Friends, I have a confession: I’ve been struggling with jealousy and discontentment a lot over these last few weeks.
Often it seems built in to my hardwiring. It’s just so easy to look at the people around me and compare stages of life, what we have, our different personalities — basically every possible thing that can be compared!
One morning after waking up AGAIN with that feeling of discontentment and anxiety, I decided to sit down and remind myself of some always-true truths.
1. I don’t HAVE TO HAVE a certain thing or HAVE TO BE in a certain stage of life within a certain timeframe — or ever, really.
There’s no pressure. No timeline. In my current stage of life, it can sometimes FEEL like my husband and I should already own a house. Or already have kids. Or have either of those things within a certain timeframe. But we don’t.
God knows what is best for us. Whatever the timeframe. Even if there is no timeframe.
2. I have a unique opportunity RIGHT NOW within my circumstances and position.
It’s easier to constantly look ahead than to dig deep and make the best of your current lot. But if you think the next space you’re in will be better, well, that’s malarky.
You’ll spend life always looking for the next thing rather than being present in the here and now.
Which is too bad, because this is the space where God has placed you! You can do something here. You can learn something here.
It’s not an accident! Don’t wait for the next phase or circumstance to BEGIN your life.
3. My value and worth isn’t tied to doing things or my own productivity.
This is a tough one for me. I can often feel like I’m falling short. Like I’m not doing enough or being enough. (I hear that’s a common struggle for many women!)
But that’s a lie. My worth is secure in the fact that God accepts me through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
The work is done. I can’t add anything to it. I have worth for one simple reason: I am His child.
4. I don’t have to LOVE my job to live a joy-filled, purposeful life.
I’ve worked at a number of jobs over the years, and I remember having a mild epiphany at one of my less-than-favorite positions:
“If I can’t find a way to be joyful here and now, I will never find a way.”
Look, every job has challenges and frustrations. Some people may wake up LOVING WHAT THEY DO EVERY MOMENT, but that’s not most people. (For the record, even when I’ve had jobs I did enjoy, I never really woke up that way!)
I wouldn’t recommend working in a toxic environment or at a job you ABSOLUTELY DESPISE. But in most situations, you can often still find a way to live a joyful, Christ-centered and purposeful life amid the circumstances.
Remember, success as a believer isn’t an ideal job or a perfect career trajectory. The chief purpose of our lives is to glorify God and to delight in Him forever, wherever we are working.
5. It’s OK to feel however I feel. I don’t need to yell at myself for having feelings!
All I need to do is ask the Spirit to help me take thoughts captive and to react in godly ways. That and that alone is my responsibility.
Sometimes doing that will make feelings change. Sometimes it won’t. If it doesn’t, God is still faithful and will give me the strength to live in godliness, regardless of my feelings.
But getting angry at myself for feelings just heaps on the shame and starts a downward spiral.
Take a breath. It’s OK to have feelings. Just don’t bow to those feelings with your actions and reactions.
6. Stop stressing yourself out by expecting yourself to meet EVERY SINGLE NEED you see. That is impossible.
Friends, we live in a broken world, and need is EVERYWHERE. Sometimes I feel like collapsing after reading one news story or one Facebook post.
But that’s because I am forgetting something. God is VERY BIG. And I am not doing this Christianity thing alone! I have millions of brothers and sisters who are also serving God and seeking to meet the needs around them.
I don’t have to do EVERYTHING. I don’t have to meet EVERY NEED. I just need to be faithful to the ones God is placing in my path.
Sometimes that looks like making an action list of small, intentional things I can do each month. Other days, it just looks like asking God to open up my eyes to see the needs in my path that I can meet.
7. God is in control. Not me.
This sounds like one of the pat Christian answers, but I don’t write that to dismiss whatever is going on around me.
The circumstance I’m in may be terrible. The feelings I’m struggling with may seem insurmountable. Everything around me may be denying God’s power and sovereignty.
But I can still breathe it in deeply and remember that the God I serve is the same God who holds together our earth. He is the same God who is keeping my heart beating right now. He is the God who formed the world by THE WORDS OF HIS MOUTH.
When I truly breathe that in, I can begin to rest. To rest in His love and in what He has done. And to rest in the knowledge that even when I have no idea what is going on, He understands. One day all things will be made right, even if it is not this day.
What are some truths you remind yourself of when you’re struggling with anxiety or discontentment?