Growing up my mom encouraged us to fully embrace each stage of life. “Don’t try to grow up too fast,” she often said. As a mother of young children, she counseled me, “Enjoy this time with your kids, you’ll have plenty of time to pursue other interests when they’re older.” Her words had a lot of wisdom. They still do.
As a child, and even as a young mom, I believe I heeded her advice pretty well. Yet recently I’ve found it difficult to settle in to this phase of life. Some days I feel restless. Some days I want more. If I let the feelings linger they turn into discontent. For me, this discontent seems to say, “There’s something better than what I have today.”
The truth is, that’s not true.
Now, I believe the desire for “more” was placed in us by God. Scripture says “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
This verse tells me that this life is not all there is and this world is not my home. A longing for more is ultimately a longing for our heavenly home. It’s a longing to be with Jesus and for the fully glorified state in which God created us to live.
But what about now? What about the restlessness you might struggle with at whatever your stage of life? As I walk this out, I’m comforted by the words of Paul, who writing from prison! said:
“I have learned to be content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:12).
How did Paul learn to be content? For one, he endured circumstances in which anyone could become extremely discontent. Trials and struggles present an incredible opportunity to know that Jesus is exactly who He says He is. He is enough to satisfy the deepest longings of our soul.
In realizing this world was not his home, the things of this world didn’t have a hold on Paul.
He didn’t have what we call FOMO — a fear of missing out. Paul had something else. Paul sought and had intimacy with God. It’s what he wanted above all else:
“I consider everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]” (Philippians 3:8).
I love the depth of that passage in the Amplified Version. Knowing Jesus more fully and clearly is of incalculable worth and to our supreme advantage, far beyond what we now realize. It’s a priceless privilege, one we should never take from granted, but seize and treasure.
Because Paul sought and had intimacy with Jesus he could instruct us with great wisdom:
“Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6).
Godliness breeds contentment, because godliness is simply a deeper level of experiencing and being transformed by Jesus. I’m speaking loudly to myself today, and hope to encourage you in your times of restlessness as well, practice Way #26 of 52 Ways to Glorify God:
Deal with discontentment quickly.
Realize the root of your desire. I can promise you, Jesus is what our hearts really long for. We’ll never be satisfied when we’re focused on and trying to satisfy ourselves. We were created to glory in and be in relationship with the One True God and His Son Jesus Christ.