Switchfoot poses a great question for all of us, "This is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be?" The sad reality is that for many of us, the answer to that question would be a no. Why? Why is life not what we had dreamed it would be? What is keeping our dream (or better yet, God's dream) for our life from becoming reality? The answer to each of these questions is the same. Far too many of us have settled. We have ceased to take risks. We have settled for the easy and the ordinary. Our fear of failure and rejection has become the overarching factor determining the shape and form of our dreams. The problem is that deep within our souls we long for something more. We long to find purpose. There is a war between the way we have chosen to live life and the way life should be. I fear we have not dreamed big enough. For this reason, so many of us find our lives mundane, monotonous and unfulfilled.
Statistics prove time and time again that a majority of us are simply "eeking our way through life" (yes, that was a Dumb & Dumber reference). We wake up every morning and head off to the same routine only to wind up tired and unfulfilled at the end of the day. For this very reason, we are constantly seeking greener pastures. I guess we have this belief that if only we could change our circumstances life would be better.
Ask just about anyone how they feel about their job and they would likely tell you they are not happy for a plethora of reasons. We think that if only we got paid more, had the corner office, worked with different people, things would be different. Then there are those of us who put ourselves into financial disaster trying to keep up with the Jones'. Constantly on the lookout for the new and improved, the bigger and better, thinking these things will make life what it is supposed to be. The first and biggest problem with this is that the Jones' aren't even fulfilled. The second issue with this idea is that keeping up is dang near impossible; there is always something "better" on the horizon. Of course, we have to bring relationships into this discussion. Over half of all married couples will experience divorce because of their supposed "boredom" with their spouse. They make up excuses like: we just weren't compatible; we fell out of love; the romance died; someone else gives me more attention. But that's all they are--excuses. To be blunt and to quote my father, "Excuses are like butt holes (I opted for the PG version here); everyone has one and they usually stink." I could spend a few hours and waste your time and mine discussing the arenas in life our hopes and dreams do not match with reality, but I think you are wise enough to get the picture.
The sad reality is that we can always find something to complain about. Someone else will always seem to have it better (but, this also means someone will always have it worse). There are many seasons in life that downright suck. Problems will always arise. Circumstances will always be less than ideal. But that doesn't mean life can't be the way we dreamed it to be. We just need to make a choice to rise above the negative, shallow thinking. We need to have a paradigm shift and choose to look beyond the temporal.
Just the other day I was having a discussion with a good friend about some big life decisions I have been pondering in hopes to make life less mundane and more fulfilling. I will spare the details, but it was this conversation that lead me to the answer I have been looking for all along. Who would have guessed the answer was always right there, sitting on my nightstand in the holy Scriptures (sarcasm is difficult to convey in writing, so take note this statement is dripping with sarcasm)? As a follower of Christ, you think I would have been skewering the Bible for the answer, but this was another instance I failed miserably. Unfortunately, I was looking somewhere else and came up empty. My friend and I were discussing the life of David (he seems to keep popping up) and how his life was far from mundane and unfulfilled. It seemed inevitable he bring up Psalm 37:4. The reason this verse was inevitable is that the premise of this verse is finding your heart's desires. Psalm 37:4 was exactly what I needed to hear; "Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart's desires."
Do you notice it doesn't say he MIGHT; rather, it says he WILL? God will give you your heart's desires. This isn't something David just spouted off. This truth was a reality for him. This particular Psalm was written later in David's life (or so I read). Reflecting on his life, it became clear to David that when he delighted himself in the LORD, he was given his heart's desires. When he didn't, he often found himself in a state of bitterness, loneliness, agony and even depression. (Please understand I am not saying, nor is this passage saying, that God is a genie and life will be rainbows and butterflies. There are limits and guardrails here. And we don't always get what we want.)
I can't seem to get away from how simple this seems. Delight yourself in the LORD and you will find your heart's desire? Can I really believe finding my heart's desire is that simple? If it is that simple, why do so many of us (especially those who call ourselves Christians) find life unfulfilling? Why does finding our heart's desire seem to be improbable or even impossible, especially when the answer is right there in plain sight? Perhaps it is because we think everything has to be so difficult. Either that or we don't believe what Scripture tells us.
To find the answer, I had to turn to my dictionary and see what exactly it means to delight myself in something. According to the dictionary, to delight is "to find great pleasure or enjoyment." Again, it seems too simple. If we really find great pleasure in God, will we find our heart's desires? Yes! Reality is, the answer is that simple. When we find our pleasure and enjoyment in God (not what he does or how he responds, but in who he is), the desires of our heart will soon align themselves with his desires for our life. It is then we will see how futile and insignificant some of our hopes and dreams are. It then becomes obvious why life has been so unfulfilling. We will often find that we have been chasing after these temporal things (I even include relationships in this) which have (and will) always result in frustration and unfulfillment. The moment we, like David, delight ourselves in the LORD we will find something fulfilling to live for and pursue. And it is only then will we realize God has big things for us; and only with his help can we make whatever that is become reality.
I'm not sure about you, but I think I have already wasted enough time delighting myself in things other than the LORD!