“Now is the winter of my discontent.”

Shakespeare, as usual, provides unbeatable phrasings for the deepest thoughts….

Discontentment really is a soul-winter. It robs you of joy; freezes over the warmth of soul and life that ought to throb and remind you of what’s worth living for.

I am thankful that Paul said, “I have LEARNED in whatsoever state I am in, in that to be content,” because I’m thinking this whole “contentment” deal is a tough thing to swallow sometimes.

Of course, anyone who resides in a comfortable air-conditioned (or heated) house in a safe suburban subdivision in the richest nation on the planet has not right to complain about anything. Ever. But it’s wound into my heart. The disease goes all the way to the core…

Ever since I’ve been a kid, I’ve felt a wanderlust that’s hard to suppress for long. Guess that’s no surprise for someone who spent the middle 14 years of my life (so far) expecting to live most of my days in a foreign country doing missions work.

Usually I can pacify my lust for new places and tasks with summer travel or the occasional overseas jaunt (and I’ve been unusually blessed in that department so far).  I don’t ever really lust for new people.  I’m happy to meet them when they come along, but my personality profile essentially contradicts what would be required for a good church planter. lol  Jack’s got all the “people-gene” in that department.

But I’ve rarely done the same thing for longer than a few years. Even my 9 years at the library were divided into 3 student worker years, 2 as a shelving/circ GA, and 4 as reference librarian — totally different departments, totally different to-do lists.

Teaching is a blessed profession as far as variety goes — no two classes are alike; no two days are the same. Your lesson plans are as far from “set in stone” as one can get without being just downright laughable. I doubt any experienced teacher truly follows a lesson plan. Well, I guess the science & math people kinda do. We humanities people fly by the seat of our pants every week. I have a destination in mind and a general flight plan. Zooming around the obstacles and taking advantage of the motivatational up-drafts makes teaching far more of an “art” than “science.”

Yet here I am, generally discontent.  Eight years is a long time in one place, methinks.

So. The winter of discontentment.
I look out the metaphoric window and see dead trees, piles of crackled leaves, bleak skies, and a cold front moving in. Colors dull themselves against a gray backdrop. The landscape seems all too familiar.

Is it wrong to genuinely enjoy your job, yet want to leave it?

Is it a failure to lack any motivation to invest “in a new batch”?
[That question scares me . I’ve lived for so long with the deep pool of emotions stirred down to the very bottom, I don’t know how to handle this new state of surface-level concern. Frankly, it sucks. But that’s a whole ‘nother post, and not really worth posting.]

…thankful that God’s love is constant. His colors never change.

…It always costs something

“We may feel anger, as God does. 
We may feel hurt, as God does. 
We may feel disgust, as God does. 
Love not only allows these feelings; it requires them.” 

~Leslie Leyland Fields

… best statement of this aspect of love I’ve ever seen. Thanks, Camille, for finding this.

When you really start to try to love people, you quickly realize how incredible God must be as a Person, because we really don’t have any idea at all how much it COSTS to love someone who is imperfect.

Anything anyone has ever done to hurt me pales in comparison to what I have done to the Lord, or do to Him accidentally every day.

I get offended when people in whom I’ve invested repay me with malice, or betray my trust, or try to manipulate my emotions, or regard me as irrelevant until they “need” something…. but I do those things to God all the time.   I get frustrated easily and decide “loving people just isn’t worth it” … but God doesn’t give up on me.  I get tired of experiencing “grace always costs the giver” … does He?

So much still to learn.

A Life of “Becoming”

This life is not godliness, but growth in godliness;

not health, but healing;
not being, but becoming;
not rest, but exercise.
We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way;
the process is not yet finished, but it has begun;
this is not the goal, but it is road;
at present all does not gleam and glitter, but everything is being purified.

 

Martin Luther
[A Defense and Explanation of All Articles (AE 32:24)]