There is a silent thief among us. It creeps in, whispers, and steals from us. It’s name is discontent. Targeting three areas of our life, discontent robs and strips us as we sit by and basically invite it into our homes, minds, and lives.
I’ve said it often to my children and can see me now. My finger was pointed at them, a stern motherly frown in place, while I uttered these hopefully life-altering words, “You should be happy with what you have and not complain. Be content and satisfied with __________.”
From the size of cookie they were handed to the number of chocolate chips it contained (of course first carefully scrutinized and compared to their sibling’s) discontent would crowd their little minds and all they could see was that they had been cheated. When I handed out cookies, I wasn’t trying to cheat one of my children. I was simply making sure each got a cookie and was satisfied with their treat.
As parents, we never intend to “cheat” our little darlings. We are doing our best to serve each of them the same thing, in the same way, with the same heart of love. But as youngsters, they struggle to see that…..
until they learn a valuable lesson.
One of the first things my 3 sons and 1 daughter learned was not to compare what they were given to someone else’s portion, to be thankful they received a treat, and that if they couldn’t gladly accept without comparison what they received, they would lose what they were given.
I know….I was one of those mom’s. If a child was unhappy with their cookie, I didn’t give the youngest the smallest. Nor did I get out my tape measure and cut each cookie precisely into perfect pieces making sure no one got a crumb less than the other. And I didn’t dig out chocolate chips from one cookie and add to another to make sure they all matched in number. Heavens, I had better things to do with my time!
Like teach my little ones to be content with what they have.
And the ones who taunted “Mine’s bigger!!”….well guess what happened to them? They lost the “bigger” treat and either went without or took the smaller one. (Yeah, I was a meany.)
But goodness gracious, I couldn’t stand listening to their cookie comparisons because if I allowed them to continue in this vein of thought and conversation with each other, then ultimately, the child with the slighted cookie was the least loved, most unwanted one of all the children and was on the verge of believing his once loving parents never conceived him or gave birth to him….he was the one adopted!! Not really a family member after all and deserved the smallest cookie!!!
If you have raised children or worked with them or been around a group of young kiddos for more than 10 minutes, you’ve probably seen this in action.
It honestly grieves me to see a parent work so hard to perfectly get each portion doled out equally, to the crumb, while their children look on to make sure mom and dad don’t cheat them.
See where I am headed with this???
Like a silent thief, discontent sneaks in and steals. It touches three main areas of our lives.
- Discontent steals from our relationships. We begin to look around at the people who ONCE were the most special human beings on the planet to us and we do what is so very deadly. WE COMPARE. No longer are they good enough, strong enough, smart enough, handsome or pretty enough, funny enough….whatever our “enough” is, they just aren’t IT anymore. Because we COMPARED them to _________. DEADLY to any relationship.
- Discontent robs us of our joy. Once upon a time, the ugly shag carpet wasn’t so bad, because it was the carpet that covered the home of our dreams, our first little house we lived in together, and now the house looks like a slum because the shag carpet is too shaggy, too orange, too ugly, too old….and definitely not like THE NEIGHBOR’S CUSHY BERBER CARPET! The wait for the new carpet then becomes too long, the style too outdated, and we criticize what we have, what we once thought was wonderful, though not perfect. Criticism works along side the thief of discontent and before long, NOTHING is right and good in our homes or jobs or relationships. All of our possessions are not good enough, not costly enough, less than somebody else’s, and they sure aren’t something we take pride in any longer. We criticize the good out of everything we once held dear and precious.
- Discontent clouds our thinking and turns our thoughts to selfish, critical, judgmental, dissatisfied, unhappy musings. And those types of thoughts taint EVERYTHING we say and do and rearranges our once happy and content minds, turning them into swirls of lies. Most of those lies sound like this: “I’m not good enough for _______” or “They’re not what I want anymore. They don’t make me happy.” Or something like this: “I deserve better!” and “I will find _________ to make me happy, because it’s what I need or want!”
Sadly before we know it, we are struggling with feelings of unworthiness or the polar opposite, a sense of superiority to all people and things in our lives. We fight daily with competitiveness, needing to prove something, striving for more/better/bigger/greater. Our focus turns so inward that we miss the joys and blessings that surround us daily.
Discontent children turn into discontent adults.
But I have some great news…..this cycle can be broken!
Start with the cookie story.
- STOP COMPARING your cookie to everyone else’s! Instead be thankful for what you were given! Enjoy what you have. See the good in it!
- STOP CRITICIZING your stuff and your people and your jobs! Turn your criticisms to compliments and your judging to praise. Thank God for your people, your possessions, and your positions! Though at times difficult and imperfect, they are gifts if you look for the treasures there.
- STOP BELIEVING THE LIES that discontent whispers. I always advocate that we need someone to be truth-speakers in our lives. Get your truth-speaker to remind you of what you have forgotten and what you no longer see.
So many times, life will be that “mean parent” and take away the cookie you were ungrateful for, you know, the one that looked smaller and had less chocolate chips that the other person’s. DON’T LOSE WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN OUT OF UNGRATEFULNESS AND DISCONTENT!
Instead, let’s be like this….
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic so please comment below.
Thank you for reading my musings! I appreciate my readers!
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