I remember the exact moment I realized money wasn’t making me happy.
It was a year ago. I was working a job I had started out loving, but as the months passed and the stress piled I fell out of love with it. Still, I stayed because the pay was good and I was afraid of being broke.
I was walking to work one morning when I got a notification on my phone that my month’s salary had been deposited in my account. With the addition of that particular deposit, I had more money than I had ever had at any point in my life.
And I thought: But I’m miserable. I have all this money but I’m miserable. Is this all there is to it?
I quit a couple of weeks later.
You know what the funny thing about this story is? Quitting my job didn’t make me happy either. I had a lot of free time on my hands to pursue the things I was passionate about and enough money to not have to work for a while, but I still wasn’t happy.
This left me in a dilemma. If neither of these things brought me true happiness, then what would?
I had no idea.
What Did I Really Want?
Looking back, I see now that my problem was I thought I knew what I wanted.
Better yet, I thought I knew what I needed.
For most of my life I’ve tended to always have some goal or milestone I’m striving toward, something I’m sure will be just what I need to take my life to the “next level”. The only problem, I found, was that those things never do. What I thought I wanted always left me frustrated and empty.
Nor do I believe I’m the only one. Pretty much everyone I know has, at one point or other, been a victim of what we thought we wanted.
Because, see, nobody wants a job; we want the security we think employment will bring. Likewise, no one really wants money. It’s only paper. We want the satisfaction we think buying things with that paper will bring us. (It can also be argued that nobody wants a relationship for relationship’s sake: we want the joy and happiness we believe a good man/woman will give us.)
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that we all want a very limited set of things: Love. Peace. Happiness. Fulfilment.
These are the things we truly seek.
But the mistake we make is that we seek these things with our minds. We follow the things we think will bring us happiness. We look to ourselves for direction as well as the strategies we hope will deliver us to our desired end.
But that is a strategy that will never, ever work.
Do You Trust In Your Mind With All Your Heart?
Proverbs 3: 5-6 says to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
The problem is, we don’t often do this. Instead we trust in our minds and our own wisdom. We think we know what’s good for us, even though time and time again our best-meaning plans leave us right where we began, with no idea what went wrong this time.
Not many of us, before taking a decision, go to God and ask Him, “What should I do?” It is far more common that we make up our minds first, then ask Him to bless our decision. It has become fashionable to proclaim faith/belief in God and yet not actually have to rely on Him for anything.
But that’s a mistake. (Proverbs 14:12) Until we start turning to God to show us the way we need to go at all times, we will spend our whole lives being lost. (Proverbs 16:3)
Because you see, God is the only one who sees the whole picture. We see the pieces; He sees the board. We see fragments; He sees the whole. We see what we think is good for us; He knows what actually is.
And the number one thing that’s good for us? It’s God Himself.
The End To All Our Seeking
We typically seek things to find happiness, there is a better way. A way to bypass the middlemen, as it were, and find happiness and peace straight from the Source. It was only when I came to God that I found everything I failed to find in my job or my “passions”.
Happiness, love, fulfilment, peace: these are all things you will only find in God. Not just by seeking direction or advice from Him, but by being in Him. Because God is the end result; He is the point of all things. He is the be all and end all.
Do you seek love? Who loves you more than the one who gave His life for you? (John 15:13; Revelation 1:5)
You want peace? What better peace is there than one that defies whatever circumstances you throw at it? (Philippians 4:7). Peace not only when things are good, but also in the midst of your crappy job, your struggling finances and even your failing relationships?
And who better to give you this peace than the one who wilfully asks that you throw all your worries onto Him for the simple reason that He cares for you? (1 Peter 5:7)
What about the ever-elusive happiness? Well, the Psalmist knew exactly where to find it. (Psalm 86:4; Psalm 119:35)
And fulfilment, both in work and achievements? The feeling that everything you do isn’t hollow and empty? God has you covered there too. (Ecclesiastes 5:19) He invites you to bring to him all your troubles and your endless seeking, and barter it for rest. (Matthew 11:28)
If you don’t know this God of whom I speak, I invite you to come. He’s available to you. In fact He’s waiting for you. He isn’t distant as you might think. He is closer to you than you know.
And in Him, you’ll find everything you’re looking for.
Better yet, you’ll find everything you need.