Holy Discontent: What It Is and How It Could Reveal Your True Purpose

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Almost exactly a year ago, I watched a sermon that changed everything in my journey to discover purpose. 

It was during the cool down session of an exercise video by Faithful Workouts. The leader, Michelle, started talking about this idea of holy discontent and how that can point to ways you can serve God. I was intrigued, so I looked up the original sermon she mentioned by pastor Bill Hybels. Before I knew it, I had watched the entire 40-minute sermon.

I was completely enthralled by this idea of holy discontent, that something I am passionate about could actually point to my purpose in God's kingdom. As I began to unpack this idea and dig deep into my own heart (and God's), I learned a few things about finding your purpose.

Today, I'm sharing the meaning of holy discontent and how it could reveal your true purpose.

How Holy Discontent Could Reveal Your True Purpose

Since I highly recommend watching the sermon for yourself, I won't spoil the fun part of Pastor Hybels' storytelling here. He also wrote a book called Holy Discontent: Fueling the Fire That Ignites Personal Vision. Another great option to dig deeper! But I do want to share some important takeaways with you, too.

What is one thing that you can't stand?

In his sermon, Pastor Hybels uses the story of Moses in the oppression of Egypt as an example (Exodus 2:11). Moses saw the oppression of his people and it was something he just couldn't stand. He was moved to action and eventually led his people out of Egypt.

Our "firestorm of frustration" generally comes from something in our lives that we witness that moves us deep inside. There's something that when you see it or hear about it, you just can't stand. Maybe it's the homeless population in your city that breaks your heart. Or perhaps it's the inner city kids who just need to be loved that stirs your passion.

Maybe it's not a feeling at all, but rather a fact that irks you deep inside. Like the fact that plastic bags that Americans throw away wash up on the shores of countries halfway around the world. Or the fact that thousands of kids around the world go hungry every single day.

What is the one thing you can't stand? Take some time to really think about this. You may want to grab a journal and start listing your thoughts. I can tell you my first idea evolved greatly into what I eventually realized was my holy discontent!

God's heart aligns with our hearts.

As you're thinking about your holy discontent, remember this:  Moses encountered God at the burning bush (Exodus 3:2). God saw Moses' passion for his people. God saw everything Moses saw happening to them, and He couldn't stand it either.

I'm willing to bet there is something in this broken world that stirs a passion within you. It may not be oppression, like for Moses. But it could be injustice. Or poverty. Or someone who is missing out on the love of God.

Whatever your passion may be, God sees it. He sees everything you see happening around you, and he can't stand it either.

The moment of the burning bush is this beautiful encounter where God's heart aligns with ours.

God is looking for you!

There are many examples in the Bible of holy discontent. Bill Hybels mentions several in his sermon. What's important to remember is that God has created each one of us for a unique purpose. There is something in this broken world that we, through the power of the Holy Spirit, can help to make right.

God is looking for you, dear sister. He knows the passion in your heart. He knows the holy discontent you're going to discover. In fact, this is probably why you've had some of your life experiences - to point you to your holy discontent and ultimately to your true purpose.

Take a look back at some of your life experiences. What moments or seasons really stand out to you? What have you overcome? What accomplishments are you most proud of? These are all things that could be related to your holy discontent.

Simplicity Challenge

Every week, I like to share a quick action step that is designed to help you simplify various aspects of your life or business. This week, we're going to reveal YOUR holy discontent!

1) Start by listing what you can't stand. Get a list of 5-10 things to get yourself warmed up. If you only come up with 1 or 2 really big ones, that's perfectly okay! You're actually probably really close to your holy discontent already :)

2) Next, make a second list of your passions. It can be things you love to do, but also think about what causes or charities you are really passionate about. Do you love to volunteer for a certain organization? Write that down, sister!

3) Then, create a timeline of your life's major events. Start at birth and work your way up to today. Look for a theme across these defining moments. See how you can trace God's fingerprints throughout your life story. After all, it's also his-story.

4) Finally, it's time to put it all together. Place your lists side by side. What common themes do you see? Look for common denominators or related items that work well together. Or maybe they're connected because of your unique story.

God's hand has been at work in your life. And all along, he's been working to reveal this passion, your holy discontent, to you. So, don't just let it sit there. Don't run away from this. Instead, press in. Get closer to your holy discontent. It may be a bit uncomfortable, but I encourage you to learn as much as you can about it.

Even if you're unsure what to do with your holy discontent, that's okay! Maybe all you need to do right now is just be still. Start with prayer - talk to God about your passions, your holy discontent. Your purpose may not become clear right away, and that's okay too. God often reveals things to us one step at a time. He calls us to walk in faith - and pursuing our purpose is a huge step of faith.

If you need encouragement or some guidance in finding your holy discontent, feel free to reach out via the contact page. I worked through my own holy discontent last year, so I would love to help!

Once you complete this week's Simplicity Challenge, be sure to share your holy discontent in the comments below!

In His grace,