If only I had more money. If only I had more time. If only I knew how this would turn out. "If only" makes us miserable.
It's a dangerous game. It ruins our joy and steals our contentment. It wastes our "now" as we hope for more. Stephen Altrogge has written about the "if only" problem in his book, The Greener Grass Conspiracy, and the misery that comes from playing this game. While we are waiting and hoping for the next big thing, we allow our lives to slip past unlived and unloved.
So why aren't we content?
Is it our circumstances? Our genetics? Stephen answers with:
"The problem is me. I am my own worst enemy. The raging, covetous, discontented desires come from within. They're not the product of my circumstances, and the desires won't be satisfied when circumstances change."
We create idols of our wants, even good things, and then become consumed with gaining and achieving them. When we don't get what we feel we deserve, we blame God and accuse him of not being fair or good.
This is where things get serious. Our complaining, discontented spirits, not only leave us unhappy, but are an offense against God. God loves us and works all things for our good.(Romans 8:28) He is sovereign and has chosen every event in our lives. When we accuse God of being unfair or unkind, we attack his character. We make him out to be a liar. That he doesn't or can't keep his promises. We slander God when we don't get our way.
So how do we fix this?
We need to find our contentment in God himself. We need to constantly remind ourselves how blessed we are in Christ. We need to focus on the eternal and not the temporal. We need to encourage one another.
Stephen Altrogge has provided us valuable resource in our quest for Christian contentment. The Greener Grass Conspiracy, skillfully and clearly diagnosis the problems, and then leads us to the cure through scripture, to Christ. Sadly, unhappiness is rampant among Christians today. I pray this resource would find its way into the hands of the suffering and lead them to joy. This is one that should be read and re-read often.
I'd like to thank Crossway for sending me this free copy for review.
Here is the video trailer for The Greener Grass Conspiracy.