“No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a strange, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.” – Martha Graham
You may not be redefining the world of dance like Martha did (my own musically-induced gyrations have prompted people to ask if they should call 911), but there is a bit of habitual dissatisfaction in all of us.
And I think it’s awesome.
But I didn’t always feel that way.
I spent a majority of the anxiety-and-self-doubt festival known as my 20s and 30s dreaming of the day when I’d finally hit a peak so high that nothing else could top it.
Everything would be in its proper place, and I’d be perfectly content from that point on. No more striving for goals that always seemed just out of reach.
No more grappling with the fear of what I’d do if I never achieved them.
Or what I’d do with the unease of responsibility if I did.
Back then, that sounded like bliss.
Now, it sounds boring.
I’m not saying it’s wrong to sit back and take pleasure in what you’ve achieved so far. Or to want a life that’s not rocked by constant upheaval.
But there is a big difference between enjoying the season you’re in, and trying to make it last forever.
I believe the inherent – and healthy – sense of discontent we all possess was put in us by a loving God who wants us to be as expansive and creative as He is.
Unfortunately, that natural desire to grow and explore is often suffocated by fears, frustrations and supposed obligations.
But it never goes away.
I know, because I tried unsuccessfully for decades to make it vanish.
I mindlessly collected degrees and certifications for a career that I told myself was practical, but was actually paralyzing.
I avoided bookstores and theaters because they showcased the stories I wasn’t telling.
I saw the success of others as proof that there was one less spot available for me in the world of writers who made a living at their craft.
But deep down, I knew what I was truly capable of.
What I would pursue with abandon if I put on the superhero cape we are all born with and flew like the skies were on fire.
But also terrifying.
Because when you surrender to the discontent, there are questions that demand answers:
What would you have to give up to get where you want to be?
Who might you have to give up?
What would you need to allow into your life…or kick out?
But if you’re willing to listen as your soul responds with honesty to the queries that come, you’ll be rewarded with a sense of passion and purpose that is your birthright.
This kind of unrest truly is blessed…if you allow it to be.