Feeding the Frustration…
Wow, what a title for a chapter in a book about taking action to do God’s work…your “holy discontent.”
I don’t know about you but when I get the robo-call from the Alabama School for the Blind asking me to buy light bulbs, a visit from a young man trying to sell “miracle cleaner” or when I see the commercials about the poor starving kids in Ethiopia, I sometimes don’t want to participate.
I guess it is natural; we turn away from what makes us uncomfortable. Maybe the school needs the money, and the young man looked poor and probably needs funds to live and of course the kids appear very forlorn as they stare into the camera begging me for a check so they can have food.
But I get off the phone quickly, I may not even go to the front door and I switch channels to local news.
Bill Hybels says not to do that with your “holy discontent;” he says move toward it, get close to it, and expose yourself to the need that is bugging you. If you are feeling discomfort, that’s ok. That discomfort may just spur you on to action.
I am going to give you a personal example. It is born from recent months, the months following an accident where I broke my pelvis. I should not dwell on this period of my life because it was pretty difficult. I hurt a lot. I had limited mobility. I had to sit most of the day for three months.
Why do I return to it for my example? This period in my life taught me a lot. I don’t want to forget my lessons even though my wife thinks I dwell on this time too much. She wants me to move on.
Following my accident, of course I could not drive. The doctor would not allow it. My wife was my chauffer.
Many times she would drive me by the corner of Lover’s Lane and Lafayette Road. I would turn my head to the corner and see a horrible collection of trash. You know the usual stuff, paper, cups, beer and whisky bottles but even the road signage was bent downward, which added to the ugliness of the corner. I don’t know who owns the property but it looked awful. It was not my property to clean up but it bothered me. For three months I drove by the corner and I could do nothing about it. I could not even get out of my car except with the aid of a walker.
I knew I had to do something about this and I pledged I would after I recovered enough to be able to walk. It was a simple example of my “holy discontent.”
When I recovered and was cleared for driving, I drove past this trashy corner a lot. It was on the way to town from my home. I began slowing down and looking at the trash every time I went past that corner. When was I going to clean it up?
I could not get away from it. It was there every day. When I slowed down and really looked at this location, it disgusted me more than ever.
But why do it? It was not my corner. I am not sure people would approve of my efforts.
But I was pledged. I was convicted.
Finally, I took two large garbage cans to the location and started picking up the area. The garbage was nasty and there was more in the grass than I could see from the road. There was a ditch and it was full of pizza boxes, beer cans and bottles. I was not sure I could do it due to my diminished strength but I took the road warning signs and pushed them straight up so they looked like they were supposed to look.
As I was working, several people drove by and looked at me or rather stared. I did not worry about them. I just concentrated on the task at hand. I filled up the trash cans and headed for a public dumpster. As I left the area, I looked back and saw that I had done some good.
Was this a significant “holy discontent?”
Not really. It does not rank up there with devoting a year to being a missionary in Haiti or trying to save the orphan children of Nepal but it was a step forward for me.
I did not turn away from it. I exposed myself to the need, I got close to the situation and I finally moved toward the area.
That is what Pastor Hybels says we should do about our “holy discontent;” when we have a conviction to do something, don’t turn away. Walk toward it.
I have other pledges I have made to myself and I look forward to fulfilling them.
My wife is right. I probably dwell on my recent infirmity too much.
As Pastor Hybels recommends, maybe I need to expand my world and find other areas of “holy discontent?” They are out there waiting for me to discover them.
I will but I will never forget my corner…a small spot on this earth where I did some good.
And satisfied my “holy discontent.”