The Worm in the Apple
The Worm in the Apple
Time magazine published an article in 1972 about the discontentment of the 1950's housewife in her idyllic surroundings:
By all rights, the American woman today should be the happiest in history. She is healthier than U.S. women have ever been, better educated, more affluent, better dressed, more comfortable, wooed by advertisers, pampered by gadgets. But there is a worm in the apple. She is restless in her familiar familial role, no longer quite content with the homemaker-wife-mother part in which her society has cast her.”
It seems the 1972 housewives headed into the workplace to find contentment, and to make a long story short, that idealism was short lived too. Today, this worm has eaten its way through all our socioeconomic environments: Working or stay at home moms, the struggling or the comfortable, married or single, with or without children – no one is immune.
This is not a new worm - that little worm started wiggling into the apple back in Genesis 3. Eve, tempted and discontented, broke the natural design God had for her - yearning for status to be elevated in her position among God’s creation. God already gave Adam and Eve dominion over the earth yet, Eve still longed for a higher privilege - to be like God. When confronted with her discontentment, Eve shifted the blame to her husband and the serpent, making an excuse to share the sin, rather than own it.
I recognize the state of discontentment in my own life. All it takes is one hormone taking a left instead of right, and I can find everything and anything to complain about– from the PMS pimple on my chin, to the fact that my kitchen has been under renovation for the last two years. When I look away from the house, I can find discontent at my workplace, in my position, in my finances. I can be discontent in my church, with other volunteers, or with the spiritual gifting God has given me. Rather than owning my discontentment, I rationalize it - PMS, a hard day, extra grace required people.
When we bought our house, we lived in the basement while renting out the upstairs to offset our income. I would spend my weekends walking through new show homes, trying to convince myself I may see a way to decorate my 800 square foot basement suite. Let me tell you: The only thing you walk away with after touring a 4000 square foot designer dream home is discontentment, not ideas on how to accessorize the tiny kitchen you work in everyday. Yet, I did this to myself, over and over and ending up unthankful for what God did provide.
This worm can be evident in our leadership – we can grow discontent with the team, wishing for those we lead to step up, speak up, or shut up. Rather than accepting what God has provided for man power, and how He has equipped us, we feel we are entitled to “more” or “better” therefore sowing seeds of discontentment in our hearts. Those seeds then turn into works of our own strength, rather than God’s intricate design. In the end, we sin, and then shift or share blame, out of the shame to own our discontentment. We make acceptable euphemism: A wrong fit on the team. An unclear vision. A lack of finances.
Contentment is over spiritualized in church circles. We are told to “be happy” in our circumstances, and accept our sickness, financial struggles, or life situation because “that is what God wants for us at this moment”. We feel as if we cannot disclose to others we are struggling with contentment, as it makes us “unthankful", and Jesus does not like unthankful people. We need to “shut up and put up, and pray more”. That’s not contentment – that is the equivalent of telling someone who was hurt beyond repair to “forgive and forget”. Not possible, and not Biblical either.
Contentment is being able to get by on humble means, physically by “being filled” with the One who gives us daily strength. This looks different for everyone and cannot be summed up in a generalized statement. Contentment means being okay with the physical by first being filled in the spiritual.
Are you content spiritually? If yes, it will show in your physical contentment – your financial situation, your health diagnosis, your family crisis - you will find joy in the hard times. When I spend day to day, face to face time with Jesus, my half renovated kitchen does not bother me, because it becomes easier to recognize that the One who gives me strength called me for a higher purpose – I am filled, and have a renewed strength to view my circumstances as a blessing.
When we accept contentment as simply “being happy and not complaining”, we lose the opportunity for authenticity within ourselves, and in relation to others. It cheapens what Paul meant in Philippians 4 – be filled in your surroundings by Him who gives you strength – and the rest will follow.
"I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me."
#content #newstrength #thewormintheapple #Jesusfirst
By Anna Koehn
Anna loves the current state of daily chaos in her life – being a working wife and stay at home mom to four (most days awesome) kids. When not wiping noses, bums, or answering emails, Anna loves serving at Maple Ridge Baptist Church with women and children. Walking along side moms and young women, and drawing them intentionally to a thriving relationship with Christ in the confusing, complicated and busy times of their lives is Anna’s passion. Nathan and Anna have been married for 12 years and live in Maple Ridge BC. They are parents to four kids – Katelyn (7), Caleb (5), Cecilia (4) and Hannah (2) who all provide lots of material and stories to share.