by Rev. Brandon Dirks
I am discontent. And I thank God that I am.
Shel Silverstein wrote a profound book called The Missing Piece. The book begins with these lines: “It was missing a piece. And it was not happy.” It then goes off on an amazing adventure in search of its missing piece and discovers a deeper truth to life.
I came to Christ Church because I was discontent. Not with my previous church. But with God. After 12 wonderful years of fruitful ministry at a church I loved passionately, and loved my family and me deeply—I became restless. Why does someone become restless at a place where they are happy?
Exploring My Discontent
At first, I blamed my restlessness on my job. I wasn’t happy with some of the ministries I was overseeing; so, I worked to reshape and re-energize them. I expanded my role. I got involved in starting some new ministries, and volunteered to help with others. I passionately threw myself into preaching, and creative arts with children. But nothing settled the restlessness.
Then, I blamed my personal life. So I gave more time to family—I coached little league baseball, basketball, and a girls running team. I gave more time to my wife. Spent more time with my brothers, sister and mother. But the unsettledness continued.
Then, I blamed myself. I started a new work plan to run another marathon. I ate better, I lost weight. I saw a doctor. I saw a counselor. I took anti-depressants. I questioned leaving the ministry and starting a whole new career.
Then I read the story of Peter walking on the water about the same time I re-read The Missing Piece and something dawned on me. What if my restlessness was actually a gift from God? What if God was trying to tell me to get out of the boat and trust him enough to walk on water?
And so I listened.
I read the Bible more. I started a new daily quiet time. I prayed more intentionally. I looked for my missing piece.
One day, an email comes to my in-box pointing me to an intriguing position in Louisville, Kentucky: a position that leads a team of gifted ministers to help people take seriously their relationship with Jesus Christ.
Is Something Missing?
Have you ever felt like you were missing…something in your life, but just couldn’t find it? Have you ever had a sense that there ought to be something more?
Even in your faith, do you sometimes find yourself going through the motions–attending church but not sure why, halfheartedly singing the songs, and no longer being moved by the Word of God? Is your Sunday school class not pushing you? You still believe in God, but your faith isn’t on fire. Do you think that there ought to be something more to faith than simply going to church, making a pledge, or even reading the scriptures? Is this really all there is?
If you ever felt like you were missing a ‘piece,’ then you’ve experienced what many call a “Holy Discontent:” a longing for something more in your spiritual life. In other words, we all hunger for a deeper relationship with God and with Jesus…but for some reason, we can’t seem to find what we are looking for. We can identify with the pain of the Psalmist, “As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God.” (Psalm 42:1)
Holy Discontent is a signal from God that we have hung out in the boat long enough. It’s time to take the next step. It’s time to try something new. It’s time to move.
Holy Discontent is God’s way of telling us it’s time to grow…it is what makes the caterpillar breakout of the chrysalis, the baby bird to leap from the nest, the infant to take its first steps. For the caterpillar, the bird, and the infant…the drive is always toward…something more…even if they don’t know what that is.
But just like “It” in The Missing Piece, striving after the things of the earth will never satisfy us. The discontent will continue because God longs for us as much as we long for Him. The amazing grace of God that pushes us out of our complacent cocoons, lifts us on our first flight from our nests, and gives us the courage to walk for the first time is not something we must find, but something that finds us…we simply have to be open to it.
One thing is for sure: that deep, inner urge to stretch ourselves out in hopes of catching a glimpse of something different, discovering our missing piece, or hearing a profound truth that will change our lives is a gift from God beckoning us to come toward Him.
It’s time for you to step out of your nice, comfy, safe boat…and walk toward Jesus. You might find yourself walking on water!
What is Your Holy Discontent?
Do you long to be captivated by an amazing grace that will break you from the monotony of a ‘going-through-the-motions’ faith? Do you yearn for worship to sparkle with the presence of God? Do you ache to be a part of a community that is engulfed in the Spirit? Take a moment and describe the ‘holy discontent’ going on in your life.