Discontent with Discontentment
There I was in my closet – crying. The all too familiar pitiful scene of a mascara-stained face looking heavenward, crying out to God, not understanding why His timing hadn’t caught up with mine. What was I even crying about? My current marital status. Yup, currently single. It is not the end of the world to be single. In fact, I could recount the numerous days I had offered thanks to the Lord that I was not married at that time. Regardless, there I was on my closet floor desperate for God’s Presence to help me in this time of discontentment. Can I get an “amen” from you single ladies?
If you’re like me, you’re not just saying “Amen”, but crying out “Lord, When?”
You are desperately trying to remain content in your singleness while anxiously awaiting “the One.” Discontentment is not a one-time-only deal, but it is a cycle that comes and goes almost as regularly as my female visitor each month. Being constantly surrounded by messages of contentment through relationships in the movies I see, the TV shows I watch, the music that I listen to, the books I read, the internet sites I visit, and even the people I talk to, what else am I supposed to do except thrive in discontentment until that guy comes along? Honestly, I can only quote Psalm 139:14 and Proverbs 31:30 so many times before I scream because it only temporarily patches my heartache! What if this discontentment never ends? What if I have to walk through life always facing a desire to be married, but always remain single?
As I poured out my heart to the Lord, He brought a passage to mind that I had never paid much attention to until that moment. On my knees, I opened His Word and read this:
“Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying?’ ‘They have taken my Lord away,’ she said, ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’ At this she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. ‘Woman,’ he said, ‘why are you crying? Who is it that you are looking for?’” (John 20:10-15)
Now is this not a perfect picture of discontentment? A woman crying bitterly because Her Savior has not only died, but is met with the horrific thought that His body has been taken away! No closure; no true mourning; only despair. Enter the Savior of all humankind. Jesus asks a challenging question, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
So, who am I looking for? The issue is not that I’m single. The issue is that I long to be loved.
Let’s be honest: How many of us want to be married for the sole purpose of reflecting the picture of Christ and the Church? Now, that is definitely part of it, but I would venture to say that most of us single women truly want to be married because we believe it will bring love, happiness, and fulfillment into our lives. Is that sinful? Hardly! But, take a look again at what Jesus confronts Mary with: “Who is it you are looking for?” Mary may not have been crying because of her current singleness, but she was broken, nonetheless. Jesus is confronting Mary in the middle of her discontentment with the reality that He is who she is looking for. Her tears matter to Him, but she need not cry so bitterly, for He is risen! If that is not enough for our hearts, then I believe we forget who rescued us out of darkness and brought us into His light (Colossians 1:13). If Jesus ever becomes not enough, then I have completely forgotten what I am called to.
Ok, great! You might be saying. I know I am in Christ. I know I am saved. Hallelujah! But, Bethany, that does not help me with having to face singleness! You got anything better?
In the midst of those moments, when it feels like you cannot escape the loneliness, the fear, and the discontent, take great comfort in the knowledge that your Savior notices.
He noticed Mary in all her brokenness, in fact, Jesus met her where she was, but He did not leave her wallowing in self-pity. Instead, Jesus challenges her to discover who her heart truly belongs to and encourages her to respond.
The next time you hear someone say they are engaged, or even dating someone, and it takes everything within you not to cry, scream, get jealous, or just be angry, remember that it is a choice to dwell in that discontentment. It will be your choice to look up at Jesus and either reply, “I am looking for You,” or to walk away saying, “I am looking for someone else.” Again, it is not wrong to desire marriage – marriage is a gift and a blessing. But, discontentment does not reflect our God. Discontentment reflects our fleshly tendencies to desire the things of this world more so than the Savior Himself. This, in turn, results in a reflection of distrust and denial of who Jesus in nature. If our goal is to glorify the Lord with everything that we are, do, and say, let it be our goal to walk in faith.
Let it be goal to believe that when Jesus asks, “Who is it you are looking for?” He is presenting Himself as the answer to His own question.
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 (NASB)