Discontentment is Fear {Part II}

Discontentment is Fear {part II} – Fear Can Get You Two Ways


Fear is frequently a knee-jerk response to things that happen – or more often – what we think could potentially happen to us. It’s easy to imagine all the bad things that may crash into our lives. You could lose your job. Get failing grades. Lose your hair. Burn your Alfredo sauce. Get cancer. Forget someone’s birthday. Get a paper cut – that kind that really, really hurts.

If you start to think about all the things that could go wrong, there’s a lot to be scared of. You can live in fear that all/many/most of the things that could go wrong eventually will, and when they do you won’t survive. That fear will drive out any contentment you have, and make sure it stays far away.

There are actually two parts to this source of discontentment. First, you think things will go wrong. Second, if (when) they do, they will destroy you.

The first part is more of an outlook on life, the preverbal glass half-full or half-empty divide. Do you expect things to go well or poorly? The workforce is being reduced, how likely am I to get one of the dreaded meetings with HR? I don’t feel well this morning, what are the odds it’s a rare malady that will cause a slow and painful death?
Or, how likely are good, pleasant, beneficial things? We say things like: “I never get the lucky breaks” believing others have better odds than we do.

The second part reveals more of what we think about this world. The question is: how much do we think they will hurt us? What we expect the damage of these situations reveals more about our beliefs of contentment than what we think the odds are. This second aspect is “OK you might lose your job/get sick /be fired/burn your sauce/crash your car…so what?”Do you think you can recover? Will that crush you? Will this negative outcome destroy you or not?

Do I believe losing my job means financial ruin for my family, which means our lives are destroyed and my identity is lost, and I’m a loser, and everything will be horrible forever?


Will losing my job mean massive financial hardship, but our family will always be family, and worst-case scenario we have to move in with someone until we can find work, but we’ll be OK in the long run?

If we allow fear to cause us to view the future through a dark lens that paints everything as a potential catastrophe, we’ll never be content in the present.

Remember last week we looked at how God repeated “do not fear” – so if we believe he is both good and powerful, then we have to believe whatever potential problems we may face, they will not destroy us.


If you don’t already know about this – go check out the Lent devotional series from the Center for Christianity, Culture, and the Arts at Biola University.

They produce a devotional series every Lent and Advent. I’ve been following them for several years now, and I find myself looking forward to these seasons partially due to these thoughtful combinations of word, music, visual arts and faith.


{a prayer by Mother Theresa}

Prayer for the Shaping of Desires

Deliver me, O Jesus:
From the desire of being esteemed

From the desire of being loved

From the desire of being honored

From the desire of being praised

From the desire of being preferred to others

From the desire of being consulted

From the desire of being approved

From the desire of being popular.

Deliver me, O Jesus:

From the fear of being humiliated

From the fear of being despised

From the fear of being rebuked

From the fear of being slandered

From the fear of being forgotten

From the fear of being wronged

From the fear of being treated unfairly

From the fear of being suspected

Jesus, grant me the grace

To desire that others might be more loved than I,

That others might be more esteemed than I,

That in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I decrease,

That others may be chosen and I set aside,

That others may be preferred to me in everything,

That others may become holier than I, provided that I, too,

become as holy as I can.


Talk to you next week!