Scrolling through social media can often leave me feeling like I live a boring, frustrating life, while everyone else has it together.
Wow, they are going on another vacation to Hawaii?
Her whole house is clean all of the time. How does she do that? Mine is a wreck.
She bought a new car? Didn't she just get a different one last year?
The list goes on and on. And it's not just on social media that we're tempted to think this way. It's with everything. Everyone seems to have more than we do, and everyone seems to be in a better season of life than we are. But the truth is, these feelings of discontentment have been experienced by every single person who has ever been born, even by the people you see on your social media feed. There is always more to be had. There is always someone who seems to be doing better than we are. There is always something to leave us feeling discontent. And if we dwell in these feelings too long, they can stifle and suffocate us.
But how do we overcome them? How do we get ourselves out of a rut of self-pity and be faithful in our day-to-day lives instead of only longing for what is coming next? Below are a few tried and true ways to get you out of the self-pity cycle.
As clich√© as this phrase sounds, sometimes the easiest way to cure feelings of discontentment is to write down blessings the Lord has provided. And if you're anything like me, you need to see these blessings often, so you are constantly reminded of them. Maybe you could make a gratitude wall in your house with sticky notes, or you could even hang up a chalkboard to record all of what God has done. My husband and I spent an evening writing down ways God has been faithful to us throughout our marriage on stones. We used sharpies to record these short testimonies on some rocks I grabbed from my local craft store, and then we placed them in a decorative basket in our dining room. When we pass by the rocks, we remember. It is our memorial in our home to who God is and what He has done.
Another easy way of practicing gratitude is to write down a couple of things you are thankful for from the day. We all go through seasons where our pain or loneliness is overwhelming, but there is always something we can thank the Lord for, even when things seem dark. When you practice gratitude, your heart will begin to fixate on what God has given you instead of what you do not have. Looking for His blessings to you lets you see how He has been at work in your life.
Remember Your Inheritance
When you are consumed with what you do not have, you forget what you already possess. And for the Christian, Christ has given you every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3). The Lord has adopted you as His child because of your union with Christ, and you have been seated with Him in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:5, 2:6). As you carry out the rest of your life on earth, the Lord has placed His Spirit within you as a seal of your salvation, and He is a "down payment" of your inheritance to come (Ephesians 1:14). In Christ, we have everything we need. Every desire of our hearts can only be filled in Him. And when we experience trouble in this world and the longing for pain, suffering, and hardship to be over, we must remember what our future holds. A day is coming when Christ will return, and we will reign with Him forever.
Accept the Ache
But in all of our discontentment, there is a piece of our longing that will never go away because it reminds us that the world we live in is not our forever home. We ache as we are physically without Christ, and we will experience this ache until He returns. So as you experience discontentment in your day, there are ways to practice contentment with what God has given you, but there will always be an ache for what is to come. Every disappointment, failure, and unmet expectation reminds you that we are not yet in eternity. And once we are there, our hearts will perfectly be at rest.
So rehearse what you are grateful for and remember the inheritance you have in Christ, but know that until you are with Him, you will face some discontentment. But every moment of discontentment is a reminder of the contentment that is coming. And because of that contentment, we can have peace in our current circumstances, and we can thank the Lord for them. They are what God is using to sanctify us and prepare us for the day we are finally in His presence again, and once we are there, we will no longer know discontentment. The ache will cease, and we will be filled with inexpressible joy.