When you sense the emptiness of dissatisfaction ... do you feel somehow "wrong"? Like you're doing this life with God in a bad way? Amy Simpson fills us with a new understanding.
Hope for the Unsatisfied
By Amy Simpson
I like my life. As I write these words, I'm sitting in my home, wearing sweatpants, doing work I love, with two loyal and loving dogs at my feet. My terrific kids will soon be home from school, and my truly wonderful husband will be home not long after. He might even make dinner. I'm a lucky gal.
Yet, as much as I enjoy my life, when I'm honest with myself, I realize it's not all that I want. I wish for a pain-free life. A life without internal conflict and restlessness. I long for an end to suffering of all kinds. For a set of answers that finally and fully answer all the nagging questions that disquiet my mind. I want to be a better version of myself. I yearn to be always aware of God's presence, always trusting in him and always acting in confidence.
I'll bet you do too.
If you feel at least a little unsatisfied by the life you lead, you're in good company. If you feel something is missing in your relationship with Jesus, you're right. Even though you may have heard, time and again, that a relationship with him will completely satisfy your spiritual and relational needs, that kind of satisfaction is not within our grasp in this life. And when you stop striving for it, you can find a whole new kind of freedom and blessing in living intentionally unsatisfied.
When we stop to think about it, it's no wonder we don't feel truly satisfied. While we live in this world, cursed as a consequence of sin, our connection to God is interrupted. Our bodies and minds are haunted by the shadow of death, and God does not want us to experience full satisfaction under these conditions. He offers us his peace. He gives us purpose and reconciles us to the God we were created to know and love. He reshapes our desires and changes us from the inside out. But he does not make us comfortable with life amid decay, death, depravity, disappointment and distance from his presence - a life that is so much less than what he ultimately offers us. Why would he want to do that? And why would we want him to? This is not the world we were made for.
It can be easy to assume that if we don't experience complete satisfaction through a relationship with Christ, something is wrong with us or our faith. But it's likely that something is very right.
In his famous Beatitudes, Jesus redefines what it means to be blessed by God. He pronounces blessing on people whose lives are not what they want them to be: people who are spiritually needy, mourning, meek, hungry and thirsty for righteousness, merciful, at odds with the world around them, persecuted and mistreated because of loyalty to Christ. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness," he says, "for they will be filled" (Matthew 5:6). We are blessed when we long not only to be righteous, but also to see God's righteousness reign. We are blessed in our yearning for the better world we were all made for. These verses speak of blessing in the present tense, yet they speak of comfort, fullness and inheritance as future realities. We are blessed, and the realization of our blessing is yet to come.
I have come to learn that God wants me to be unsatisfied for now. He wants me to hunger and thirst after him and after righteousness. He wants me to long for unbroken fellowship with him. Ironically, as I have developed this hunger and thirst, I have discovered that deeper faith and more spiritual growth may settle my restlessness and make me wiser, but they don't make me completely satisfied; in some ways they fuel my lack of satisfaction. I only want more, and I find myself more grieved than ever by the ways our world is twisted and broken. That's when I know I'm growing closer to the heart of God.
When we choose to accept and embrace our unsatisfied condition, we realize that while God is enough for us, the relationship we can have with him now is not. We remain open to the experience of wanting more, even when it hurts, because our faith tells us a feast is coming. You are blessed - believe it and live in hope and anticipation.
Amy Simpson is an author, speaker, and life & leadership coach who helps influencers get clear on their calling and thrive in times of transition so they can see clearly, lead boldly, live true, and fully engage in life with guiding purpose. Her newest book is Blessed Are the Unsatisfied: Finding Spiritual Freedom in an Imperfect World. Amy lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband, two teenage girls, and two dogs. You can find her at AmySimpson.com.