There are some people in the world who I just love to dream with. These are passionate people who can fire me up over the course of a simple conversation. My friend Jen is one of those people. When we start chatting, we can keep going for hours trying to solve the problems of the world and bring strategic help to people in need. A few months back, she gave me the book Holy Discontent by Bill Hybels, certain this book would challenge, inspire, and fuel my passions. And it’s done just that.
The entire book is built on the premise that we each have something that we’re meant to do, some status quo we’re meant to change, or some problem that we’re called to play a part in fixing. Each of us has something that bothers us, that irks us to our core, or that we can’t stand. I’m not talking about rude drivers or how that annoying person pops their gum, but a holy discontent, a righteous anger that is meant to fuel us to make a difference.
This book shares story after story of people who have searched for, found, fueled, and fought through their particular holy discontent. Bill encourages the reader to spend time with the Lord, step outside our safe comfort zones, and pursue those things he’s placed in our hearts.
One of the most challenging things in this book, for me, was the concept of risk. Though I’ve taken a lot of risky leaps of faith over the course of my life, I am, in general, a fairly risk-averse person. And, for me to take a risk, the ROI needs to be worth it. Clearly, this is something that the Lord is working on in me because life is risky, relationships are risky, and making a difference in the world is risky.
You can’t fully follow Christ if you aren’t willing to take risks—it’s just a matter of knowing the right ones to take.
“…you absolutely cannot back down from pursuing your area of holy discontent just because the risk meter registers high.” p. 83
I tend to fall into this trap of not wanting to take the leap because I don’t want to assume the risk. But, what I was reminded of while reading is that the Lord has already assumed the risk. He took the greatest risk in the history of the world by not only making us with free will but also dying in our place so that we could choose a relationship with him. Even if one person had come back to the Lord because of Jesus’s sacrifice, that ROI would have been worth it.
This doesn’t mean that we take risks willy nilly, but it means that when the Lord whispers something to us that’s scary, we can take the leap. Maybe the risk is opening up in a relationship after being hurt. Or maybe it’s deciding to tithe and trust God with your money after bankruptcy. Or maybe it’s going on a missions trip or serving at a homeless shelter or trying out for the worship team.
What is that thing inside of you that perks up in his presence? What’s the thing you know in your bones you’re called to do for the good of others and the glory of God?
Whatever it is, I hope and pray that we’re all able to take a step toward that today. For me, I’m passionate about many things, but it all comes back to an undying hatred of injustice. When I see a system, policy, or group unjustly treating people, I get enraged. One population that I feel particularly empathetic for are Muslims currently living in the Middle East. Though I don’t feel like it’s the right time for me to go there now, after reading Holy Discontent I signed up to serve in the U.S. with an organization that does work in Iraq.
I took a small step, I’m doing what I can, and I know that as I continue to take small steps the Lord will continue to guide and direct me.
“…any step taken toward the “new things” God wants to do in your midst—be it expanding your knowledge, increasing your understanding, or challenging your assumptions—is a meaningful and crucial step.” p. 112
Have you read Holy Discontent?
What is the thing you know God is calling you to do? And how are you living that out in small or big ways today?
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You know what I do to be risk-averse? I let obstacles get bigger than I need to be. I don’t flat-out say no, I just conveniently allow surmountable problems to slow me down and fall back on that “if it’s not easy, it’s not from God” lie. So thank you for calling all this out.