. We need to take it a step farther….think beyond the need to the fact that we actually need the Source of the need!

And what peace comes into the heart when we make ourselves stop the downward spiral of discontented thinking. Get off that train. Say out loud if it helps, “I do not need ______________________ as much as I need more of You.” 

Honestly, this perspective transforms how we view the genuine needs that come up in life. God creates these needs in order to show us our desperate need for Him. But so often we get caught up in the need and can’t see past it.

As pastors’ wives- we see and hear about all the needs. Needs in the lives of our church families {the sheer number can be overwhelming,} needs in the church as a whole, gaps to be filled in service, needs in the lives of our missionaries, needs in our marriage and child rearing. The list goes on. The needs never end. We can get caught up in praying for everyone and everything, while forgetting that all they really need is simply God Himself.

When we forget that….oh, how much we miss! How much of God, how much grace, how much peace, how much rest.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss those things. I want as much of God as I can humanly handle. I want that holy discontent- the discontent that makes me want more of Him.

The enormity of the need fades, and I see that all I really need has already been provided.

Do you see the irony here?! God’s response to your holy discontent completely and utterly satisfies your heart, every time.

Yet in the same moment, it creates more desire.

The holy discontent is the only discontent that actually satisfies. You can’t afford to live without it.


A Kindred Spirit