Adjusting Our Vision: Battling Dissatisfaction

It happens almost every time. Returning home after a few days away stirs up mixed emotions in me. Like most folks, I’m happy to get back to my own comfort zone, but I also struggle with some unwanted feelings. Feelings of dissatisfaction.

Here’s the problem (and I’m probably not the only one who experiences it): Many times when I go out of town, I get to enjoy nature’s beauty in more spectacular ways. Of course, this occurs during vacations, but I also sometimes experience it while visiting family for a few days.

Not long ago I spent some time in Arkansas with my oldest daughter Kristin while her husband was away on business. Their backyard is landscaped with flowers and several beautiful bushes and trees and is surrounded by a privacy fence. It feels like a garden oasis. Add the music and the beauty of the birds, and my heart sings as well. I experience the same soul satisfaction while soaking up the woodland beauty found at my parents’ home in Missouri.

When I return to my own home, it’s easy for me to focus on the things I don’t have. I don’t have a garden oasis or the beauty of the woodlands right outside my back door—and I miss them during those first few days back home. I long to experience that kind of beauty each day right here in my own surroundings.

The first morning back after my trip to Kristin’s, that old familiar ache surfaced again as I spent a few minutes outside. Within seconds, something else surfaced as well.

Dissatisfaction. Thoughts like why can’t we live somewhere beautiful, too . . .

The Lord immediately pricked my heart with a reminder that dissatisfaction is dangerous business. At his prompting, I adjusted my vision and rejoiced in the beauty I do have.

And what do I have? I have the sky. I may not have a private oasis or the magic of the woodlands outside my door, but since we have no trees in our front yard, I have the sky’s expanse to rejoice in each morning. Without trees to obstruct the view, it’s so easy to look up and imagine heaven and talk with the Lord, the Creator of all beauty. After all, he is where my real satisfaction lies.

Of course, I noticed the birds, the colors of spring, and other things, too, after my vision adjustment. I realize it’s only natural to relish the beauty of other places, but I need to remember to focus on the beauty right before me. As I do that, dissatisfaction has a harder time getting a foothold.

I wonder if any of us are struggling with dissatisfaction in other areas of our lives. Could focusing on and rejoicing in the beauty and blessings we do have make a difference in those areas as well? I think so. Let’s guard against the dangerous business of dissatisfaction. Let’s adjust our vision before it has a chance to do its damage.

“. . . be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5b

*How do you guard against dissatisfaction in your life?

*Flickr photo by seyed mostafa zamani


  1. This happens to me when I hear myself using the words “I wish”. When they surface, so does dissatisfaction. I’ve worked very hard to extinguish those words from my heart, mind, and mouth. It works!
    Blessings dear one.

  2. I notice these same feelings at times… they can be painfully overwhelming. I’m trying to be a better noticer of life… trying to pay attention to the beauty around me. I like Nancy’s suggestion to rid my vocabulary of the phrase “I wish…”

    I have so much to be grateful for. Maybe that’s a better focus… “I have.”


  3. Nancy and Elaine, thanks for passing along those suggestions — extinguishing “I wish” and focusing on “I have”. Excellent tips I’m going to try to remember!

  4. A good word. Thank you!

  5. The only time I really feel dissatisfied is after I spend the day touring model homes. Haha! But I grab hold of myself and (in my sternest voice) say “Julie, godliness with contentment is great gain!” And then I take some time to count my own blessings–as you did here, Cheryl.

  6. Ah yes, the age old “glass half empty/half full” dichotomy. Managing the space between my ears (aka, taking every though captive) helps. But sometimes I just have to wallow in the “woe is me”s for awhile before I’m actually glad to be rid of them.

    Chocolate helps too :)

  7. Megan, so glad you enjoyed the post, and Julie, thanks for the reminder of the verse about godliness and contentment. Kathleen, chocolate helps everything, huh? :)

  8. As I was readin’ this beautifully written post the words of Hebrews 13:5 kept rushin’ through my mind.

    It’s funny how we can immediately see the beauty in someone else’s life and we have to stop and work to see the beauty in our own.

    It was there all along…we just have to open our eyes to see it.

    I sure enjoyed my read here today sweetie.

    God bless and have an awesome day!!! :o)

  9. What a great post. There is always things to see that the Lord has blessed us with in our own “backyards” These are great tips on doing just that. Thanks!!

  10. Ugh! I am guilty of the same thing. Not that I’m not very thankful for what I have, but it’s so easy to get caught up in admiring what others have as well. When I start to feel dissatisfied, I laugh at myself and count my blessings.

  11. Kirsten, you reminded me of how the hymn goes – “Count your blessings, name them one by one…”

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