Discontent is a push that drives us into our forte. It begs that we act. It is a violent stirring in your soul that speaks as a megaphone to alert you of a deep need to pay attention – you were created to do something about this. When I really need my boys to listen they’ll hear me say “stop what you are doing and look into my face.” Real listening is done with your eyes, ears and heart. Leave one out and it’s not really engaging. When managed well, the stirring that comes from discontent makes you stop and look and listen when something is out of line. When ignited and fanned into flames it can highlight your passions and what needs to grow or change or generally be addressed. It can be the blessing of a lifetime when it fuels your launch into something significant and demanding. Or it can be an enemy of your sanity if you casually ignore it, attempting to live life to the fullest amidst the luxury of comfort and ease and less grueling demands. But do we really live when we aren’t engaging in eternal impact?
My kids love the movie: The Croods. It’s cute. I like it because Emma Stone is one of the voices and I LOVE her. It’s about cavemen (a total toddler boy movie) who are essentially forced out their normal everyday life where safety is the ultimate achievement, risk and curiosity is not tolerated and anything new or different is not to be trusted. The goal is to stay safe in the world they know inside a cave, absent of life and experience and sunshine. Eep is the teenage girl who (of course) wreaks havoc on this expectation because she is going crazy inside the cave. She is discontent. She braces herself against her father at a climactic moment where there is a clear shift on the horizon for the family: “Living?! That wasn’t living, it was surviving. There’s a difference.”
Sweet friends, are we doing life in an effort to LIVE or survive? Living impacts life, surviving exists within it. One is a life of adventure and impact, passion and purpose; the other is, well, boring. And if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, it is my deep belief that life should never be boring. I mean, when you have the greatest adventurer EVER writing your story, and you’re listening to him, your life should reflect his heart.
Now, I should clarify that I’m not referring to just any discontent. Like; why can I not find decent salsa in the midwest, or why can I not walk like a supermodel in those 4 inch heels? (seriously, why can I not?!) I’m talking about what Bill Hybles has referenced before as a holy discontent. Something God hard-wired you with. He talks about a holy discontent that cannot be silenced unless we ourselves suffocate it from living within us. It is meant to be used as a launching pad into LIVING an impactful and purposeful life. And it matters that we engage. Moms, you might have a stirring that begs that you lead your children well. Dads, you might have a stirring that says, I hate divorce. I’m going to pursue my wife. You might have a stirring that drives you to start a business, or be a caretaker to children without parents, or intervene in world of human trafficking.
Gary Haugen had a discontent over the plight of the poor, specifically the reality of the violence they are subject to – and so he started IJM (the International Justice Mission) so that “justice for the poor is possible.” I cannot underscore the eternal relevance of his willingness to engage out of his discontent over something terribly out of line.
When we ignore the discontent we were hard-wired with, we miss out on the satisfaction of living a life that matters greatly. We miss out on living life in our forte. And something off center either goes untouched, or someone else is given the stirrings we ourselves were meant to recognize and employ.
Discontent is a stirring over a matter that begs to be addressed. And when we ignite and fuel the fire that drives us to act – this is when we are living in our forte. And living life in our forte is what I am deliriously excited to talk about next.