When we feel the urge to move on to new fields, we should pause to see if God is calling us to move forward or wait.
Author and speaker Shana Schutte wrote, “We’ve been taught to believe that dissatisfaction is a bad thing, and that we should do everything possible to avoid it. Shove it down. Ignore it. Act like it doesn’t bother us. Take a pill. Plaster on a smile. Buy something new, or decide that misery is part of ‘bearing our cross.’ But above all, don’t consider that God might be using it to make us uncomfortable so we’ll want to swim in another ocean where our gifts can shine.
“Don’t get me wrong; dissatisfaction can be a result of spiritual warfare (Eph. 6:10-12) and not an indication that we are out of God’s will. But it can also be a road sign that He has another purpose for us.”
Discerning between selfish dissatisfaction—“I don’t like this because it requires too much effort/work/selflessness from me”—and a God-given dissatisfaction can be hard.
How do we tell the difference?
When a Door Opens Up
Mary Jean had always worked hard to care for her family, but the available jobs often required her to move to a different city. Rather than try to move her children as well, she left them in her mother’s care while she was away.
Being separated from her children was emotionally taxing, but Mary Jean didn’t see any alternative if she wanted to provide for them.
One day, she was invited to a training with World Challenge’s partners. The way they talked about God and his relationship with believers was different than what she had expected. God had given his children gifts that he wanted them to use for his glory. In doing so, they blessed other people and the world. This was part of what the Bible meant in Ephesians 2:10 when it said, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (NLT).
Curious, Mary Jean signed up for classes on massage therapy. She found that she enjoyed it and was excited to do this work.
The class was assigned to offer massage therapy as a community service at the local municipal hall. At first, Mary Jean was nervous about doing this publicly, but as she participated in the work, she gained confidence. Some of her neighbors saw her there and noted that she was very good.
The class eventually ended, but Mary Jean decided to pursue massage as a career. Soon she had neighbors, her old classmates and even government employees as her clients. She took another course and earned a national certificate in traditional Filipino Hilot massage.
She soon began earning enough money to move back with her children.
Living as a Blessing
In a discussion about the worth and impact of each of our lives, John Piper sagely noted, “I think we’re all made to find our significance by being attached to the ultimate.
“All human beings are created to attach their tiny, little lives to something absolutely majestic and glorious so that their life takes on a sense of wonder and eternal significance. It takes on significance not because of who or what we are in ourselves, but because of how we’re attached to and participate in the life and purposes of the Creator of the universe.”
When we identify the talents God has given us, we then have a responsibility to use them as wisely and productively as we can. Sometimes, like in Mary Jean’s case, this can become a career for us. For others, it may remain a hobby or volunteer position we use to bless others.
Either way, God wants to use our abilities to be a blessing to the world.