The Search for Contentment

Even in the midst of success, why do we experience a lack of fulfillment? Jon Tyson reflects on his search for contentment and recovery from brokenness.

Questions for Discussion and Personal Reflection

  1. In your search for contentment, have you spent more time talking about God, or talking to God? Which has been more profitable and why?
  2. How might exploring God aide in your search for contentment?

It was really, really challenging because we had moved to New York to plant a church. The church was going so well, yet I felt like I had a bunch of brokenness from my past that I'd never fully resolved. I had idols in my heart. I had unrealistic expectations. I had pride. I had all of these things, and what I hadn't had yet was life circumstances that would reveal the roots that were in there, and so when these life circumstances opened, these roots of brokenness broke through the soil and began to bear fruit. You know, one of the things I learned from the book of Job, the difference between Job and his three friends is that the three friends never talk to God. They only talk about God, but Job talks to God and so I said, I don't need to talk with a bunch of people about how mad I am at God. I just need to tell God how I feel. So I'd just go out late at night, spend a couple of hours every night walking around the Upper West Side of Manhattan crying out to God, asking him to step in and act and change me and move on my behalf, and, uh, it was like a really disorienting thing to be a pastor of a great church plant in New York, and feel like my soul was withering, and that I was a total hypocrite. So I felt like I couldn't with integrity keep being a pastor if I didn't attend to the deeper issues of my soul, so I really just pressed into that for a season. We demand the right to control the outcomes of our lives, and I had to learn to surrender that. Um, God doesn't promise the outcomes, he just promises relationships with us. And so I had to let go of a bunch of that stuff and in many ways, rebuild my faith from a more pure place of humility and dependence. James K.A. Smith says— and I think this is really true— we're not just brains on a stick. He says that we're creatures of passion and desire, and so that classic philosophical statement "I think, therefore I am," he says that that's probably not true. He says it's probably more like "I love, therefore I am." And so I wanted to find something or somebody where, where all of this passion and desire would be met and fulfilled. And the pain, the brokenness, the heartache, the wonder, all of that could find its, its end and its consummation in a person. And, uh, that ended up being Jesus, so it was, there was some intellectual answers but that wasn't the thing. It was that passion of my heart meeting the passion of God's love that ultimately changed me. And I'm not just saying that. That's for real.