WAVES OF DISCONTENT (at home)
First Wave: Just before my first daughter was born I announced to my boss that I would not be returning to work after delivering. I was going to be a stay-at-home mom. My husband and I were excited. We had prayed about the decision and believed strongly that God wanted me to be home with her — to love her and teacher her and nurture her.
I was expecting the Labor and Delivery to be hard. What I wasn’t expecting was how hard it was to be home alone all day! We had just bought a house that needed a tremendous amount of work. My husband was anxious to get it done so we could move in. So, every day he’d come home from work, get a quick bite to eat, and run over to the new house to paint and renovate. Then he’d come back home to our apartment late, go to bed tired, and start the whole process over again the next day.
The result was that I felt very much like a single mom. Changing diapers, feeding, rocking, etc. was all up to me. My daughter was colicky, and I was over-tired and lonely. I was used to chatting with my friends at work throughout the day. Now there was no adult conversation — just me and my little pumpkin all day long. The apartment was a mixture of silence and crying. No stimulating work for me!
Second Wave: The second wave hit me when we started homeschooling. My daughter made it very clear she DID NOT want to be homeschooled and tried to prove her point by stubbornly refusing to do her work all day long. I had 3 other little ones under 5 at home. One was being potty-trained and one was a newborn. The house was filled with a lot of chaos all day long! My work was not stimulating or exciting. It was tiresome and difficult. I missed heading off to work each day. I missed working hard on something and feeling the thrill of seeing it done, knowing that I had done a good job. I missed making my own money. I missed the regular conversations I had with my colleagues. I missed the opportunity to feel “self-actualized.”
Third Wave: The third wave came upon me recently. My kids are older now. They do so much of their work independently. My youngest is in sixth grade. I spend a small percentage of my time actually instructing them. Much of my work is just checking their work. Wouldn’t it be nice to go back to work part-time? To spend time working with other adults? To go home at the end of the day feeling like I’ve accomplished something?
But …. I’ve prayed about it and God has closed each door I’ve tried to open. No Gwen, I don’t want you to go back to work just yet. Who will drive your kids to all their activities? Your kids aren’t ready. It’s not time yet.
I love homeschooling. But sometimes, many times, I do get tired of being at home, of teaching them day after day. If staying home is God’s plan for me, is it normal for me to feel this way? Is it normal to not always like what God’s calling me to? To not always want to keep homeschooling?
I believe it is. As I look through scripture I find numerous examples of God’s people who experienced waves of doubt, of weariness, of discontent:
- Moses: Moses got tired of hearing the children of Israel constantly grumbling and complaining, blaming him for their troubles. At one point he cried out, “What am I to do with these people?” (Exodus 17:4)
- Elijah: Elijah gave himself a pity party, claiming he was the only one doing what God had told him to do. (1 Kings 19)
- Jeremiah: Jeremiah complained he was too young. (Jeremiah 1:6)
- Jonah: Jonah didn’t like the work God had given him to do, and tried to go a different direction. (Book of Jonah)
Each of these men wanted their circumstances to change. They weren’t happy with the plan God gave them. Each time I’ve experienced discontent I’ve felt the same way. But each of these men learned contentment not when their desires were fulfilled, but with their acceptance of God’s current plan. In the same way my contentment will grow when I accept God’s present plan for me as well. Rather than looking to the other side for greener grass, I must plant fertilizer and flowers in the grass I have, knowing the Son will cause growth and His Reign will bring beauty in my garden home.
Philippians 4:12-13 “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Psalm 131:2 “But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.”
Copyright February 6th, 2014 by Gwen Fredette