Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Can't Get No Satisfaction | Finding happiness in the midst of wanting

This is probably something I'm sure we've all thought about already...but I felt the need to share it here.

Are you satisfied? 

I'm not talking about fake-satisfaction. Like when you tell yourself (sometimes forcefully) that you really should be satisfied in life. I'm talking about really, truly being satisfied in life. I'm asking myself this question too.

The reason I dare to ask this around Christmas time is the fact that there are so many things we can want. From the simple things like wanting a second (or third) cup of coffee or a new sweater, to the more complex things like wanting a new car, a new job, a new relationship... There is so much wanting going around.

Not all of that is bad. Sometimes wanting something new is good and can be a helpful push to get that thing--like working toward a new job or saving for a new car. But there is a type of dissatisfaction that can sink down into our souls and drain us. It's the type of deep-seated longing that tricks us into thinking things will be better if we had something else. Something more.

This dissatisfaction can show itself in pickiness: This thing isn't good enough. I want more of that thing. I'm not happy because I don't have >insert thing here<.
It can show itself in irritability: If only I had that job, that type of relationship, that new car, I'd be happier.
It can show itself in depression: I'll never get what I want/deserve. I hate my life because it doesn't look like >insert someone you envy<. Why be happy when I don't have anything to be happy about?

This is the dangerous type of wanting. The kind that creates a cavernous hole in our hearts that can only be filled by those out-of-reach things. Things that, dare I say, if we had them still wouldn't make us happy.

So, take some time to ask yourself...

  • What is it that I want?
  • Why do I want it? 
  • This is this something I should want? 
  • How can I be content without having it? 

Then, after you've made this list, take time to make a list of all the things you do have. Include some of these things too:

  • Who/what encourages me? 
  • Who is someone in my life I take for granted? 
  • What do I have that other's don't have?
  • Who is someone I know that appears satisfied? Why are they like that?
  • What basic things do I have that I take for granted?

This is no big revelation, many people will tell you to think about what you're grateful for, but you know why? Because it works! It's really hard to want want want when you realize all that you already have. It doesn't change your situation, but hopefully it will change your mindset.

Be grateful. 

Instead of focusing on what we don't have, let's focus on what we do have. Let this season encourage us to be grateful for what we have and to seek out ways to encourage others to be grateful as well. Let's seek a type of satisfaction that goes deeper than things.

What is something you have to be grateful about?