It can slither, creep, crawl, or tip-toe right into your mind and then burrow deep within your heart. Before you even realize it, something pure and innocent can transform into something dark and ugly, while never changing out of its pretty package.
At least, that's how it happened to me.
That's how discontentment took root in my life again.
It surprised me. Shocked me.
I mean, how can something other than gratitude take hold of my heart when I've spent the last six months counting gifts and choosing joy?
But there in the middle of Target, between the florescent-lit aisles of picture frames and home decor accents, it hit me. And I had to admit it.
Out loud. To my husband. "I am discontent."
From the evidence of the last few weeks, he was quick to agree.
It started right after our move. We unpacked boxes and found new homes for dishes, toiletries, and clothes. My husband hung hooks by the front door and my calming lily canvas over the white chunky mantel.
As we found a place for everything in our new space, we saw a need for a few new things. A basket for shoes so we can attempt to keep the beautiful wood floors clean. Curtains to fit the long window in the boys' room. A welcome mat to wipe our feet.
Then the oven we inherited was broken so we invested in a stainless steel stove. And for the last eight and a half years we've crowded around a small hand-me-down's hand-me-down table, so we also put some Christmas money toward our first new dining room table--a purchase with a purpose--a heart for hospitality, future gatherings of family and friends.
And there was the adorable shelf my husband surprised me with. He knew I wanted something for the void on the bathroom wall and this was the perfect fit. Hooks for the boys' towels. A spot for some added decor. A shabby-chic finish. I loved it!
Oh, and maybe some place mats for the new table and mats for cold bathroom floors.
Nothing too extravagant. Not overly excessive.
But the problem wasn't in the things. The problem was in the seeing. My seeing.
Because I started to see only the holes.
A blank wall that needed art. A bare floor that needed a rug. An empty nook that needed an overstuffed chair. Each time I identified a hole in my house, I allowed one to fester in my heart.
The blessings I once saw faded another shade each time I focused on my longing, my lack. Soon all the pictures of thanks were too faint to see.
And going to amazing places like Home Goods and Target infected the wound further. At every turn I saw another basket or mail organizer or wall hanging or pillow or whatever other artfully-rusted, chalkboard paint-painted, burlap-embellished I-gotta-have-it accessory for my new house. "That would make this room so much more functional and that room so much more inviting," I thought to myself.
And while browsing didn't turn to buying, I was still selling myself out.
Letting my joy slip away.
Instead of keeping my eyes fixed on God's grace-gifts, I allowed greed and ingratitude to steal my focus. That wasn't my intention. But that is what happened.
And then I remembered the very words I chose to frame and perch on that new rustic shelf:
Yes. My heart remembered, too.
The cure for discontentment? Giving thanks.
The antidote for ungratefulness? Gratitude.
And the echo of Ann's words from the storehouse of truth in my mind became a balm for this self-inflicted wound on my heart.
I can still have joy."You can have joy any moment you turn hidden greed for more into honest gratitude for now."
The truth is, discontentment snuck into my life even when I thought I was doing everything right.
The truth is, I don't have to stay in this discontented place.
My attitude, my outlook--my choice.
Yes, instead I will choose gratitude. I will keep learning the secret of being content in any and every situation. (Yes, Paul says contentment is learned. So discontentment must be unlearned.)
I will do both by giving thanks.
Thanks for the hands that hung the shelf. Thanks for the silly smiles peering down at me. Thanks for a work of art, beauty, Truth. All clear pictures of God's gifts of grace.
Ahh, yes, and always thanksgiving for his Amazing Grace.
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Linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee for the first time to #TellHisStory.
Visit The Pleated Poppy to get this free Give Thanks printable...a beautiful, needed reminder for every heart.