Unhappiness caused by the failure of one’s hopes desires, or expectations
So the root of my pain this year is mostly due to discontentment. I woke at the beginning of this year angry that my life did not turn out how i thought and hope it will turned out. It looks like I tried really hard to built my life and I failed.
I got discouraged and wanted to give up.
One of the thing that can spurred up discontentment is the sense of entitlement
It happens to a lot of us and in a sense it can be understood.
We all have dreams, desires and aspirations and in a sense we all fight to get what we want.
But what do we do when we fail and when the dream is not fulfilled.
How do we react when the answer is no or…wait (an answer i am way too familiar with).
But sometimes because we feel deserve certain things, we decided we need to have them now. Especially in our modern microwave society we want everything we want it now. We tried our best to get rid of the concept of patience in our every day life. Our smartphones allows us to facilitate so many aspects of our life. Google gives answers to most of our questions. You order something you, can get it the day after. You want to book a ticket to see the world, you can just do it. It’s all about having your way and having it fast.
We are also more and more subject to compare each others because of social media and the internet. We are so much into others people’s lives, it is so easy to look at ourselves and feel like we are missing out. It is so easy to feel: ‘why am i not getting the same as the rest? Why am i not there yet?’
So we get frustrated and the danger of discontentment is that it can lead to bitterness pretty quickly.
So how can we deal and fight discontentment?
Changing our perspectives
The reason why the concept of positivity is so popular is mostly because when we get hit in life , our first reaction is being down; which is normal. But the thing is we let our emotions get the best of us and our judgement get clouded.
If I have a bad day i can feel like I have a bad life,
or I have a bad year so the next year will get worse.
I did not succeeded this time so I will never succeed.
I lost this game so I will lose the season.
This person hurt me so everybody else will hut me
One of the favourite things I heard in a preaching came from Christine Caine, an Australian evangelist speaker. She said: ‘Do not let any thing that has happened to you be bigger than what Jesus has done for you.’
You have meaning and your life has meaning, despite the tragedies. We have to learn how to be grateful to change our perspective.
We have to look at the goodness in our life.
Learning how to be grateful is an exercise. You have to remind yourself constantly of your blessings. Truly, they are things now in you life right now that you did not used to have but you prayed and hope for them, and now you have them. But because you have the wrong perspective, you can take them for granted. Whether it is your health, your friends, your family, your job, your house, your talents etc…Someone, somewhere is even praying for what you have.
From time to time, sit down, think or even write the things in your life that you are grateful for, whether small or big. Remembers the answered prayers you had in the past.
Additionally we have to put to death comparison. I know this one is also hard.
But you know what they say: the grass is not necessarily greener else where.
As a matter of fact, we all go through things, but we just very smart at putting filters on our emotions and lives, just the same way we do with our Instagram photos. And as much as we are conditioned to think that life is a competition, it is not. Let’s not be jealous or envious of others just because they are doing something different than us. We tend to compare our chapter 20 with someone’s chapter 50. We look at our life and compare it with someone highlights’ reel on Facebook. These cannot really be compared. Let’s learn to rejoice with those who rejoice and help each other in our different races.
Leave others grass alone and water your own grass.
So in conclusion,
Mourn the life you wanted and embrace the life you have.
Embrace the mess and the good things.
It is your story.
You grew through the storms.
You learn through the painful moments.
Adversity built your character.
We will never have perfect lives but we all have things to be grateful for.
Let’s never strive for perfection, it’s not realistic…but let always look for progression.
You are not who you were a year ago, five years ago or ten years ago.
I had a plan…But God had another one and his plan prevailed.
His plan is good, and better than mine.
I won’t probably see it through the hard times but after the storms, I always see a bit clearer, and a bit better.
I can look back and realise the beauty in my life.
So the last post was really intense. It was also very real.
I have to admit this year and especially the last past three months really broke me and I went to a very dark place.
I am currently in a uncertain, transition and silent season in my life where I really do not know what God is doing in my life.
To say the least, 2017 is the year I got tired. I woke up at the beginning of this year thinking way too much about my life and the journey. I came up to the conclusion that things really did not turn out the way I wanted. I have now been in the UK for 14 years and I had this image of my life and what I wanted it to be. Believe me I fought really hard and tried really hard to create the life I wanted. There were so many barriers to conquer and so many ‘no’ or not now and at the end I did not conquer.
So disappointed, bitter, angry, emotional, frustrated, and weary, I kinda spiralled into unhealthy coping mechanisms. I just wanted to quit everything an give up.
I had so much expectations and none of them were met. I had not achieved any of my dreams and I got tired.
But even when I let go, God did not. Even when I get tired, he did not. I got reminded that when you get tired, it does not mean you should definitely give up every thing but you should actually rest.
So after really busy month of August, I took time to recharge.
I always feels like September is like the start of the year…It is the month academic year and fashion year start so I decide to do a bit of refocus and refreshing.
I had days of doing nothing.
I declutered my flat.
I reorganise my possessions.
I digitalise my important documents.
I download and discovered new music.
I deciding to re-think the way i spend my money.
I made a vision board.
And most importantly I rested.
In that resting, God spoke and showed me that this season of frustration had a purpose. God also showed me my heart.
Years ago in one on my lowest moment, God led me to Ez 36:26
I WILL GIVE YOU A NEW HEART
I WILL PUT A NEW SPIRIT IN YOU
I WILL TAKE OUT YOUR STONY STUBBORN HEART
AND GIVE YOU A TENDER RESPONSIVE HEART
The one thing that God always wants to work on is my heart. See God revealed to me that there were still a lot of darkness and brokenness in me and He cannot bring me to a new place before He heals me.
At first I got upset.
I resisted him.
I whined about the whole thing.
I fought him.
I even ignored him.
But his strong love pursued me.
He show me that this is how he loves.
He will rather frustrate me and delay me than letting my wounds grow deeper.
Because these wounds would have caused more damage to me and people in my life.
So I surrendered. I am going to rest a bit, sit at his feet and letting him healed me, with his love.
There are moments in life when you have no idea where you are headed. You reach a point of total confusion where there are more questions than answers. You do not know even what to pray for or what to hope for.
The doors you thought were meant to open close right on your face. You are then wondering if God is distant or is just sitting silent.
I am currently in such a season. I can honestly say that my heart is weary and the heaviness is unbearable. However I am mature enough to know that every seasons is necessary for our growth and our faith. It is in hardships that our character is made and truth be told: some lessons can only be learn in the storms of our life.
So today I just wanted to share the lessons God has been teaching me in my season.
1) It is okay to cry and yes emotions are real
We ought to allow ourselves to feel emotions and feelings, as harder as it is. Scream if you have to but let it out all. Do not bottle anything and give it all to the Father: the heartbreak, the sadness, the anger, the disappointment, the bitterness…Every feeling is valid.
2) Share with someone and allow them to pray for you.
It is important to have good friends to speak to. If you have good counsel around you it is okay to explain what you are going through. Before you know it, they may have been or are going through the same seasons as you. We always feel at time that no one will understand what we are going through and they cannot really help us. At some of my lowest points, God allowed my sister, my brother and a woman at my church to bring me comfort in my period of transition.
3) Be careful to not listening to the lies of the Enemy
Remember he prowls around like a lion, and will come in different forms to try to confuse with all type wrong narratives.
“You will be better off away from God”
“He doesn’t love you”
“He doesn’t care”
“Your situation will never change”
“Look others who are not walking with him look better off than you”
Do not think that you will be better off. God covers you everyday believe it or not. Just because we do not get a notification every time that God did protected us from something does not mean he is not protecting us. Even when we feel it or not, He looks after us. Outside of his love, his protection is not guarantee and we can end up in worse situations.
4) Always remember that God is working in your heart and character
We are the clay being moulded by the potter and he is constantly pressing us to make a more useful vessel out of us. We are the diamond being refined through the fire. Our character and our faith are more important than our circumstances changing.
5) Praise him in the pain
Yes…As harder as it will be, we still have things to be grateful for and thank God for him. See I believe in the power of music and especially worship music. I have playlists of songs that usually talks about hope. Listening to them on a bad day is genuine therapy.
Praise him every time you feel your emotions racing
Praise him with music and with your own words.
6) Be patient
This one is a hard one too. I confess that I still struggle with patience; I have not much of it so it a never ending lesson for me. Situations will not resolve and change all in one go…It might take time. God works with time. I wish I could tell you when it all get better, but I do not know. I can assure you is that there is a purpose in pain and that breakthrough do happen.
It just that God’s timing is very different of ours.
There is say in my country that say that some eat at 8am, some eat at 2pm, some eat at midnight…But no one goes to bed hungry. This means that we each have our own designated time and we will all ultimately receive our answers.
It is also very tempting to compare our life and walk with others and seeing them progressing, achieving things, getting their miracles and we feel like we are not moving. Especially when we have been walking faithfully with God, serving him and we see some who just seem to have started their journey who have came back from wandering ways, getting blessed. We then feel like the other brother in the prodigal son story: “why is he being blessed and I am not receiving anything although I was here serving you Lord”. Comparison will steal your joy.
Also maybe God just want to also show us that he is our reward and just want to us to enjoy us and our relationship with him. After all, are we seeking more God’s hand or God’s heart?
So let’s be patient and praise him when it hurts. There is always something beautiful on the others side of our faithfulness.
Let him be our strength in the waiting.
At the end of us, He is there.
And all things, yes all things will work for our good.
So this year I went to Soul Survivor with the youth group of my church, Bethel Community Church.
It has now been two years that I am a youth leader at my local church. This was never something that I had planned. I joined the church in 2013 after I had some troubles with a boy (long sad story). One of my good friends used to go there and recommended it to me. I did not go to church for more that 4 years (once again another sad long story). So coming to Bethel, I had many reservations, I just wanted to hear the sermons at the time, was not really planning on staying long, talk or fellowshipping with others Christians.
But I ended up really enjoying the sermons and decided to stay. One day, I prayed God if there was something I was supposed to do in the church, in term of serving. At first, I though about joining the worship team because I enjoy singing and not to brag I am quite good at it. So like a good Christian, I prayed about it. Then one Sunday, I was approached by a member of the welcome team who encouraged me to help and volunteer at the Youth Group. I was very reluctant because I remember what I was like as a teenager and I was just a horrible human being. I was so prejudiced against young people; I did not want to be around them. But since I had prayed God, I felt compelled to go to one meeting to see how it was. One of the major things that I learned about my Christian journey is that God likes to take me out of my comfort zone and push me to take risks.
It has now been two years and I am officially part of the leadership team and this year we decided to bring the youth camping for five days at Soul Survivor in Somerset. There is the weird part; I am not one who ever thought she will be camping. To be honest I am still not a great fan of it. I do not mind doing outdoor activities as long as I can go back to my bed at the end of the day. Sleeping in a tent is not on my bucket list. If I had to tell the truth, the first night was just horrible. The airbed I had deflated and I was literally sleeping on the floor while it was absolutely freezing outside. In addition the mother of all heat wave decided to fall upon us; so staying in tent was just insufferable.
But although the living conditions were not my favourite thing, the actual festival was quite an enjoyable experience. We attended really challenging sermons and incredible worship sessions in a big tent. There were several activities and seminars throughout the day and we all bonded as a group like a little family creating memories that I know we will cherish forever. We grew closer to each other and to God. It was even decided that we would go back next year.
On my part, God taught quite some vital lessons. The principal one was that some elements of Christianity would be different from one person to another. The message is the same: we serve the Almighty God, Yahweh, who sent his son Jesus to die as a sacrifice to redeem our sinful souls. Jesus died for us and rose again. He promised to come again and left his Holy Spirit to guide us in our journey to love God and love others while being continually regenerated. This is the core message from the Bible. However I got reminded that there are some stages and levels and therefore everybody walk a different journey. Although there are similarities and we can even shares similar experiences, we are all different people. Different personalities, backgrounds, with different gifts. We even react to the Spirit differently. Throughout the Bible, there are all types of people: quiet, stubborn, strong, creative, passionate, small etc…God uses them all in their different personalities. So there are different journeys and paths, which shows even more how much our God is amazing. We are not clones and we are not robots. We are imperfect people drawn by redemption by the grace in his eyes.
The verse that stuck with me, was from the first sermon. It was Zephaniah 3:17:
‘For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty saviour. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With his love, He will calm your fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song.’ (NLT)
I love that God can and will quiet me with his love. That is one beautiful hope.
Living in the Present
I have this issue…I find it difficult to be and live in the present. I am a big daydreamer. As a child, I would sometimes just sit quietly in my room, not really responsive, and my imagination will just go off. I will daydream sometimes for more than 20 min. I was mostly imagining stories, or creating all types of scenarios of what should happen, at school or at home.
As an adult, it is different. I am either thinking too much of my past. I am analysing past situations, replaying good and bad memories, trying to make sense of something that I heard someone say or just remembering certain conversation. Or else I am trying to imagine the future or mostly worrying about it. And I stay a bit stuck between both, past and future. The present become, as a result, this moment in space where I am only there for an instant but sometimes it feels like I am not feeling it and I value it less.
My past had its ups and downs. I tend to think about the past in two ways. I try to make sense of what I have been through and how it affects me know. And if I have to be honest, I have made peace with most of the painful times, but I still cannot believe that those things still happened. I did not dream them; it was not the life of another person; it was mine. So I silently replay countless scenes over and over again. Unfortunately It bring forth all the emotions as well; mostly anger, sadness, shame and then bitterness.
Alternatively, the future is I think what I daydream about mostly. I am constantly making up scenes in my head…I prepared future conversations with people mostly. Also, I think a part of me believed that the future will be more exciting as well…Sometimes, we make plans and we are looking forward to certain future events and that is all we can see. ‘Things will be better when…I just need this, and that and the other to be happier”.
But what about now? Now has become a chore. I think that is one of the problem. When the present does not appeal to me, I want to escape it and I therefore create a future that is more convenient to me. At the moment, I think it is mostly because of the routine I am in with work at the office.
But I want, and need to stop that.
Back to reality.
The reality is now…It is what I am supposed to focus on. And after all my now will affect my future. If I want to achieve certain things in the future, I have to work at it now. What I put in now will be seen in the future. One things that I have learned in my life and in my christian walk is that life is made of seasons: some dry seasons and some more bright seasons. I have to live through both…endure the hard one and enjoy the good ones.
So I have to learn to control this mind of mine.
Sometimes one of the hardest things we have to do is controlling our minds and thoughts. My mind is never still. I feels like sometimes it does whatever it wants and I just follow. But it should not be the case.
In Roman 8:6 the Bible says: ‘So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace’.
I have to remind myself, that there is no need for me to think about the past, it is the past, I can just learn from it, be thankful that helped me grow and let go of the negative emotions and accept what took place.
No need also to imagine the future. Most of the time things tend not to turn out like I planned them or imagined them, but it is still okay. God got me and I am hopeful because I know He has good plans for me and He is Faithful.
It takes a lot of discipline. But I have to enjoy this present time, even when the present is not pleasurable. Because once it is gone, it will never come back.