This Life Is Not Intended to Satisfy Us

I’m a dreamer—I won’t deny it. When I get an idea in my head, I can’t help but get excited about it, as though nothing else in the world has ever compared. It isn’t long before I assume this new dream, whatever it might be, is the thing that’s been missing from my life. The thing that will finally lead to new levels of satisfaction and contentment. 

The problem is, it has never worked. No matter the dream or even the level of achievement concerning the dream, contentment continues to evade me. So, what do I do? I find a new dream, and the cycle continues. 

As a young teen, when I realized middle school wasn’t as spectacular as I’d imagined, it was high school I couldn’t wait for. Then when I got to high school and realized I had to wear a bathing suit and swim during first period gym class, it wasn’t long before I was anticipating college. 

College, however, was amazing. When else in life do you have all your meals made for you and the dishes done for you, friends at your disposal seven days a week, and a smiling lady in a polo who daily cleans your bathroom? The problem is that college doesn’t last forever, and even then, by my senior year, it wasn’t dorm rooms I was dreaming about anymore—it was marriage.

Just Give Me a Husband and Some Kids

If you’d asked me in the third grade what I wanted to be when I grew up, it was hands down a wife and a mom. On career day, I was the one looking for the “SAHM” (stay-at-home-mom) table. In college, I’m not lying when I say I was disappointed I couldn’t major in “SAHM-ing.” For me, being married with kids was the dream that would end all dreams. 

Then one day it happened. The most wonderful man came into my life. We got married, had four beautiful babies, and I embarked on the career path I’d always wanted—president of home operations. 

I am blessed—there’s no debating that. The life I dreamed of has been handed to me in brilliant color. And yet, I wasn’t satisfied and felt terrible about it. It’s not that I wasn’t happy, but the house and the kids and the husband, though all beautiful blessings, did not satisfy me like I thought they would. 

As a result, my new dream became an escape from the madness of tantrums, diapers, and dishes. I spent my kids’ nap times searching for airline tickets to any warm place. I schemed for ways to get out of the house alone. I even contemplated having another baby so I could enjoy two days in the hospital without kids, hot meals, and some TV time. (Seriously, it went through my mind.)

But after coming to my senses (sort of) I began dreaming of things: a bigger house and more dates, because maybe that was the problem. By the way honey, is there room in the budget for a nanny? No, there wasn’t. 

Though many of my dreams were realized, the quest for satisfaction continued to evade me. What was wrong with me? Why wasn’t I happy? These are the questions I pondered sitting on the playroom floor with my kids. “Lord, I’m sorry,” I prayed. I didn’t know what I was sorry for; I just knew something felt off. 

Just Give Me Jesus 

Then one day while reading the account of Abraham in Genesis 15 the Lord opened my eyes to the real problem. In verse 1, the Lord says to Abraham (who is still called Abram at this point), “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward” (NKJV). God was Abraham’s reward—not riches or things or marriage or success or children! 

It stopped me in my tracks. Did I view God as my reward? No, I didn’t. But God was and still is absolutely my exceedingly great reward. 

My dissatisfaction wasn’t because I didn’t have all the things I needed or wanted or prayed for. My dissatisfaction stemmed from not viewing God as my greatest reward. 

Psalm 16:11 says, 

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

I realized: begging God for anything other than Himself is begging God for less.

The most satisfying path we could ever take in this life is that of pursuing God’s presence. 

But I hadn’t been pursuing God, at least not first and foremost. Sure, God was part of my day, and church was part of my life. I tried hard to pray and read my Bible daily, but I had never viewed God as the reward—the thing I couldn’t live without, the dream I most needed, and the biggest blessing I could ever receive. 

I realized: begging God for anything other than Himself is begging God for less. 

Our Greatest Reward Is a Relationship with God

The key to finding satisfaction in life is not having all the things we desire, but desiring all of God. 

God has instructed us to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind (Matt. 22:37), not just because He deserves our full attention, but also for our benefit. Satisfaction is not the result of gaining stuff; satisfaction is the result of gaining the Savior. 

When it’s the things of this world we most want—be it love or kids or careers or a number on a scale, a number in the bank, or a certain street number—it’s not contentment we will find, but a continuous trail of disappointment.

Why? Because this life, sin infested and fallen, is not intended to satisfy us. It’s God who desires and deserves the honor of satisfying His creation. The psalmist prays in Psalm 90:14, 

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

Because honestly, there is no other way. 

Nothing Is Better Than Knowing God 

Nothing in all of creation compares to God, and nothing is better than knowing God. Eternal life in the presence of God is the greatest reward we will ever receive. Not because there will be streets of gold and reunions with loved ones and overflowing fruit trees and the mansions Jesus has been busy building, but because God will be there and we’ll be with God. 

But in Christ, we don’t have to wait to receive our exceedingly great reward. God is available to us now! Today, there is satisfaction to be had in God’s perfect presence, when we choose to worship the Lord instead of wallowing in the things we don’t have and are convinced we still need. 

Don’t get me wrong, I still have days I get caught up in the wrong pursuits. This world can be tantalizing. This is why the promise of James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you,” has become near and dear to my heart. Even when I get off course, God welcomes me to draw near Him again and again. 

Praise the Lord that this world and all it holds, the blessings and the bounty, did not satisfy me. Otherwise I might have stopped searching for the real treasure—knowing and receiving and enjoying my Savior and God, the Lord Jesus Christ. 

About the Author

Stacey Salsbery

Stacey Salsbery

Stacey Salsbery is a farmer’s wife and mother of four—or as she likes to say, “President of Home Operations.” Stacey loves teaching women the Bible and along with her family makes her home in the cornfields of Indiana. For more, … read more …

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