This recovery from knee surgery has involved a little more daytime TV than I am used to, but I came across a show on cable yesterday which made me stop to take in a few back-to-back shows. It is called "I Want That" and is a show featuring all these handy devices, kits, etc., which will make decorating, gardening, woodworking, crafting, etc., a little easier and less messy. What amazing stuff there is out there if you want to do gardening indoors with only a hydrophonics kit, or perhaps use your reciprocating saw without having to vacuum up all the sawdust everywhere when you were done. Something which became quite apparent to me after about one hour of the series is the fact most of us viewing the show had no idea we actually "needed" or "wanted" this stuff until we saw it! Hence the name: "I Want That"! It is just like us humans to be content with what has worked for so long until we see the next amazing device and then our appetite is whet! We want it! Wouldn't it just dazzle God to no end if we had such a desire for the things he reveals to us of his power, grace, truth, and the like?
You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought. (Matthew 5:5 MSG)
I think the show not only featured wonderful devices and kits to make life a little easier, safer, or jazzier, but it also cultivated a sense of "need" for somethings we had no previous desire for - it cultivated our discontent! There is much in society aimed at doing exactly this - preying on the unsuspecting and unguarded to stir up the sense of discontent which drives us to get, get, get - even when we don't need, need, need. I love those DIY shows where they show you how to remodel a room, redo a little decorating by reconditioning stuff you already have, etc. They spark a little creativity in me which gets me going on projects periodically - things I have had a hankering to do because it would make life easier for us, or keep us a little more organized around the house. One such project is about to begin in the next week or so, once I am up to organizing my new workshop I put up just prior to the surgery. My son has blessed me with a very well made workbench which fits the space perfectly and will be the start of my movement of tools from the garage "spaces" where they are tucked out of reach right now. In turn, I hope to reclaim my garage as just that - the garage.
Recently, I had a neighbor pass away and was able to purchase a variety of power tools from his estate (he was a woodworker by trade). Some I have no idea how to use, but plan to learn. I have these stashed in every available open spot in the garage shelves until I could settle on what to do about having a little workshop of my own. Well, the day has come. It is a hot climate, so I am not sure how much use it will get this summer, but I plan to purchase a free-standing cooler to assist with reducing the temp in there, allowing for some creativity early in the mornings or later into the evenings. The dream of several years is finally beginning to become a reality - something I have wanted for a long time, but just haven't been up to putting together. Why now? Perhaps it is because I am sensing the next several years will begin another place of transition in my life as my mother continues to advance in her age and her decline in health becomes more and more apparent. Perhaps it is the fact I am nearing my last decade of work and hope to retire into some venues of business outside of the healthcare field as I do. Maybe it is just because I want to use my talents to create - something maybe my daughter and I could pursue together down the road.
Sensing the "next move" in your life is a little different from having a sense of discontent, though. Discontent really is a restlessness coupled with a craving for something you don't have - even when you might not actually need it. In some sense, discontent has a positive effect - it gets us up off our posterior end and gets us moving toward what it is we see as our need. In this sense, we need to tap into our discontent - but only as far as it leads us into the things God has purposed for our lives. For example, if I was married and I no longer found the "love of my life" to meet my physical needs, it would be totally wrong for me to allow this discontent to drive me to find a new mate or to have an affair. That would be using my discontent to drive me in the direction of my flesh, not my spirit. When we allow God to direct our contentment, he also influences the sense of discontent we might experience in life. In turn, the discontent drives us toward the things of the Spirit he desires for us to engage with and incorporate into our lives. In this sense, discontent is a good thing - it drives us closer to God.
Learning to rely less upon what makes us content and focusing on what might actually be the object of our discontent may not seem like a big deal at first, but if we are to accurately respond to our discontent, we need to focus on it. The issue arises when we focus on our discontent apart from the advice and guidance of scripture, mature brothers or sisters in the Lord, and/or good biblical counsel. We cannot figure out our discontent on our own - we need God's oversight in order to evaluate the source, the potential ways of dealing with it, and how it will impact our lives once we deal with it. Just sayin!