Addicted to Discontent
Philippians 2:14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may . . . shine as lights in the world.
When my addiction came to light, I had to leave the emergency room and for months, could not practice medicine. Appropriately, I had to go to treatment if I ever wanted to get back to work. After treatment, there were numerous hurdles to overcome. For several months, I did not know if I was going to ever practice medicine again.
During that time, I prayed and promised God that I would never again complain about going to work. I was eventually blessed with a fantastic job, but three years later, I still find things to complain about. I love my job, but at heart, I am lazy. I have forgotten the misery being unemployed and some days, I just do not want to work.
It is my nature to focus, not on the privilege of working, but on what I want to do right now. It’s so nice outside. Why do I have to go to work? I know I need a paycheck, but right now, I just want to sit on my couch and watch football. It is my nature to be discontent with what God has given me as I have an insatiable appetite for what I want right now.
Paul, in today’s passage, insisted that I deny my destructive nature. Knowing my propensity for self-focus and immediate gratification, Paul said that I must consciously choose gratitude over discontent.
This, after all, is the only cure to my chronic discontent. As with any destructive thought, I must take it captive and kill it. Does this thought point me at God or at self? If I find I am complaining about my job, I must consciously choose gratitude instead. In doing so, I point myself and others to God.
In my grumbling and complaining, I focus on me. In my gratitude, I turn to God. Daily, I need to choose to be thankful for the good God has given me. Daily I must refuse to give in to the destructive self-focus of discontent.