Then, that is when my life will truly begin.
I’ve spent a disastrous amount of time dancing with the belief that if I reach a certain point or cross a certain milestone, then I will be satisfied. It became an addiction, day-dreaming my reality away. Pondering and pandering my way through hypothetical thoughts. Believing that if those hypothetical thoughts would just become reality, it would curb my appetite and quench my thirst for more before I started living my life.
Do you know what I mean? Have you found yourself constantly imagining that once you get married, or make more money, or get more attention, or __________, then you will be satisfied? I’d be willing to wager that we all have. We suffer from destination addiction. An addiction to the idea that is loudly and frequently telling us, “Once you get there, have this, or do that, then you will be content.”
Our addiction to the next destination sets in deepest when our discontent is at its highest. Which begs the question: What causes us to lose contentment? Paul said in Philippians 4:11, “… for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself.” Contentment doesn’t come natural to us, it must be learned. Unfortunately, we often find out where contentment isn’t before we find out where it is.
Where shouldn’t we look?
The most natural place to seek contentment is in our circumstances, because more often than not, loathing our circumstances is what caused us to feel discontentment in the first place.
When we’re single, we think a relationship will fulfill us. When we’re broke, we think riches will fill our joy account up. When we feel unseen, we believe fame will bring us what we’ve been missing. The problem in thinking this way is not that we desire a different set of circumstances, but that we truly believe and convince ourselves that a different set of circumstances will cure our discontent.
In Philippians 4:12-13, the Apostle Paul wrote, "“I know both how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
Paul tells us here that circumstances come and go, but Christ sustains through it all. Why waste our time chasing what always changes when we could be resting in the contentment of Him, Who always stays the same?
We tend to think that a change of circumstances will solidify our faith, but really, solidified faith changes our circumstances. Not by magically turning poverty into riches or anything of the sort, but by taking our contentment from the clutches of our circumstances and hiding it in Christ. It’s easier said than done, but when it’s done, we become unshakable.
In a narcissistic, individualistic, self-seeking culture, it’s easy to fall prey to an enemy that has been prowling as long as there has been life. Self-Gratification could be labeled as living for our flesh.
“What makes me feel good? What is in it for me? How will the help me? Is this helping me live my best life?”
When you really boil it down, destination addiction is an addiction to hitting fleshly milestones before committing to stepping in the Spirit. We become addicted to the idea of the life we want for ourselves rather than the life God has for us, and that allows us to make the mistake of using people and things for our own pleasure rather than God’s purposes. Meanwhile, as we gather the treasures and pleasures of the world, our soul starves for the satisfaction the world cannot provide.
1 Timothy 6:6-7 says it this way, “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.”
Seeking contentment through self-gratification is like being extremely thirsty, only to be given a cup of water with holes in the bottom of it. You might get a little bit, but you’ll never come close to quenching that thirst you have. We can easily get caught up in our emotions that try to convince us that our satisfaction lies on the other side of our self-gratification. It’s those same emotions that cause us to watch pornography or drink too much even though we’ve been there before and know we’ll still feel empty.
So… where do we look?
It sounds cliche´ and it is, but we must look to Jesus.
When we place our contentment outside of our relationship with Christ, we falter. When we sow contentment into the soil of our relationship with Christ, we flourish. Apart from a saving relationship with Jesus, we will always be looking for what is to come, because apart from Him, nothing truly satisfies or brings contentment to the souls He constructs.
When you know Jesus, life doesn’t begin once you get married or become financially stable. Live it right now. My greatest fear for many of us is that we will miss what God has for us now because we’re pining away for what we hope He has for us then. You’re living in the good ol’ days of tomorrow, today. To get where He is calling you to go, you must be obedient to trust Him with where you are.
As tempting as it can be to try and live in tomorrow or five years from now, can I challenge you? Try living in the now. Your ultimate destination is Heaven, but the journey is a beautiful thing - don’t miss it.
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If you like what you read here, I’d love to encourage you to check out my first book that comes out this November, Your Mess Matters: Trusting The God Who Creates From Dust And Redeems By Blood. Just click the button beneath!