Author and blogger Doug Wills wrote an essay last week about “Miserable Wives.” Many wives might see themselves in the essay. I know I did.
The article centers on wives who are in a good enough marriage, with husbands who are loving enough, in churches that are solid enough, living on means that are, well, enough. But for some reason, these wives are still discontented.
Her discontent grows and it threads through her entire outlook, until her current mood is king (or queen, actually) of the house. The husband then begins a cycle of indulging her temper and her mercurial moods. Eventually, if it becomes an entrenched pattern, it is usurpation by the wife, who is effectively leading the house through her emotions/tempers/disconsolate outlook. This is sin.
Here is one excerpt from the essay Miserable Wives that I thought was especially perceptive:
You said that Jon isn’t meeting your needs, and that you don’t feel nourished and cherished. You said that he isn’t “feeding” you. But Jon is not failing to feed you in the midst of a famine. He is trying to figure out what to do about the fact that you have gone on a hunger strike. When Jon reads Scripture to the kids, what do you do? Are you off in the kitchen doing the dishes? Perhaps making a little extra noise?
I used to do that. Make a little extra noise. And feel perversely satisfied in doing it, too.
Here’s another excerpt from Doug Wills’ article:
The hidden assumption in this (for both you and Jon) is that you take these emotional states as reliable and authoritative, instead of rejecting them as being the most manifest and bald-faced liars. You say that you know Jon loves you, but then you say in the next breath that you feel unloved. And in every battle between your knowledge and your feelings, which one wins? You take the word of your lying feelings over the word of your accurate assessment, over against your knowledge. Your feelings are your authority, even when you know they are being deceitful.
Today I’d like to launch my main point from Doug Wills’ essay about the wifely discontent. Women today are fairly bombarded with claptrap from Women’s Ministries, female Bible Studies, and lady Bible leaders who often teach to the lie that it is OK to indulge our emotions even if they are opposed to the knowledge of what Christ has done for us and our life in Him. There are lessons which are mainly based on the destructive notion that our self-esteem, or some kind of inherent female “value” has more import than it actually does. But that is a blog essay for another day.
The main cause is discontentment with Jesus. There’s another I’ll explore below. Many female Bible teachers are explicitly and overtly teaching women to be discontent with Him. The quotes below are from women who are alleged Bible leaders. These are popular female ‘Christian’ teachers busy publicly expressing the highest and most corrupt kind of discontent there can be: discontent in Jesus.
Example #1: Priscilla Shirer explains that she became sad at the daily ‘chore’ of the spiritual disciplines such as prayer and Bible study because,
My spiritual disciplines became more of a chore, a duty, an effort. … He just wasn’t knocking my socks off anymore, and I wasn’t sure why. (source – NYT)
The Westminster Shorter Catechism says that Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. (Psalm 86, Psalm 16:5-11, 1 Peter 4:11). The Catechism doesn’t say, “Jesus’ chief end is to knock our socks off and enjoy us forever.” The NY Times author noted that Shirer’s description of her relationship with her Creator-Savior sounded more like a marriage on the rocks. Even secular people get it. Shirer was discontent with the quantity or the quality of what Jesus wasn’t doing for her. Piled on top of the Genesis 3 affliction is discontent with the affliction-giver Himself.
Example #2: Author of the perennial devotional bestseller Jesus Calling, Sarah Young, who said,
“I began to wonder if I … could receive messages during my times of communing with God. I had been writing in prayer journals for years, but that was one-way communication: I did all the talking. I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more. Increasingly, I wanted to hear what God had to say to me personally on a given day.” (underline mine. Source – Challies).
It wasn’t enough for Sarah to enjoy Jesus as creator, priest, intercessor, savior, friend, groom, provider, etc. It wasn’t enough for her to enjoy Him through His word, delivered by His own blood, the Spirit, and kept alive by the blood of the saints. No, she yearned for more. Her declaration means that she believes the sufficiency of the Bible is not enough. She is discontented with Jesus. The entire cottage industry of her Jesus Calling books is based squarely on female discontent.
Example #3: Beth Moore. source Charisma Magazine,
“We are settling for woefully less than what Jesus promised us,” said Moore. “I read my New Testament over and over. I’m not seeing what He promised. I’m unsettled and unsatisfied.“
Beth Moore. Please stop speaking. Just please stop.
Lysa TerKeurst wrote a book called Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl. In one of the chapters the question is posed, Is Something Missing in Your Life? The synopsis states:
Lysa TerKeurst knows what it’s like to consider God just another thing on her to-do list. For years she went through the motions of a Christian life: Go to church. Pray. Be nice.
Longing for a deeper connection between what she knew in her head and her everyday reality, she wanted to personally experience God’s presence. Source: Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl, Amazon book blurb.
Why is there a disconnect between what TerKeurst knew in her head and what she experienced every day? Why is she seeking an experience over that which she knows to be true? Isn’t what we know from the Bible, enough? Not for these women. And these women teach.
The issue of discontent is also rooted in a forgetfulness of who we are in Christ. Who are we? What is our purpose? As women, are we forgotten? Do we matter? Key questions, all!
“In Christ” is a key phrase. Our identity is “in Christ”. Paul wrote the phrase ‘in Christ’ about 83 times! Here is a great example from Ephesians.
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19).
Women, sisters, wives, moms, grandmoms, we are IN Christ. He is the pinnacle of all the universe. He is the apex, the majestic mountaintop, the perfect image of God. Jesus is pre-eminent. And we are IN Him.
As Wills concluded his article, he wrote, “Self-identity comes through surrender. This way of contentment really is plausible.”
Yes it is. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, including living a contented life for His glory as a wife, mother, woman, in Christ. It’s who we are. I pray you are satisfied in the knowledge of our identity in Christ, and that it fills your heart as well as fill your head. Don’t let the fake Bible teachers inspire discontent in you. Don’t let your own flesh spark discontent in you, either. 🙂 Our identity is In Christ, and He is sufficient.
John MacArthur 5-min clip and short essay on discontentment
Focus on the Family: Divorce begins with deception
Discontent is dealt with in this essay
Desiring God, Jon Bloom: Lay aside the weight of discontentment