When Discontentment Threatens, Look for the Beauty (It’s Always There)

Beauty often remains hidden … until we look for it.

I love winter. (Now don’t hurl tomatoes, or something worse at your screen as you read this!) There are a number of valid reasons why I feel this way. I think you can relate to at least some of them:

  • It’s generally a slower time of year; we’re often forced to slow down due to the weather—at least in the Midwest (see, you appreciate that too)
  • Sipping hot tea on a cold night curled up under a warm afghan
  • Warming oneself in front of a fireplace
  • More time to gather with family and play games or read together
  • The beauty of the morning after a snowstorm: the brown and gray hues of tree branches accentuated by the bright white of the snow
  • Cross country skiing on a cloudless moonlit night
  • Wearing warm and comfy fleece—tops and socks
  • The many fun things to do in the snow and on the ice that is not possible or is costly during other times of the year: building snowmen and snow forts, playing broom ball, snow skiing, sledding, creating snow angels, making and eating snow ice cream, icicle fights
  • Sunlight reflecting off icicles
  • Winter provides moisture and other factors to ensure future life and growth

Okay, you get the idea. There is beauty in winter, lots of beauty! But often due to the hardships that also accompany this less-appreciated season, we lose sight of its gifts.

We lose sight!

Hyperfocused on the Negative

We lose sight because we’ve become hyperfocused on the negatives. But that’s hardly surprising. Take a few minutes to critically listen to media or those around you.

Recently on our local Christian radio station, the announcer chanted a little ditty about wanting the snow to go away. At first, it irritated me because there are things to appreciate about snow.

But then it dawned on me, in our culture, we voice our dislike about something without acknowledging a corresponding blessing all the time. In other words we have become experts at griping and grumbling.

This announcer was simply doing what comes naturally to so many of us. 

Hear me on this. It’s okay to acknowledge a disappointment, but when we camp in that disappointment we’re asking for discontentment to grow. And we’ve made an art out of camping in gripe-city!

But dwelling on our dislikes and dissatisfactions is a habit that blinds us to any good that might actually be there.

Dwelling on our dislikes and dissatisfactions is a habit that blinds us to any good that might actually be there. Refocus on God's goodness and notice the beauty tucked within. Click To Tweet

Sure, with winter comes cold, slippery conditions, less sunlight, more hassles. But winter also brings those wonderful blessings I mentioned above.

When we take the time to couch our disappointments within such blessings, we walk through our winters with far more peace and joy.

When we take the time to couch our disappointments within blessings, we walk through our winters with far more peace and joy. Click To Tweet

Seeing the Beauty

At the time I heard the announcer dissing winter, I was driving slowly into work. Our local school was cancelled for the second day in a row.

During most of the first 23 years of parenting, I had been the one to stay home with the children. I loved it. But with my new job, it more often falls to my husband to stay with our daughter and youngest son during cancellations.

Disappointment accompanied me on my drive. Yet this time I refused to let it remain.

So I acknowledged its presence and then reminded myself how lovely the snow was. How blessed I had been to be home with my kids for so many years. How grateful I was to have paid work I enjoyed.

With those simple reminders, gratitude began to grow where bitterness had threatened.

So what’s the answer to seeing beauty in the harsher climates of our lives? What’s the antidote to discontentment? Refocusing on the goodness God always provides!

Not Changing Our Circumstances but Changing Our Focus

What if we commit to not only seeing, but voicing, the goodness … the gifts … the beauty that always exists because of our Lord? How would that change our circumstances?

It wouldn’t, not one bit.

But it would change us! Refocusing on positive aspects would shift our attitude from one of unrest to one of peace, from dissatisfaction to contentment.

To see goodness in an unwanted situation we must move our hyperfocus from those things we dislike to Jesus Christ in all His glory with all His promises. Beauty always exists, even in those longest of winters. 

So when you find yourself complaining, pause a moment to assess the situation. Shift your focus from the disappointment to the fulfilled promises of Jesus. End your gripe with His goodness.

It won’t change whatever mess you’re facing, but it will help you get a glimpse of God’s grace and the beauty He’s provided in that mess. And sometimes that’s all it takes to stop discontentment from spreading its bitter poison.

Always end a gripe by proclaiming God's goodness. It won't change whatever mess you're facing, but it will help you get a glimpse of His grace and the beauty He's provided in that mess. Click To Tweet

So let’s all become experts at noticing beauty, replacing growing unrest with the peace of Christ. After all, as God’s children, we certainly have much to be grateful for! 

And although winter may never become your favorite season, you just might learn to appreciate it a little more.

“Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Psalm 23:6, NASB

Reflections: Are you prone to grumbling? Next time you voice a dissatisfaction, refocus on Jesus and a blessing He’s provided. You may be surprised at how it changes your attitude and your vision! 

By His grace ≈


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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

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