Someone call the “spice-up-your-life police” because I’ve got a bad case of
It’s a general malaise of midlife wrestling with the future. It is an unsettledness. It’s a low-grade, nothing’s-quite-good-enough, entertaining enough, just a not-enough-ness.
Clearly, I’m having trouble putting my twitchy finger on it.
It’s a “grass-is-greener” outlook on my current reality. It’s a what’s-out-there-for-me, never-settled restlessness. Moreover, this is a pattern for me. Like a rash that keeps resurfacing no cream can cure. It’s a desire for my life to count in some way but if I’m super transparent, it’s really just a searching for something more than this. And any this…any current scenario isn’t good enough. Any “right now” reality could somehow be better.
Kudos to those of you who have gotten through that first paragraph without getting utterly bored by the spoiled rotten rantings of a truly fortunate woman.
But let me submit to you that at the heart of this restlessness is one of the deepest human questions in life:
Is there a way for me to find true satisfaction? Deep down?
Tim Keller, in his book Every Good Endeavor, says this about satisfaction:
“As long as you think there is a pretty good chance that you will achieve some of your dreams, as long as you think you have a shot at success, you experience your inner emptiness as ‘drive’ and your anxiety as ‘hope.’ And so you can remain almost completely oblivious to how deep your thirst actually is…. And so we can live almost our entire lives without admitting to ourselves the depth of our spiritual thirst.”
Dissatisfaction feels like thirst. For sure.
And I am finding that it helps to look back and conjure the memories of the most deep down satisfaction I’ve ever felt. In those time I don’t remember feeling a thirst at all. I was quenched. And as that mingles through my brain, I feel a fresh heart beat that when I am most satisfied it’s because I am most distracted from myself.
Anne Lamott says in her book Stitches: “Wise ones taught me that being of service, an ally to the lonely and suffering, a big-girl helper to underdogs, was my best shot at happiness.”
I say amen to that.
And the connections and kindness and the LIFE that flow out of service are more energetic and creative and imaginative than I could ever be on my own.
The battle for TRUE, DOWN DEEP SATISFACTION is won when I give my life away.
So as I seek this “distraction in search of satisfaction” – maybe you, too, can untangle a knot of dissatisfaction. I wish that for you. May you find deep satisfaction and curate it – that soul-level contentment that comes when the focus is outward. High five to you as you journey on.
Megan’s Take: Favorite line: “…when we are most satisfied it’s because we are most distracted from ourselves.” I can be one big, bad wolf of a narcissist. I often wonder if it’s because I’m mostly a stay-at-home and I have ‘plenty’ of time to think about how I spend my days, but as I read the words of a full-time-paid-worker-woman, I realize dissatisfaction it isn’t necessarily the result of unsatisfying or mundane circumstance, it’s a barometer of the heart. The monster of dissatisfaction often tries to creep out from under my bed and give me a big, old what-do-you-think-you-amount-to scare. His reappearance feels oddly connected to the change in seasons — and summer is coming! But honestly, when I strip my life down and recognize the amazing gifts the Lord has given me, and I ask Him how I can share those with others and receive their gifts as well, that monster slinks away. I know that I know that each day is a God-given gift to be treasured. If God is calling you to change your circumstances, if the Holy Spirit convicts and inspires something new. Then go for it! But if the need for change is just the bitter seed of discontent taking root in your heart, pluck that sucker out. There are no guarantees for tomorrow so that monster of dissatisfaction can just go back to hell* where he belongs. (Literally.) *Hope that wasn’t too much dark theology for you!
Holly’s Take: I think one way to step out of your funk, would be to buy Rosetta Stone, learn a little Spanish and head to the Dominican Republic with Megan and a bunch of high schoolers. There. Problem solved! At least for a bit. I must admit that I actually long for hum drum in a way. Even years after my major traumas, I still feel like I am constantly still applying triage to my own wounds, the wounds of my kids, the wounds in our marriage, etc. . . When will it look semi-normal? Ever??? I, also, must admit that in our mess, I have found this really cool secret little joining where the God of this Universe really does talk to little old, bleeding me. So, I think I may be on the other side of the coin from you, not totally content in my circumstances, but for opposite reasons. However, I’m quite sure that our answers are the same.