Bill and I are in such a wonderful place right now. He is only working one full-time job. He’s home by 3:45 four days a week and by 10:15 on Fridays. He makes good money and has good benefits. And we hope to buy a house in the fall. We also have two beautiful, fun children and we’re debt free. All we’ve known during our marriage is working constantly (weekends included), being in debt, moving around a lot, being tired, and not seeing each other often. We should be on cloud nine, right? Not exactly. Actually, we’re both very discontent.
Don’t get me wrong, we are almost always discontent because of our sinful hearts, but this seems different. I think it is coming from the Holy Spirit. Maybe I should instead call what we’re feeling conviction or a stirring. When Bill stepped down from vocational ministry, we were sure we were doing the right thing (and we still believe stepping down for a season is good), but we have gotten too comfortable. God is exposing our hearts, showing us that we were seeking after peace and comfort and prosperity apart from him. Instead of seeing financial stability and daily regularity as a means to serve God, we see them as an end in themselves. We have the easy life now with everything we ever thought we would want. Yet, we are both going through a huge spiritual drought that we sincerely hope God is using to draw us back to him.
For a few months now, we have both been impacted greatly by things we’ve studied during our morning quiet time, sermons we’ve heard, books we’ve read, and things people have said, but for some reason we’re having a hard time feeling passion for God in all his glory. God doesn’t seem like a reality to us. I have to be honest in saying that we are scared. We earnestly want to desire God, but though we pray for it so, so, so often, God has not given exactly what we thought he would give. This is definitely causing us to cautiously evaluate our lives. I say cautiously because there are examples in Scripture when God took blessings away even though the subject had done nothing wrong (as with Job, for example), so it’s dangerous to automatically assume we’re being disciplined. However, I’ve never had a heart like Job is descibed to have, and I certainly don’t feel bold enough to claim I am righteous. We both see our sinfulness everywhere.
Here are two things we see as possibilities. They go hand in hand. One, we are not serving enough. Or perhaps it would be better to say that we’re not serving anyone at all other than ourselves with our selfish desires. We are not helping those who are hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison (Matt. 25: 31-46). We are not earnestly seeking to tell others about salvation found only in Christ. The Bible constantly and consistently calls God’s people to a life that is filled with outward actions that verify and testify about the inward realities of changed hearts. How can we understand Jesus’ love if we don’t daily display that love and go out of our way to reach people? Our lack of service shows our unwillingness to humble ourselves and become like Jesus in every way.
The other possibility is that we are being like Jonah, running from the calling God has given us. We like the easy life. We don’t really care about the path we’ve been called to as long as we make good money, have a mini-van, and live in a house with a half-acre lot (preferably bigger) and playground in the backyard. We know the giftings and the calling Bill has received, yet we’re not following them. In the name of “taking some time off to mature and grow in godliness,” we’ve firmly planted our feet in the American dream, slowly drifting toward the frivolity and futility of the world and away from the God who saved us.
It has been suggested to us that we should just be content with where we are, because God placed us there; we should understand that he is pleased with us and loves us. It’s certainly true that he loves us and is pleased with us because we’re clothed with Christ. But we are still disobedient children living in the flesh, “prone to wander…prone to leave the God we love.” And we think we’ve wandered. We may be totally off the mark with all of this, but we do know we need prayer from those of you who love us. We are afraid and discouraged, and we need as much support and encouragement we can get from all of you. Also, please feel free to point out tendencies you see in our lives that might be getting in the way of a rich spiritual life. We want our Jesus and the purity He calls us to!
Courtney (with Bill)