Why Feeling Unhappy Can Be a Positive Force for Change

Discontentment is a feeling that we all experience at some point in our lives. It can manifest in many different ways – feeling bored with our routine, dissatisfied with our job or relationships, or simply feeling like something is missing in our lives. While discontentment is a negative emotion, in that it can indicate a mistrust in God, it can also be a powerful force for change and personal growth. In this blog post, we’ll explore why embracing discontentment can lead to positive outcomes, and how to channel those feelings into action, while avoiding unhealthy discontentment that serves only to bring us down.

It’s great to have a growth mindset and a desire to improve your life. However, discontentment can become unhealthy when it leads to a constant feeling of dissatisfaction and a belief that nothing is ever good enough. When discontentment takes over, it can lead to negative self-talk, comparison to others, and a feeling of hopelessness. It’s important to recognize when discontentment is becoming unhealthy and take steps to address it.

Sometimes the Lord may cause us to feel a little discontended because we need to change something in our life. We become discontented with our job before we think about looking for another one. Being discontented with our looks or the way we feel, can cause us to make healthier lifestyle choices. A little discontentment nearly always precedes an important life change.

Healthy vs. unhealthy discontentment

But what happens when we cross the line from healthy to unhealthy discontentment?

Contentment is a mindset. The contented person realizes that no one has everything in this life and is thankful for what God has given them. They get a little discontented at times when they don’t like something about themselves or their surroundings and decide to make a change. They get excited about that change and start a new project, diet, class, etc. with enthusiasm and look forward to a good outcome.

Unhealthy discontentment is feeling gloomy because we can’t get what we want and we become depressed or cranky. Perhaps we don’t have the funds or means for something we desire. At times like this, it helps to remember that the earth belongs to God and everything in it and accept that it may not be meant for us to have it at this time.

A lesson from old

dirty prison cell
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The apostle Paul said that he had learned to be content in whatever state he was in. (Philippians 4:11) He was in some pretty bad circumstances during his life, including being beaten and in prison more than once. How did he maintain such contentment?

First of all, he knew he was in God’s will. After his Damascus Road experience where Jesus told him exactly what He wanted him to do, Paul obeyed. He spent the rest of his life bringing Christianity to the Gentiles. Unfortunately, everyone didn’t like what he was doing and he ended up in prison. But Paul accepted his fate as part of God’s plan for him and took advantage of his situation. Some of the best letters that we read in our Bible today were written from his prison cell.

Secondly, Paul knew that this earthly life wasn’t all there was. He realized that he was just passing through and was looking forward to his forever home in eternity.

We live in a fallen world. No matter how hard we try, things will never be perfect here because we weren’t created for this world. We were created to live in a world with God where everything is perfect. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t strive to be our best while we are here, but keeping that truth in perspective will go a long way in avoiding discontentment.


The power of gratitude

old lady with a huge smile on her face holding a piece of fruit out to God - obviously grateful
Photo by Italo Melo on Pexels.com

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by discontentment, thank God. Gratefulness is the best antidote for discontentment. We don’t let our children have everything they want and neither does our heavenly Father. But He does promise to give us what we need.

We sometimes tend to have a sense of entitlement and begin to focus on what we don’t have instead of what we have. By simply changing our mindset to become thankful for all the blessing in our life, our spirits will soar. Start thanking God for the blessings in your life one by one and you won’t get very far down the list before you are feeling happy once again.

God gives us each different talents, abilities, and resources. When you find yourself envying someone else, ask yourself if you would like to trade their entire life for yours? The answer is probably not. We tend to envy another person’s possessions or attributes without stopping to think about the things in their life that aren’t so great.

Total contentment

While we will never be totally free from discontentment in this world, we can work to be as contented as Paul by realizing this is not our eternal home, focusing on our God assignments here on earth, and being thankful and grateful for the blessings God has given us.

Of course, the first place to start to achieve true contentment is by accepting Jesus as the Lord and Savior. If you’ve never made that decision, do that today. For as the Word says “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”

1 Timothy 6:6

Be free from the love of money, content with such things as you have, for he has said, I will in no way leave you, neither will I in any way forsake you,”

Hebrews 13:5