Unattainable vs. Attainable Satisfaction

Have you ever felt depressed after Christmas or a holiday? The post Christmas blues can be a real thing for many, myself included. For those that have unmet needs, the hopeless feeling is clear to see. For others who did have their needs met, somtimes our wants can be never-ending. This makes us feel ungrateful and opens the door for shame and guilt, especially considering the first group.

Is it really a bad thing to want for things though? Not if we are seeking things for the right reason. You have heard me mention before that God is productive and if we are made like God, we are also productive at our core. We feel ungrateful and shameful when we are wasteful. So when we find ourselves wanting things without reason, we feel ashamed because we are missing a productive opportunity and we know inside that is not a good practice to get into. If we are constantly seeking items just because, we can put ourselves in a cycle of unattainable satisfaction. You may get that thing, but once you get it you find that it didn’t make you feel how you thought it would. However, there are times when we want things that do have a productive reason. Maybe you want those running shoes so you can join a new social group. Those new shoes can motivate you to get started. You may want those clothes to feel more confident at work. It is acceptable to treat yourself at times as well just because, but it feels better if you are doing it with purpose.

At the end of the day though, our true satisfaction can never be found in any “thing.” Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:3-10 on the Beatitudes helps us see where attainable satisfaction comes from. It says:

“Blessed are those who are poor and realize their need for him.

Blessed are those who mourn, they will be comforted.

Blessed are those that are humble, they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger for for justice, they will be satisfied.

Blessed are those who are merciful, they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are those with pure hearts, they will see God.

Blessed are those who work for peace, they will be children of God.

Blessed are those persecuted for doing right, for the kingdom of Heaven is theirs.”

So how does wanting stuff and Jesus’ teaching connect?

It connects because we have to realize we have needs. We need the spirit to guide us (God). We need other people. In order to see those things the right way, We need to feel good about ourselves. Sometimes that means saying yes to some stuff, other times that good feeling comes when you exercise self-control and just say no.

It means be open and seek help as needed. This can even mean sharing with a friend or family member that you feel dissatisfied with something. Confess that feeling of disappointment from gifts with a safe person, as embarrassing as it may feel. This is applicable “mourning” and your openness with other people will lead you to comfort. Mourning is defined as “expressing sorrow or grief” as much as it defined by mourning a death. We can feel if our spirit is “dying” and the way life is spoken into it again is by prayer and human connection.

It means be humble and stay close to your morals. “Blessed are those that are poor” means that we will never “make it” on our own. We always have needs, therefore, pride cannot exist in a truly satisfying life. Understand that limits are healthy and a lavish lifestyle alone is worthless if it does nothing to connect you or others together or with God.

It means to work for peace, give mercy, and stand for the right thing every time. This has everything to do with giving to others. If you feel blue this day after Christmas, consider how giving more of these things next year would improve your mood and outlook. Sow peace in someone who is struggling financially by helping them meet a true need. Give time to family members you feel do not deserve it. Show them mercy for their imperfection and stand tall knowing it is the right thing to do.

The Christmas blues and unattainable satisfaction are real things, but we have a guide to reach attainable satisfaction..and maybe some stuff along the way.

Listening To The Small Voice

Have you ever gotten in your car and started pulling out of the driveway and suddenly you remember something? Maybe it isn’t your wallet or your phone or anything big, but a game you wanted to bring or a picture you wanted to share. Something you could have done without. What do you do? The garage is already closed and you are starting down the road. Do you turn around, reopen the garage, and go through the steps to leave all over again?

Don’t feel bad if you decide against it, but I encourage you next time to listen to that small voice. Not so much because you just need that little thing, but to exercise your obedience. God starts with small things to see if we are ready. Luke 16:10 says, “He who is faithful in little is also faithful in much..” Not to test us, but to see if we are ready for more. Testing has a negative feel and sets us up for resentment either to ourselves or to God if we “fail.” God loves us and because of that, He is patient as 1 Corinthians 13:4 states. He would rather see you grow than simply “pass.” Since we don’t have any pressure to pass or fail, you are positioned nicely for growth.

I’m eager to hear from you on this one. What “little thing” were you obedient about today?