In spite of all the promises, satisfaction is never a guarantee. The reality is no one can offer you true satisfaction. They might ensure you get what you bargain for, but they cannot guarantee satisfaction. I talk to people regularly who are simply dissatisfied with their lives. Their job is not the right environment or doesn’t pay enough; their marriage is on the rocks; their finances are not where they should be; they don’t have enough friends in their lives; they are dissatisfied with the way they look; and I could go on but I think you get the picture.
Why are we so dissatisfied?
Why are Americans so dissatisfied with life while living in the most prosperous country in the world? I think one reason is that we are bombarded by promises of satisfaction. We live under the illusion that we are always supposed to be satisfied and “happy”, so we live our lives with that expectation. Drastic decisions are made in search of satisfaction. People go in debt for possessions, divorce their spouse, quit their jobs, change churches, or spend a fortune on the latest fad or electronic gadget because they think it will bring them satisfaction. The marketing community does a fantastic job at selling us satisfaction. Most advertisements we see convince us that we deserve and can expect satisfaction and their product is the answer.
Most Christians (hopefully all), will tell you that true satisfaction can only come from having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and they would be correct. If that’s the case, why are so many Christians as well as non-Christians living defeated, dissatisfied lives? I think aside from the obvious fact that we all need to grow in our relationship with Christ and find contentment in living our lives in close fellowship with the Holy Spirit, there is a heart condition that is plaguing our society resulting in the dis-ease of dissatisfaction; the condition of ungratefulness.
Living a satisfied life comes from cultivating a grateful heart.
First Thessalonians 5:18 says “in everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Melody Beattie said “Gratefulness unlocks the fullness of life.” Gratefulness is appreciating what you do have with the understanding that without it your life would be less. Living under the illusion that your life will be better when you obtain something you don’t already have is a trap that keeps you locked in a world of dissatisfaction. Once we begin to develop a heart of gratefulness we are empowered to live life to it’s fullness with God. Here are some tips on developing a grateful heart.
1. Change your expectations. Don’t go through life expecting to have the perfect job, perfect house, perfect spouse, perfect body, perfect bank account or perfect friends. Unrealistic expectations will always lead to dissatisfaction. To expect something better than what you already have is to reject what you do have. The feeling of dissatisfaction comes from rejecting who you are or what you have. Embrace your life and live it to its fullest while partnering with God for his best in every area. In other words, work on making the old better rather than throwing out the old for something new. The new will eventually become old and you’ll repeat the same pattern.
2. Practice gratefulness daily. Pray and thank God for everything and everyone in your life. Thank God that he is at work on your behalf and that all things will work together for your good. Thank God for your job. Thank God for your house. Thank God you have a car to drive. Thank God you have food in your belly today. Thank God you have clothes on your back. Tell your spouse how much you appreciate him/her and how thankful you are for him/her. Start practicing gratefulness and you will begin to develop a heart that sees the good in your life.
3. Seek purpose in life, not possessions. The most meaningful aspects of life come from our contribution to others rather than from what we have. The most satisfying life you can live is to serve others and add value to their lives. The things we have only bring momentary pleasures until the new wears off. Then the search begins for something new yet again. However, impacting someone else in a positive way has lasting value. It not only fulfills a great sense of purpose in you, but it leaves a mark on the world that only you can leave. Start with your family and go from there.
Keep REACHING FORWARD for God’s best in your life. It doesn’t come from the external, but the internal abiding of God’s presence. And be grateful!