There are times in life when your giftings far exceed your station in life.
You are a gifted artist, organizer, event planner, teacher but currently you have been placed in a job, house, circumstance that needs none of your giftedness. And not only does it not need your giftedness; it doesn’t even acknowledge you are gifted. You work all day accomplishing tasks while somewhere in the back of your mind you fight against the thoughts that scream you are smarter, more capable, and possess more talent than what your daily circumstances require.
This creates a tension between what you think you can do versus what you actually do every day. You probably feel the tension way down in your soul. The tension that screams at you that you were created for more than filing papers, changing diapers, disciplining misbehaving kids, organizing someone else’s calendar, getting people coffee.
This tension is only magnified if you open social media where your feed is full of posts telling you to dream big. If you just dream it, it will come true. If you just work hard, start your own company, sell a certain product, or lose a certain amount of weight that tension you feel will disappear.
Even our Christian friends point us toward products or ideas or blog posts to help us relieve our tension. But those things just create more tension.
So how do we relieve this dissatisfaction? This turmoil in our souls that make us yearn for more than what we have? This unsettled feeling that tells us we aren’t doing life right and there’s something more.
As I’ve studied the scriptures, there seems to be one big solution to our tension problem.
First, our problem has a root, and the root is simply a lack of complete trust in God. Oh, we might and probably do trust Him a whole lot. Maybe we trust Him completely with our finances and our kids and maybe even our time, but our future? I mean in so far as I am ok if what I am currently doing is my forever future because I trust God? Let’s be honest. When we feel that restlessness in our soul, its hard to believe God is in control and what we are currently experiencing is His best for us. We want to grab the reins, work a bit harder, change our circumstances, whatever it takes to get rid of that tension that seems to scream at us.
But yet scripture seems to give us the opposite advice. We read in Philippians 4:11-13:
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
The scriptures say nothing about dreaming big, going fast, or making more money. It states nothing about your giftedness or talents being recognized so you can feel fulfilled. It doesn’t talk about working hard or being satisfied with your job.
Instead, Paul, the author of Philippians, speaks of trusting God more. Trusting God to give you the strength to live through the tension is the “secret” to contentment. As you learn to trust, you can accept where God has you currently, and the truth that you are exactly where you need to be at this moment in time.
Second, our problem is a result of hating weaknesses. Finding contentment isn’t easy for us, and it wasn’t easy for Paul either. In fact in 2 Corinthians 12 Paul tells us he was struck with a thorn in his flesh to keep him from being conceited in his giftedness. He begged God to take this thorn away. He begged God to change his circumstances. But God said no. God said Paul needed the thorn EVEN THOUGH it was a bit of a tension in Paul’s soul.
If I had my bet, Paul more than likely struggled with this weakness. He was an important guy, a teacher, a leader, someone people looked to for advice. Having a weakness might limit his credibility. Right?
Paul’s eventual response to this weakness was what curbed his discontent.
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
He embraced that thorn and allowed God to use it to make Paul more dependent on God. Just keep reading the New Testament to see all God did through Paul once Paul embraced that thorn and submitted to God.
That tension you feel in your soul? That could very well be your “thorn” for this season of your life. That tension could very well be your opportunity to learn the secret of being content.
Dream big, work hard, sell whatever you want to sell BUT, as you start 2017, realize those dreams, that work ethic, the money you make won’t take away your tension.
The tension is God’s little gift to you to point you back to Him. The ONE who you can trust, who has a plan for your life, and who is molding you to be more like Him.