What brings you joy? What motivates you? Seriously… what is it?
- Is it getting to the end of your do list? If so… you’re most likely motivated 24/7… as the do lists never seem to end.
- Is it finding a loved one to marry?
- Is it graduating High school? Graduating college or graduate school?
- Is it paying off your debt?
- Is it family?
- Is it your pets?
- Is it buying a home?
- Is it renovating your home?
- Is it planning events and hosting them?
I maintain that these objects, goals, and dreams we pursue will not satisfy. I also maintain they’re not the real source of our motivations. I’m reading a great book, When I Don’t Desire God and in it the writer discusses the source of the joy. This joy which we all seem to pursue is a desire for joy that’s inherent to all people. Often we’re fooled into thinking it’s in the things or people that we pursue. And we get caught in these endless cycles of reaching that never seem to satisfy.
For instance, some think getting married is the end-all-be-all. They believe it will be the ultimate satisfaction of joy… only to find out it’s not. Marriages are fraught with problems. Don’t get me wrong… it’s still an ultimate highpoint in our lives… although it’s not the ultimate fulfillment of joy. We’re still left wanting.
Some think the end-all-be-all is in having children. They soon find out that raising kiddos is a self-sacrificing endeavor. One that involves self-sacrifice on behalf of another that continues for life. And often one can feel highly unappreciated.
Some think their careers will be the thing that fulfills their joy. Only to find it too is full of hurdles and bumps along the way.
Let’s take this desire for joy back to our childhood. Was it there? Yes it was. There too we thought our joys were wrapped up in things or people. Maybe it was in our clothing/look, in our friends. Perhaps we thought joy would be wrapped up with our events, sports or hobbies? There too we found that they themselves never satisfied completely. They always left us wanting more.
We entertain our dreams and all our “what ifs” because of joy. And we find those pursuits always lead us to other pursuits. But from where does this pursuing/dreaming/desiring of joy originate? I believe we were born with the desire and the ultimate fulfilment is in God. He gave the desire for joy and it is he who fulfills the desire for joy. It’s only when we come to him (the source of joy) to fuel our joy that we find satisfaction. And when that happens we’ll be walking in unity with our destiny—with our Lord and Savior. Then everything else has meaning and purpose. We’re no longer stuck in these endless cycles of fabricating and reaching for our own man-made joy!
The writer of the book gives a great analogy. He said God gave us a desire for thirst and then gave us a source to fill it: water. He gave us hunger and gave us the source to fill it: food. He gave us the desire for joy and as well… he gives us the source to fulfill it: himself.
After getting married, having a career, having a home, raising a family, having grandkids and great grandkids, people face the later season of life. When they face their last days on earth they’ll review their life. Having reached the end of themselves they may realize the vanity of it all and come up empty. But if he/she is a Christian, they’ll find something completely different. They’ll find their inner man is still very much renewed. He/she will still be holding on for their joy to be completely fulfilled. Their voice will join Paul’s and say, I’ve run the race that was set before me, I’ve fought the fight and I kept my eye on the goal. The joy is still present and still reaching for the ultimate fulfillment in God.
This Hump Day Wednesday… look to the source our joy, God, for your fulfillment of joy. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will fulfill your desires. And don’t forget that Friday is acomin’ but most importantly… Christ is coming back too!