I recently became a homeowner here in the States after renting abroad for many years. When you purchase that new house, buyer’s remorse is real and in your face. Did we make the right choice? Did we pay too much? Did we make a wise investment? That home purchase brought on some anxiety and some dissatisfaction in the beginning, as my mind raced through all the negatives of the property instead of the positives. When you are dissatisfied, it is so much easier to sin.
In my own processing after buying our house, my first reaction was to blame. Did we buy the right house? If we didn’t, it was our realtor’s fault for not letting us put in a lower offer. It was my husband’s fault for wanting more land instead of more house. It was my fault for not speaking up more for everything I wanted in a home. Woe is me; I made the wrong decision!
Dissatisfaction that leads to blame usually leads to anger. The “coulda, woulda, shoulda” anger sets in when we dwell on the past decisions made and can’t move forward. We look at our current undesired situation and end up angry at others, ourselves, and God. Perhaps we moved for a job and the transition was tough. It’s easy to blame your spouse or the company and get angry at your new situation. God says, “be satisfied with what you have” (Hebrews 13:5) but instead, we focus on what we lack or what we think we deserve.
After blame and anger comes self-will. The “I don’t like my circumstances, so I’m going to do something about it” mentality. I’m going to assert my own will without reflecting on what others think or what God thinks. Whether this refers to a dissatisfaction in a home purchase, or a new move, or a marriage, we like to think we are in control so when dissatisfied, we make bad choices, hoping to counter our dissatisfaction.
These bad choices come from lack of counsel and lack of faith. We can’t trust that God has a plan to redeem the situation or trust that our feelings will ever change. This usually happens in marriages that end in divorce or a series of bad actions that put you in a cycle of disobedience. Dissatisfaction may seem like a minor emotion, but it can lead to dangerous sins and consequences. Beware and be alert!
On the flip side, however, there can be benefits to dissatisfaction if it’s understood and dealt with in the right way. When dissatisfied, we need to process the situation through prayer, asking God what He desires.
In terms of my house purchase, I had to pray and ask God, “Lord, how do you want me to use this home for Your glory? As is, it’s just a house. But used for You, it could be a place of rest and refuge and refreshment.” I’ve brainstormed different ways to be hospitable, to use my home for one-on-one counseling, for dinners of refreshment, for a place for missionaries on furlough or those who need a temporary place to stay.
Had I not been dissatisfied I would not have earnestly looked for ways for my home to be more than just a home. If you’re not satisfied in your marriage, for example, that should urge you to find ways to rekindle the romance or seek counseling or re-address how marriage is first for God’s glory, not your own.
Dissatisfaction, then, causes a restlessness, a yearning for improvement and renewal and sanctification. It causes us to not settle for the mediocre or mundane. God wants us to live in the joy and passion of being His disciples, of serving Him, of partnering with Him to grow His kingdom.
Dissatisfaction also reminds us we live in an imperfect world with imperfect people. Our hearts are attached to something spiritual, to something eternal that is beyond this world. We will never be completely satisfied here on earth. Our souls yearn for heaven; we seek to be with the Father, Son, and Spirit. When we are dissatisfied with this world, our eyes are fixed on eternity and we understand that our life here is temporary and we are simply on mission for God’s kingdom.
“So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).
I believe dissatisfaction is just an emotion that can be used by Satan or by God. Being dissatisfied, we can be tempted to blame, get angry, and assert our own will or we can use it as a catalyst to make us introspective and think more about God’s desires and His kingdom.
In our churches and ministries, we must listen to our own dissatisfaction and the dissatisfaction of others in a calm, collected way, even when it’s screaming in our faces or in our emails. We must ask, “What is God teaching me in this instance? How can I improve the situation? What needs to be fixed? What am I learning about sin, God, or His kingdom in this moment?” Use dissatisfaction in your midst for God’s glory, and it can only lead to transformation. Use it for your glory, and it will lead to certain destruction.