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The Satisfaction Illusion

The Satisfaction Illusion

I wake up every day wondering why exactly I’m here. Well, more precisely, I usually wake up wishing I didn’t have to wake up, or at least not so early. As a recent college graduate, I am not used to waking up at 7 a.m. every morning and going to work.

But at some point shortly after waking up, I do wonder what the point really is. Joining the selfishly unsatisfied working world makes me consider why we learn so much and work so hard in order to play hard on the few free days we have. Millions of men and women wake up every day and continually chase after some real satisfaction.

Marketers around the world claim that you can return and exchange almost anything if you are “unsatisfied.” Satisfaction seems to be what we want out of every bit of our day. We want satisfying food, satisfying work, satisfying relationships, satisfying worship, satisfying mission trips, satisfying holidays and satisfying sleep.

At 23 years old, I’ve traveled, studied and learned a lot. I have a great job, a wonderful girlfriend, awesome friends, all basic necessities and lots of completely unnecessary and stupid stuff. There are people in this world that would never spend money on an Easy Button or a Smart Phone, and yet I have both. I worked for some of what I have, but most was probably just handed down or given to me. God has blessed me with more than I could ever deserve, and yet I brag in the mirror for being a successful and smart young man.

It’s all foolishness, because the word “success” is amazingly vague. Regardless of how successful we are, we all want more, which is telling; success is always sought, but never completely found. In the same way, we seek after “satisfaction” as if we are to some day find it.

The question, then, is whether or not it will matter in the end if I was satisfied.

The heroes of Hebrews 12 all loved God and had great dreams and hopes. Still, even though they were God-fearing and “successful” men, they never reached many of their dreams. If we will not always find our dreams realized in this life, not even those that could result in much good, then how can we ever believe that we are to be satisfied at some point on earth?

Satisfaction is what Solomon referred to when he talked about “chasing the wind,” an idea that tires me. I’m worried by the realization that once I achieve something, I am going to chase after something else. I’m scared that I’ll just become another workaholic in an already over-worked and under-satisfied nation, that I’ll spend my life striving to make good impressions and do the right thing in the most efficient and effective way.

Maybe the only satisfaction we’ll ever find is the satisfaction of not having to be completely satisfied. Maybe knowing that God is pleased by us, and loves us and approves of us, is the only lasting satisfaction there is. Maybe it’s not that satisfaction is wrong or impossible, but that our idea of selfish satisfaction doesn’t allow us to be glad with who God is and who we are here and now. Maybe if I woke up thankful and seeking after what pleases God instead of what pleases me, I wouldn’t worry so much about pretty much everything.

Ironically, I can’t wait to be satisfied by such a morning of selfless satisfaction.

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