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Bored with Divine Geography, Part 1: Discontent with God’s Sovereignty

September 8, 2010

Is it possible for a human to be bored with the divine?

For those who know me (know I am a Christian), don’t worry I’m not bored with God.  I am constantly amazed at God, both what I know about Him and what I am newly discovering.  But sometimes I wonder if when we humans get discontent we are really just getting bored.  Let’s face it, in this consumer, fast-paced, gotta-have-it-now, “is there an app for that” economy it’s nearly impossible to enjoy anything for more than a few days.

We all go through seasons and times in our lives where we bounce from one hobby or like to the next.  This month it’s all McDonalds.  Next month it’s all Burger King.  Today it’s Starbucks.  Tomorrow it’s Dunkin Donuts.  This year it’s playing tennis.  Next year it’s all golf.  It doesn’t matter what it is, if it can be bought and consumed we can grow tired of it quickly.  The new wears off almost as fast as we obtain it.  It makes me wonder if this is one overlooked reason as to why so many marriages today are failing and ending in divorce.  Because the spouse/s got so bored and discontent with a lifestyle of routine, familiarity and sameness that they didn’t know how to compute the unchanging nature any more and had to move on to the next “greatest” thing.

Unfortunately, it’s this Western American “grass is greener on the other side” mentality that is crippling us.  It’s a self-inflicted wound too.  We did this to ourselves.  And like most American trends of culture and lifestyle, this wound has affected the religious world too.  The church, more specifically followers of Jesus Christ have seen their fair share of this too.

When I look at my own Christian life of following Jesus, I see a messy pattern of contentment and discontentment.  Discontentment is really just a big word for boredom.  And boredom stems from laziness, idleness, selfishness, and discouragement.  I find that when I get discouraged and focus on my discouragement, I’m being pretty darn selfish.  When I get to focusing on my self, I get immobile for some reason.  And the more I sit and wallow in my own “poor ole me” pit, the more lazy I get.  The more lazy I get the more bored I get.  And then I get discontent all over again and the deadly cycle repeats itself.

As this cultural habit continues to pound the church of Christians, it affects the mission our God has called us on too.  And this mission God has called us on places us in certain places around the globe.  I firmly believe that God has mysteriously, sovereignly and personally called each Christian to a certain location on earth to fulfill His mission there at that time.  So God specifically calls a specific person to a specific place for a specific reason among a specific people in a specific way.  I think God is very purposeful.  Acts 17 in the Bible proves this as Paul tells the Athenians that God has ordained the very dwelling places of man in such a way that he will desire to find Him.

But as this Christian begins to understand this strange geographical ordination of God’s mission, he should grow to become more fond of it.  On the contrary I have found recently through conversations with some of my closest friends and dear brothers in Christ a sort of groping and longing to fulfill God’s mission somewhere else.

Since I am a natural skeptic I easily chalk it up to simple discontentment.  However as I begin to understand that God is mysterious in His sovereignty, there is a strange balance between accepting God’s geographical ordination with contentment and on the other hand desiring the fullness of that contentment even if it means moving closer to His more perfect location for us at a given time.  That’s a mouth full.  In a nutshell what I am saying is that we can be both happy with where God has us while desiring a more complete perfection of His will for our location.  A paradoxical happy with the present yet longing for a better future.

The challenge in all of this is discerning our hearts in the matter; mainly by asking tough questions:

  • Why am I discontent?  Is it because I can’t accept God’s location for my life here or because I’m not really where He wants me?
  • Am I really just bored?
  • Am I too hard to please?
  • Are my expectations unrealistic or too high?
  • Am I extremely fickle and indecisive?
  • What am I really searching for?
  • Are my goals selfish?
  • Am I truly longing for where God wants me, no matter how desirable or undesirable the location may be?
  • Am I giving in to the culture’s tendency towards “the grass is greener on the other side”?

These are tough questions that deserve honest answers.  I think finding the answer to most of these will reveal a lot about a person’s heart and motives.

So to answer my first question about whether it’s possible or okay for a human to be bored with divine geography:  I think it’s possible and depends on the heart of the person.  As a Christian truly seeks God’s will for his life, he will naturally want what God wants.  This will lead to a good discontentment that pushes the Christian to want more of God’s goodness for him.  But if this Christian is giving in too much to the microwave, have-it-your-way, “I’m an artist and need to express my individuals’ artist integrity” mentality then it may not be good to be bored with God’s divine geography.  It may be a test of their heart to reveal what they really desire:  God’s will or their will.

I’ll explain where I’m taking all of this in part 2.

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