The pounding of the discontentment train…

Last night I couldn’t sleep.  My heart and mind was wrapped around a lifetime of insecurity and fear.  In the middle hours of the night, I found my thoughts resting on a lonely island of imperfections and doubts, surrounded by a typhoon of the enemy’s lies.

I know I’m not alone.  The devil’s been brewing up these kind of storms for thousands of years and he isn’t jumping off that train anytime soon.  I’d bet that men and women all over the country shared in my insomnia and self-loathing thoughts last night.  The tracks of that railroad are digging pathways into the hearts and minds of most people.

We aren’t enough.  

We don’t have enough.

It is an overwhelming and intrusive throbbing when that freight train comes to town.  I don’t prefer hanging out on the deserted island of misfits, overrun by hot-steamed engines on a race to wreck my soul.  I’d rather be experiencing thankfulness and joy…maybe even contentment? (If it’s not asking too much.)

My struggle is the same endless stuff of humanity: idolatry.  I think that if my garage were wider, my pocketbook fuller, my silhouette curvier, my schedule free-er, my attitude brighter, my thoughts wiser, my body younger, my energy less ‘tired-er’…life would be better!  And to some degree, life would get ‘better’.  Yet, it still wouldn’t satisfy.  It still wouldn’t fulfill.  ‘Better’ is a lousy substitute for ‘fulfilled’.  Why do I settle?

Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”  Fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore…they are what I’m seeking in all those other things.  Joy and pleasure are what sit at the door of all those other desires and ‘needs’.  They are knocking and tapping out a rhythm on my heart that drums into my veins, pulsing and driving my every movement, my every turn.  They are the undercurrent in hot pursuit of something to fill the void in their beat.  I have tried to fill in the pauses of their cadence with worldly ideals and definitions of perfection, only to be off-beat.  When I try to meet joy and pleasure with these idols I am either rushing or lagging behind.  I never sync with their rhythm, always slightly early or late.

All these other things never satisfy, no matter how often they promise to fulfill. They will never click into the track of true joy and pleasure.

It is only in His presence that the path is made known, where joy and pleasures forevermore walk in step beside Him.  Here, with Him, a solid march is found.  Here, with Him, the tempo of my heart finds its dance and settles into the peaceful rocking of His arms.  When I am with Him, there is no gap in the song.  There is no space to be filled.  There is no need to search for missing cogs.  Nothing lacks.  He is enough.  Whether I think I am enough or not, He is enough.  For in this world, perfection will never be met.  In the midst of my imperfection, He provides contentment.

In Philippians 4:11, Paul continues to challenge me with his satisfaction despite circumstances: “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”  This world will never give me all that I want, so why do I pout late at night about not getting it, and fantasize of a day when God will ‘bless’ me with it?  It makes no sense…like a clarinet in a heavy metal band…playing in 7/8 with the guitarist in 4/4…squeaking eighth notes on a high F# while the band plays in a roaring Eb.  It’s not cohesive.

It doesn’t make sense.

If I say I trust in Jesus, I need to trust Him with everything.  My faith in Him should be consistent.  If I believe in Him, I should also believe in His promises.  If I rest in His salvation, I should rest in His daily satisfaction.

My prayer:

God, bring me into your presence, where the satisfaction of being with you sings louder than the desires of this world banging at the door.  Make your satisfaction a real thing in my heart.  Help me to see myself how you see me.  Help me to live and think in sync with your will, your path, and your love…without gap or need because all my imperfection and flaws are filled with You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.


  1. Check out 1 Cor. 12:7-10. Seems like you and the Apostle Paul have something in common! The causes of your sleeplessness are a weakness; being weak became a strength because it was the opportune circumstance to be retaught that God provides all the essentials for true contentment.
    Thanks for all your writing!

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