When You Get Everything You Wanted…and Happiness Doesn’t Come
I’m not sure where the notion came from, that we will at one point in our lives “arrive”. That we will essentially have all that we have ever wanted and worked for and we can now coast until eternity. I’ve spoken to many people of all ages and no one has ever felt like they have “made it”. I don’t know if it’s an assumed outcome based on movies and TV shows…or a sinful desire that we have to arrive and not have to work or struggle any longer. In any case, most of us have it, whether or not we ever really take the time to think it through.
I thought my “arrival” would come whenever we finally owned a home again. Struggling financially for so long, and selling our first home and then renting a half-dozen made that dream seem so unimaginable, so far fetched that it became something I longed for more than any other thing I desired to attain. When the time came for us to buy our home, we had viewed close to 30 homes before finding one that shouted our names. It was a surreal moment. I was terrified at the closing table, and thought oh man, what if we don’t have enough? What if we mess this up somehow? What if we end up in a tough spot and then lose this house? But the elation of owning my very own home, far outweighed my fears, and that bliss sunk in deep into my soul.
I unpacked for seven of us, in less than two weeks and had it decorated. I barely slept but that adrenaline rush of getting this thing I so desired propelled me forward and my heart was so full with thanksgiving for what God had done to get us to that point (that’s another story).
But then time passed, and while my elation and love for my home has not changed, I quickly learned that owning a home wasn’t going to fix my problems. It was simply a nicer looking place to have my problems in.
And then phase two of “getting everything I want” took place, and my husband quit his 9 to 5 job, and began working as a business owner, with our very own small business. Now surely after more than ten years of dreaming this dream, and this actually happening, should have made everything else just fall neatly into place, so we could live “happily ever after” as they say in cartoons.
Sadly, though again, this did not happen. After getting two of the things we had longed for, for so long, and then to not find this “arrival” and blissful happiness, I began to wonder why that might be? Why are we left to think that getting what we want will bring us joy?
I mean, for me I thought well I prayed for this and God blessed us…. Very true, He certainly did, but just because God wills something to happen or allows it, does not mean it is going to go well. His plans are perfect and His ways have no flaws, but when He does all things for our good, it doesn’t mean they are going to go well necessarily. Whoa….that’s a hard one to swallow.
I began to sink into a depression of sorts. Here I was homeschooling 4 kids, taking care of 5…running a small business, dealing with medical problems, a child with asperger’s and taking care of my awesome new house, and I was miserable. So miserable I was to the point of despair. And God spoke. He said to me “Galatians 5:5”, which I immediately had to look up, because I had no clue what that verse said. And it reads…
Galatians 5:5 (ESV)
For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.
I felt like God spoke right into my aching heart. My bruised spirit, and crushed soul. He said that it was all meaningful. That it was all with the hope of righteousness. That my homeschooling struggles were not in vain, and that I was simply doing what I thought I was called to do. And with this, I looked at what the verse before this one said…
Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. 3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. 4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. (ESV)
God calls us to a relationship with Him. Not to a religion of laws. When Christ came, the laws were no longer what sanctified us, Christ did that. As we work through our sanctification with God, I think we will find within ourselves a sense of “arrival”. The only kind that brings pure joy. The kind that follows when you get closer to your Maker, and Father. “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18 (BSB)