“Discontentment and indifference are two prime enemies of thankfulness.” ~Rachel Dodge
The above quote comes from the book “Praying with Jane'' which I reviewed in a post last year and I must say that I was immediately struck by the similarities in the ripple effect pattern of discontentment and comparison. In fact, you might say they are two sides of the same coin. Several years back, I grew so disgruntled in what I saw on Facebook that I deleted the app completely and only perused the desktop version periodically. It wasn’t Facebook itself that made me angry but how I couldn’t stop from comparing myself to everyone I saw. It seemed like everyone was getting married, having babies, buying dream homes and going on grand adventures while I was stuck in a rut. I became disillusioned with my life because it didn’t meet my expectations and I became frustrated that other people seemed to have it all together. Yes, I realize what we present on social media is not a reflection of reality but it still got under my skin because comparison kills.
Discontentment, which can be an effect of comparison, works much in the same way. Satan knows this and he LOVES to use it against us. Think how many biblical characters cried out or became exasperated because life wasn’t going as they saw fit. (Hello Jonah!) We do this when our discontentment shifts our perspective from God and his truth. We come to believe that we are truly suffering and that we deserve, nay, the Lord is obligated to give us better. We forget the faithfulness of the Father and how many blessings overflow in our lives.
While definitely not a spiritual song, I think the lyrics of Bing Crosby’s “Count Your Blessings”, can offer a brilliant bit of advice in our moments of challenge.
“When I'm worried and I can't sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings
When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep counting my blessings”
I know it’s easy to forget all the good things in life when it seems like you are missing your heart’s desire or when you are being plagued by an unrelenting struggle but don’t allow discontentment to rob you of the joy currently present in your life and yes, I am mostly talking to myself. Sometimes, I have to make a conscious decision to reflect on all of the good things in my life when I begin to face the negative thought spiral.
No, I wouldn’t wish teaching in the midst of a pandemic on my worst enemy but I am also beyond blessed to have a job and steady income. Yes, my car has trouble from time to time but I am so grateful to have a daddy and brother that are capable of fixing anything. No, I haven’t found my husband yet but I HAVE found an incredible squad of single ladies with which to enjoy a ton of adventures that would be impossible if I was married. Sometimes, this requires daily reminders to myself of how my want or need in one area doesn’t equate to a complete deprivation in another.
So, what is Satan using to create discontentment in your soul? Better yet, what amazing blessings can you enjoy and appreciate right now? Tell him about those!