The holiday season is upon us and I have been inundated with the message that I need to be thankful. And I’m sick of it. What if I don’t want to be? You don’t know what has happened to me! What if I don’t feel like I have anything to be thankful for? What if I want to be surly and miserable? Stop telling me to be happy all the time!
Real Life, Real Gratitude
Do we really need to be thankful? How do we find this place of contentment when times are hard? What’s the point? Can we just “fake it til we make it” or does is have to be real? What if we can’t seem to get to this place of contentment?
It turns out we do need to be grateful.
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever. Psalm 136:1
Even when our circumstances are not ideal.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
But sometimes we are discontent for a reason. If we were truly content all the time, we would never be prompted to change or grow. The hope we have is that our discontentment in not in vain.
…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts…. Romans 5:3-5
And we don’t have to fake our contentment. Sometimes life is just truly crappy. For real.
Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me. I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. my eyes grow dim with waiting for my God. Psalm 69:1-3 (“I sink in deep mire” sounds a whole lot like “I’m in deep crap,” don’t you think?)
But the waiting can be long, no doubt. I’m not even going to sugar-coat that for you.
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
Take a deep breath. Feel God’s love embracing you. And wait patiently for Him to move you out of your discontentment. Thankfully He loves us and we can trust Him.
Are you feeling discontent at the moment? Are you feeling discouraged? What have you found to help get you through times of discontentment in the past?