22 Aug Weeds of Discontent
It’s that time of year where most Saturdays include yard work.
While my husband cuts the grass, I sink to my knees to pull weeds in our beds. It never fails to amaze me how effortlessly weeds can grow. Regardless of the season, the amount of sun or rain, or even the health of the soil, weeds pop up everywhere, and not long after you’ve pulled them, they’re back again. As I’ve spent time working outside this summer, the Lord has revealed how the weeds that grow in my yard aren’t so different from the weeds that can grow in my heart if left unattended. For me, what continues to be exposed is discontentment, and like those cursed weeds, it is shocking how easily it can grow. It requires no effort, no tending, and no work on my part for discontent to rear its head, and if I’m not committed to exposing it, it will only grow more unruly.
“It requires no effort, no tending, and no work on my part for discontent to rear its head, and if I’m not committed to exposing it, it will only grow more unruly.”
Discontentment is an elusive thing. It can blossom quickly and unexpectedly and often for no discernible reason at all. Of course, that’s not to say that we don’t take responsibility for it. Scripture is clear that how we respond to our circumstances reflects what’s already in our hearts. If I’m responding with discontentment in any given situation, it’s not because of my circumstances: it’s a result of sin. As I’ve reflected, confessed, and repented, the Lord has revealed the sin at the root of my struggle with discontentment: pride, unbelief, and a lack of gratitude. It’s prideful because, once again, I’m back at the center of my life. I’m viewing my circumstances as though they’re the most important thing—as though I’m the most important thing—and when those circumstances disappoint, discontentment swells. It’s unbelieving because I’m approaching my circumstances as though I’m actually in charge, as though I could come up with a better arc for my life than the One who created me, the One who sent his very son on my behalf. And, without a doubt, there’s a lack of gratitude in a discontented heart. It’s a total loss of perspective, an inability to see beyond the present moment of what I don’t have and remember what I do have. It calls to mind the question of “where am I placing my treasure?”
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus reminds us:
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” – Matthew 6:19-21
“We live as fallen people in a fallen world — our hope cannot be here. We must have an eternal perspective to see beyond past regrets, present circumstances, or future fears.”
Wherever your treasure is, there your heart will also be. Often when I feel a spirit of discontentment, it’s because I’m placing my hope in temporal things: in my appearance, my friendships, my marriage, my role as a mom, my home. When temporal things become the main thing, it’s tempting to lose hope and fall into despair. We live as fallen people in a fallen world—our hope cannot be here. We must have an eternal perspective to see beyond past regrets, present circumstances, or future fears.
When I allow my eyes and my heart to wander, to look around at someone else’s life with a transient, earthbound perspective, discontentment multiplies like weeds in a summer garden. But when I humbly entrust myself to the Lord, He allows me to see beyond the moment or season I’m in to the bigger picture of what He’s doing in my life. Beyond that, He reminds me of the hope of the gospel: the priceless truth that Jesus willingly sacrificed everything for my sake, even laying down His life for me. Because of His death and resurrection, I already have everything I need. That is where my treasure should be, and when it is, who could dare be discontent?
“Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.” – 1 Timothy 6:6-8