Dealing with the "Not Enough" of Discontent

10:55 AMHeather

Yesterday, I waxed poetic (or tried to) about the issue of discontentment.  I'm calling it out as a major issue in our lives, and I hope you're ready to join my battle cry against it and to move forward to a fuller, richer life.  I believe with all my heart that being aware of and being diligent to fight against discontentment will result in life changes.  Huge.  Monumental.  

There's this tiny seed of excitement growing in me about this.  And, I cannot wait to share today how God has watered that excitement with some fresh insight.  I pray it hits you as hard as it's hitting me.

As I said yesterday, I think many of us suffer from discontent.  I heard from many of you bloggy friends just how true that is.  Yep, many of us have a serious case of the "not enoughs."  The symptoms include feeling as though you don't measure up.  Feeling that something is lacking.  Feeling nearly a frenzy to catch up, make up, get more, do more, be more.  It's paralyzing and it's exhausting. 

Today, I gotta share with you the ZINGER that God has zapped me with regarding this "not enough".  Are you ready to be as convicted as I am?

So, I was driving car pools yesterday, contemplating this "not enough" mentality that plagues me.  Sorta turning the whole thing over in my head, letting my mind wander.  Then, there is was, smack dab between the eyes.

I have a big problem with not enough, that's for sure.  I look at myself and my life and see "not enough" in so many ways.  But, the root of it?  The very beginning of it?  The very place that is screaming for attention in order to deal with it?  

The "not enough" is really not about me.  It's that I don't believe God is enough.  I don't believe enough in his provision, his grace, his mercies, his goodness, his timing, his wisdom for the best, and that he is for me.  I think he doesn't provide enough, doesn't care enough, doesn't hear me enough, doesn't answer enough, doesn't forgive enough, doesn't complete me enough, doesn't know enough.

Oh, I don't REALLY spend time thinking, "You know, God is just not enough."  Good grief, that I would ever admit that or say that out loud.  Crazy!  (Course, I just did...here and now).  Nope, the truth of it is that it's not so much a conscious thought as it is obviously a belief somewhere in me, demonstrated by the doubts and uncertainty with which I continue to wrestle.  Manifested in my "not enough" mentality that feels as though something is lacking.     

I wrestle with concerns and worry about finances.   I lack trust that He will provide enough.

I wrestle with prayers that I've prayed repeatedly, with near fever pitch at times, sorta giving up hope that they'll be answered.  I don't really think He hears me enough.  I don't trust him enough to listen.

I'm frustrated with the waiting season for some prayers to be answered.  I think he's not wise enough to have a best answer in the best way in the best timing.

I replay problems in my mind, questioning things and my ability to cope with them.  I don't believe He can guide me enough.

I doubt my abilities, my purpose, my goals, my strengths.  I don't really believe that his plan is enough.  Or that His paths are enough.

I struggle with relationships and past wounds and feeling fulfilled and heard.  I don't believe His love to be enough, or his grace to be enough.  

What about you?  If you were to get really honest--brutally honest--where is there a "not enough" in your life and how does it relate to your beliefs or doubts in God's position and abilities in your life?

I've stumbled on a devotion reading plan through my YouVersion Bible app on my iPad.  I won't say as luck would have it because I know God ordained it.  It's the "She reads truth" devotion plan, and it has me squarely eye-to-eye with a follower of Christ who seemed to conquer his struggles with "not enough."

Writing from prison, Paul says:
  

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.      
Philippians 4:11-13  

Hmm.  Imprisoned.  Certainly mistreated.  If you know anything about the life of Paul, he faced a LOT of circumstances and "any and every situations."  So mysterious--this "secret" to being content?!  Please, please, Paul!  Give us the step by step way to be content.  Spell it out for us!  

 Verse 13 tells us that Paul can do all things through Him who gives him strength.  Not fresh insight to you? Let's look at it more closely.

(1) He believes--no, he KNOWS, he is confident, without a doubt, that he CAN do all things through Him who gives him strength.  He cannot be shaken and has no reservations about God's "enough" to help him do anything.  He was unwavering in his confidence about God's strength and God's ability and God's personal best interest in Paul's eternal gain.  Period.  End of story. 

(2)  He turns to God in all the things he does.  He says, "all this through HIM."  He doesn't try to do it on his own strength. He's realized that his human ability is not enough.  So, he fills the gap in all he does by turning to the One who he believes is enough.  I think this shows us that Paul surrendered daily in every detail of his life to live on the power of Christ alone, through His Holy Spirit.  He was yielded 100%, all day long, constantly turning to face every moment through Him.

Let me tie this up with a bow for you, just I feel the Lord has done for me.  Paul had this "not enough" thing figured out.  In him, we see an example of a regular, everyday natural man who was able to live in a supernatural way.  Paul was an ordinary man.  Who lived in extraordinary life.  He faced the battle of discontent--of "not enough"--and he conquered.   He learned the secret to being content in any and every situation.

I believe one more passage connects to this Philippians section and beautifully highlights more of this secret.

  Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Lest we forget that Paul also faced trials, we are reminded that he had some sort of thorn in his flesh.  The type of struggle that left him pleading with the Lord to take it away from him.  Maybe it was a physical issue?  A financial problem?  A relational problem?  Whatever it was, it was something ongoing that plagued him.  And, in his wrestling with the "not enough" of the thorn, he found the answer.  He found that God's grace was sufficient.  

Let me say it again.  Because I need to hear it again.  Forced to deal with some sort of "not enough," Paul wrestled it through to find that God's grace was sufficient.  Paul faced his discontent head on.  And, there, he found what we all can learn when we reach the end of ourselves and we turn to Christ.  When we get real and honest and lay it all out for God about our struggles and our weaknesses and our "not enoughs."

He is sufficient.  He is enough.  Our "not enough" moments are the opportunities to see how He is enough.  That's the simple and beautiful message of this 2 Corinthians passage.  

And, so, I give you today this challenge, as I give it to myself.  Continually pray for eyes to see the discontent and "not enoughs" in our lives.  And be disgusted by them, eager to root them out.  Consider how exactly you are doubting God's "enough" in those areas.  Get real enough to connect the dots on how your "not enough" struggles relate to your beliefs about God's "enoughs."  And prayerfully ask Him to help your unbelief.  Ask Him to help you remember to do all you do through Him.  Confess your "not enough" doubts about him, and ask him to show up big and strong in those weaknesses and help you believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is sufficient.  Ask Him to blow your mind with just how "enough" He is.  Then, sit back and rest in His sufficiency.  Oh, that we would learn and grasp and stand on the truth of just how "enough" He is for any discontent we are facing.

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