Your unorthodox dream, off-beat idea, ridiculously tiny risk, or impractical next step is becoming harder to ignore. It is more than a passing thought now, it has a shape, a voice.
It breaks into your heart without even knocking. Stealing your attention, your focus, and your safe and routine life. With two, little unsophisticated words- what if- it starts painting pictures in your mind.
Immediately you feel guilty. Ashamed for even entertaining its question. But you can’t shake the feeling, the hunch that there might be more to your life than this.
What if…it convicts you. Has being thankful become a crutch? An excuse of sorts to stay put, not ask, or dream, or dare to hope beyond what I already possess?
Aren’t I supposed to be content, cultivating gratefulness for all I have, living in the moment, practicing presence?
Yes, keep growing in thankfulness, my friend, but be careful not to smother discontentment either.
Those two little words, what if, press lightly on the inside of you, just enough to arrest your attention in the kindest way. What if, the voice of discontentment, arouses your hunger and curiosity, awakens the emotions, those lurking desires, you try so hard to stuff down all week.
What if…it takes you down a long, winding road, and leads you straight into the unknown, beyond the edges of your familiar spaces.
You don’t really want to go there. But you give in. You follow its trail, the scent of heaven wafting through your heart. You feel, for a moment, that you might be onto something…something good.
You make it around the first corner and you gasp. You’ve only wandered a short distance and already the view is staggering!
It’s a poignant, potent question, what if, tempting you with the dangers and delights of what could be.
What if you did it?
What if you tried?
What if you didn’t wait until you think you’re ready?
You keep delaying your response. Busying yourself with what needs to be done. Offering your praises, filtering out complaints. Until, it breaks in again…
I hope you realize, dear reader, you are onto something good. You know how I know? Because thankfulness and discontentment are vying for equal space within your heart; they want to be friends.
Contrary to what you’ve believed or heard, they aren’t opposites or enemies. They actually need each other. You could picture them like two walking sticks, one in each hand, propelling you down the trail to discover all the good He longs to give.
With discontentment, we whack down the walls of our comfort zones and the stagnant parts of our soul that only crave the sameness, certainty. It dares us to climb the mountains, write the words, have the conversation, ask the question, open the shop, make the choice that resonates, that brings us life, that scares us a little. Discontentment is a fresh supply of energy moving us into the abundance Jesus promised, into more.
With thankfulness in the other hand, we stay grounded in wonder and joy. Thankfulness supports us through the unknown, the fears, the risks, providing a continual feast for our pioneering heart. Each new step or season is our favorite. It enables us to sense His presence in all circumstances and stay amazed even when we don’t understand where He’s leading us.
When we grip both, discontentment and thankfulness, we find ourselves puttering happily along a path we’ve never been down before- stubbornly intent on seeing where it leads us, without care to where we might end up.
And finally, we see our unorthodox dream, off-beat idea, ridiculously tiny risk, or impractical next step for what is- a truer version of ourselves, a more alluring picture of Jesus. We let it speak, we let it guide, we respond to its question, what if…
Which comes easier for you…Do you sway towards thankfulness or discontentment?
How could you practice holding both?
Sit with the dreams, ideas, risks, steps you’ve been thinking about, then fill in the blank, “What if…”
“The invitation to sway is everywhere, do you feel it?
Yet we’re forever reaching for the clean-cut answers, the certainty of either-or, where everything feels crisp and ironed flat.
Contrary to what we’ve always envisioned, I think God dances freely, wisely between the extremes. He never picks sides like we do. Well-meaning teachers have told us compromise is of the devil, and sitting on the fence is for the mediocre, luke-warm lovers. But what if we learned to sway?”