I’ve never been that big of a sports fan. I’ll watch the occasional football or basketball game, or maybe some beach volleyball, but I don’t follow it. I enjoy racing, but don’t follow that closely any more either. I’ve never understood the levels of fanaticism that goes along with some sports, especially high school football. Especially in Texas. No offense to any Texans, but I just don’t get it. So I ignored Friday Night Lights when it was on TV.
But enough people told me I should watch it that I finally relented. Turns out it’s some of the most well-written TV I’ve ever seen. While football is there as a subtext, it’s a lot more about the complex character development in an excellent ensemble cast. I watched the whole series last year, and decided to go through it again this summer. Season 1 is very good, season 2 is a bit of a sophomore slump, but when you get to 3, 4 and 5, it picks up and just keeps getting better all the way to what is perhaps the best series wrap-up ever.
The second time though I began to more clearly see the story arc the writers devised for the final three seasons. I didn’t catch it the first time, but it was so clear the second time through. From the first episode of season 3 to the final episode of season 5, the writers were building discontent into the lives of the Taylors so that when it was time to move on, they were ready.
I think God does that for us as well.
I’ve seen it happen in my life and I’ve seen it in others. We reach a point where we are just discontent with our current situation. We may not be unhappy, and it may not even be a bad situation. But we know there is something more out there calling us on. We most likely don’t know what it is; we simply know what we’re doing is not as fulfilling as it once was.
Little things that never bothered us before suddenly take on more significance. Going to work is no longer as fun as it once was. The routine we have found ourselves in starts looking more and more like a rut. And a rut is really just a grave with the ends kicked out. We become frustrated with what is happening but feel somewhat powerless to do much about it.
That is the time to really start paying attention to what God is doing in your life.
Sometimes we want to run from the awkwardness that is holy discontent. But I would suggest we should bask in it. Sure, it’s uncomfortable, and we may find ourselves losing sleep. But the times of greatest discontent in my life have preceded the times of greatest change; and that change was always for the better.
I’m just not sure I would have been as willing to change had I not been so discontent, however. You see, we often find ourselves in a really comfortable place. The job is good, the schools are good, the family is good; life is good. But it’s not great. And God is calling us to great.
There is a lot of inertia in good. Most of us are resistant to change and would rather stay where things are predictable and safe than head out on a great adventure. So God uses holy discontent to prepare us to move out of the comfort zone. Having just come through a period of discontent, I can tell you it’s not easy, but it’s good. I know many people who are struggling with feeling like something is not quite right, and I want to encourage you to hang in there and wait for God to reveal what is next. Lean into this season and trust that God will bring about the change He desires. It will be worth it in the end.
Oh, and not to give anything away, but if you haven’t watched Friday Night Lights, you really should. When you get all the way to the end, you’ll see one of the best edits in the history of TV. When you see it, you’ll know what I’m talking about. And if you have seen it, no spoilers!